Did I ever tell you I was a vegetarian?  If I did, I lied. I so lied.

 

The steak tartare was to die for. (if you are a vegetarian, now would be a good tme to turn the page.) Think steak that has been ground to the consistency of coarse sausage.  Mix it with a mild horesradish mayo and chopped capers.  OMG,E.  Served with garlic toast and one giant juicy fresh slice of tomato.  Oh, and bacon. Two, thick farm cut rind-on slices of crispy meat and just a hint of gooey to the fatty parts.

 

Joe Beef (and the Liverpool House right next door) is a very nice restaurant.  They have over 250 wines to choose from.  I know very little about wine, so we won`t go any farther than to say, if you can afford a $350 bottle of wine, you know how to party like a rock star.  Sadly, I do not, so I splurged on the sparkling water.

 

I had the hanger steak served just a bit under medium rare, which was perfect for me. It came with morel mushrooms in a wine reduction and a potato au gratin.  Finely sliced potato in a very thin cheese sauce, stacked, then cut into a shape the size of a block pound of butter.   Breaded, then pan fried (in butter), it gives a whole new meaning to fried potatoes.

 

The steak itself was lean and juicy, tender morsels that nearly melt when you bite into them.  I`ve had meat  mistakenly referred to as hanger steak, it can be very  dry and tough when not prepared properly.  That was not the case on this occasion.

 

Halibut was also on the menu.  Very, very fresh, encrusted and seared, served with cauliflower florets and something else.  This wasn`t my dish, and I was occupied elsewhere, I can only say the bite I had was sweet with a hint of the salty ocean, and flaky like a good white fish should be.

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Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten:

There`s a fine line in a concert between a jam session and a too finely tuned choreographed performance.  You can go to shows that want to feel like a jam session, but are just a little too tight, a little too smooth in transition.  You can also go see groups who haven`t played together much, and they just can`t get a feel for each other`s space in the music.  This was a jam session that`s been played out so many times, everyone knew where the music was going; they knew who had the greater love for that piece, and were able to simply step back and let the music flow.

 

This is three guys in a garage out-stomping each other on bass.  They just happened to have drums and keyboards behind them.  Changing seamlessly from song to song, sometimes with only a nod of the head, a quick chord transition and a few bars from the melody line and we were off in a completely new and exuberant direction.

 

Stanley Clarke celebrated his 61st birthday with a 20 minute solo on the accoustic bass.  Marcus Miller (who produced the trio`s album “Thunder“) wrote Milano specifically to showcase Clarke`s talent.

 

Orchestral bass has some of the most far reaching and expressive elements of any instrument.  Couple that with down and dirty fusion and some serious classic rock elements giving us one of the most amazing experiences in jazz.

 

Speaking of classic rock (no matter how obliquely), whenever some guy in the audience stands up and screams, “YYYYYEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!”  all I can picture is some jerk, with his arms outstretched in the AC/DC formation, hairy belly button showing beneath his grotty Motley Crüe t-shirt, wagging his tongue like he`s at a KISS concert.  Please, if you MUST let your emotions overcome you, whistle or “WOOO!” so you don`t ruin it for the rest of us.

 

Plus, what does “No photos or recordings of any kind” mean, exactly?  Try at least to have some subtlety and turn off the flash.  (It isn`t very effective from the eighth row of the balcony, at any rate.)  I would imagine by the time we got back to the hotel, there was at least one video already posted on YouTube (fortunately, I have not been able to find one).

 

Anyway, back to SMV.  They played for two solid hours, weaving their complex sounds and flavors of the music into a rich contextural whole.  The feel of the singularity of bass and brotherhood made this one amazing event.

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