We had four courses and started with the Chestnut Soup (pic). When we each received a huge bowl of soup for the first course, I was prepared for the kitchen to unleash hell on our table, so when the crispy prosciutto was gone, I stopped eating. Still getting over the sniffles, I don’t know if I could taste the chestnut, but the creaminess was delectable.
The first appetizer course included Sea Scallops (pic), a Grilled Shrimp Salad (pic), and Pork Belly (above). OMG, pork belly FTW. Why is it so easy to please me with pork belly? Daniel came from a Jewish family, so he was never pleased with pork as a child and doesn’t think to order it when he goes out. We didn’t have to ask him twice to dig right in. If there was anything that could convert someone to Christianity in one bite, it would have to be this stuff. Just a great, unctous mouthfeel with a bit of crispy skin to add to the experience. Thinking back on the pork belly, it was only my third favorite bite of the meal, and it was awesome.
The sea scallops: crispy on the top, supple on the inside, firm to the touch of the fork and sliceable with the same. We were the guinea pigs for the grilled shrimp salad. When our chef visited us at the end of the evening, he asked for some feedback on how to improve the dish, I am going to suggest changing the name. If I see shrimp salad, I think about a mayo-laden celery and baby shrimp concoction, not a prawn-sized grilled shrimp on a bed of frisÃ©e with crispy cauliflower and paper-thin slices of fried chorizo to add that southern flare. It was a fun dish.
Our main courses: the Wild Striped Bass (above), the Braised Lamb Shank (pic), and the Prime New York Strip (below). The steak killed with all three of us. Served over a gorgeous barley risotto in beef jus, the addition of cranberries in the sauce took it to another level. The tartness of the cranberries, saltiness of the beef, and creamy, meaty risotto all balanced to take me to Foodie utopia. I had a conversation with Layne Mosler (site) a few days ago about how the sour taste is like the the bass line of a track; a lot of times, you don’t notice its presence, but you notice if it’s not there, and it sometimes might be hard to put your finger on what’s missing if it isn’t around. The cranberries in the risotto were the embodiment of this conversation; without them, the dish would just have been a great steak.
The striped bass the prettiest dish of the meal and the one I ended up eating the most of. There was a tinge of lime that put me off for the first 500 milliseconds while my palate took in the flavors of the chowder and oils in the fish. It was the first day for the assistant manager, and she assisted in figuring out what fish dish it was. We hit it off famously and are getting married this spring, but we haven’t set a date yet.
The lamb shank; you see how beautiful that thing is? We all raved over this, and as you can see in the video, we literally sucked the lamb bones dry. Phase one of my white-person marrow conversion is underway!
WOW! Immaculate dessert wine pairings FTW. Port with the Chocolate Hazelnut Brownie (pic), Sauternes with the Apple Crumble (pic), and Muscato with the Coconut Panna Cotta (where it is). If I am ever rich enough to afford a personal sommelier, and I can afford to tear Matt away from this place, he’s on my short list right now. Our server put the apple crumble down in front of me and my port, I quickly moved it over to the Allie with the Sauternes. I urged Daniel to take a sip of the port and try the panna cotta. He didn’t seem to mind it, but then I asked him to cleanse the palate and lay down some of the muscato before a spoonful of this glorious dessert and he began to understand. It was their first experience with dessert wine pairings. While I don’t know if our budgets can withstand port, sauternes, and muscato at each meal, maybe a nice ten-year port purchase at the liquor store would be advised.
I got to the end of the meal, looked at the menu they printed out for us (pic) and realized that they didn’t serve us the Mac and Cheese! I had heard that was a staple here; one of their biggest sellers. I guess if Matt is showing off the food he doesn’t need to profile their flagship; people already know that’s awesome. Another thing, he definitely is getting me to come back to try it.
With all the other excellence we had this evening, I know this one is going to be a must-eat.
Here’s a few snippets of our experience – bloody meat and sexy chefs:
The IRL Arts Foundation and The Wandering Foodie thank Dumont for providing this meal.
432 Union Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11206