Friday, October 19, 2007

Art of the Table ROCKS!

It was date night last night so we tried a new restaurant and it was amazing.

I saw a review in the Stranger and since it as in the hood, decided to give a whirl.

Oh boy, were we in for a treat.

The space was small and intimate with great lighting. We arrived and were greeted by the chef, his brother and girlfriend? and offered us either our own table or to join the party for a supper club. We opted for the later and Ryan had the best seat in the house - he could see right into the kitchen and watch the action.

The menu is rotated every week and this week Chef Justin focused on Northern Italy. He came out to the table and told us about his inspiration and research ensuring a culinary delight. The Northern Italians focus on using local ingredients so Justin did as well - highlighted by chanterelle and porcini mushrooms, swiss chard, zucchini and Theo chocolate.

We started with brushetta with chopped chanterelles drizzled by truffle oil. It's making my mouth water just thinking about it.

The salad had grilled Radicchio and Zucchini with a 15 year old lip smacking balsamic and a cippolini onion, which offset the bitter radicchio, topped with shavings of parmagiano reggiano cheese.

Then he served homemade gnocchi, which I'm trying this weekend with sweet potatoes, accompanied by imported prosciutto, porcini and melted Gorgonzola. Fabulous!

Our main course was substituted - apparently he wrote his menu before checking the market prices on veal (18.99/lb!) and used boar cheeks instead. The boar was served on a bed of swiss chard and drizzled with a sweet brown sauce. Succulent and moist - it reminded me a little of the inside of a luau luau.

And of course - to top the meal off and satisfy our sweet tooth - home made Tiramisu with marscarpone cheese, using Kailua for the coffee flavor, lady fingers, Theo chocolate shavings and a fig served on the side. Tiramisu originated in the 1940's as the Italian women would make it for their loved ones on their way to war. A little sweet, a little caffeine, would hopefully ensure safe travels for their men.

Of course, with good food comes a bill. You get what you pay for - and this was definitely one of the best meals I've had out in a while. They do have a "Happy Monday" option - where Chef Justin takes his left over ingredients and whips up something amazing, for a small fee. Of course while we were leaving, he had to mention that this next Monday he's putting the boar cheeks and gnocchi together. YUM!

The Chef is young - I'd say still in his twenties and has a lot of enthusiasm and drive for what he does. His passion certainly translates into delectable delights - and if you are a foodie - this place should definitely be on your list.

1 comment:

Wine Gidget said...

NICE! How awesome. We had date night last night too! I had lobster and prawns and creme brulee and now have to ride all weekend eating only miso and celery to offset it...but man...was it worth it! Gotta love date nights! I will check out this new place you wrote up...sounds yummy!