My cousin flew into town for Labor Day weekend. The 3rd happened to be my birthday. She kept me distracted from a surprise Friday night dinner by keeping me busy all day. We took my Grandson to the Lazy 5 Ranch, and we didn’t get home until 4p. For breakfast I’d had home fried chicken strips and 1/2 a peanut butter sandwich so I wasn’t hungry all day. She was really worried I was going to ask about lunch. Her ploy worked.
When we got home from the Lazy 5, she acted like there was no dinner plan. I suggested we go to dinner and she said: “Let’s just drive around until we find someplace that looks good.” I told her no way was I just driving around looking for some place to eat. We had to have a recommendation. She then, reluctantly, told me that she had a reservation. My husband asked if the car was clean. I told him it was not, after going to the Lazy 5 where you feed the animals pellets from your car. He went out and washed the animal snot off the windows and flipped the mats and the car looked 100% better.
When we arrived uptown, at the restaurant, it was an old Victorian house tucked away in a cozy neighborhood. We entered and a man came out and introduced himself and shook our hands. Then a woman came out and introduced herself and shook our hands. We walked back to the informal dining room where there was a table set for 3. It was the Chef’s Table. It was set with old-fashioned plates and stemware of all sorts. It looked like someplace the Queen would eat. There were menus and a rose sitting on each plate. I asked if this was the menu we ordered off of and my cousin said: “Those are all the courses we’re going to eat.” I was delighted, to say the least.
First thing, they served us a tiny cup of white asparagus blended into a drink with cheddar biscuits, to cleanse our palates. Then came the first course: Jumbo lump blue crab with a fried green tomato with Remoulade sauce. It was great! The second course was a chilled sweet corn bisque with charred pepper & lime salsa, basil and extra virgin olive oil. The chef came out every time a course was served to tell us all about it and where it came from. There was a huge vegetable garden on the side of the restaurant where most of the vegetables came from. The third course was a salad of watermelon & mixed baby lettuces with tomatoes out of the garden, crispy parmesan, kalmata olive jam and white balsamic dressing. This was heavenly! I would never have thought that watermelon would taste good in a salad. They then served house-made strawberry-black pepper intermezzo sorbet. This was served in a martini glass with pink sugar around the top of the glass. It was beautiful and you could taste the pepper. They’d made that also. It was to cleanse our palates before the meat dishes.
The fifth course was pan-seared organic Scottish King Salmon with creamy grits, brown butter cabbage and tempura okra. This is the South, after all. The courses were all small but there were 1o of them so we were really full by the time dinner was over. The sixth course was roasted duck breast and duck confit with cheddar cous cous, apple, beets and apple cider-rosemary cream. The sixth course was butter-poached tenderloin of grass-fed beef with potato gratin, tomato-bacon jam & green peppercorn port reduction. This was divine. The seventh course was a wedge of buttermilk blue cheese with house-grown figs, balsamic syrup and baguette crisps. I ate all of mine. We were all getting really full but we had 2 more courses to go. The ninth course was “peaches and cream” BBQ grilled local peach, sour cream pound cake and caramel ice cream. This was so good we all wanted another plate of it. The tenth and final course was frozen white chocolate with white chocolate mousse, candied macadamia nuts and chocolate sauce. It was heavenly!
I’ve eaten at the Chef’s table in an Italian restaurant, in the kitchen, and it was nothing like the Chef’s table at a nice restaurant like this. It was a once in a life time experience. It was blissful!