Cocktail hour featured incredibly fresh and delicious shucked oysters and clams from Rappahannock River Oyster Company, in Virginia.
THREE restaurants in Virginia and D.C. for your oyster pleasure.
|Fresh Rappahannock River Oyster with handmade cocktail sauce|
The rest of the evening encompassed a 9-course Chef-crafted tasting menu ending with a creative, spectacular “Dessert Extravaganza” from Chef Fabian DiPaolo. Four local craft brews from Mother Earth Brewing in Kinston, NC were paired with each course.
The mango slaw was pulled together with a light dressing made of agar agar and coconut milk. The fruit was subtle but nice and bright. Chapchae are sweet potato noodles, similar to cellophane or glass noodles, they are fun, easy to cook and were very good in this course. The star, the pork belly, was crusted with kombucha tea and was one of the most talked about dishes of the night. But--everyone loves pork belly and you can't go wrong with a luscious piece of pig next to two salads.
More noodles, no problems. Presented by Chef Justin McMillen and served in little cups, this ramen dish (if you didn't know, ramen is trendy in 2013) was Asian-inspired. The bits of charred corn were sweet and smoky and soaked up the salty brine of the clam and the dashi. Delicious.
Huancaina potato salad, cilantro, avocado slab, charred corn kernels.
Whoa. The shrimp alone on this dish had me wanting more (and I got some Friday night, yesssss). The shrimp was in this spectacular marinade. The solo shrimp on the plate was smoky, spicy, citrusy and incredibly herbaceous. The sliver of watermelon was sweet and juicy and a nice palate cleanser.
The crust of the clod was slightly sweet and the meat itself was very tender. I cut it with my fork! Bravo, Chef! Bravo! The little itty bitty teeny tiny potatoes were no bigger than pennies and dimes and could not have been cuter.
And here begins the "Dessert Extravaganza"!
The semifreddo was cool, thick and bright but not as bright as the fresh raspberries. The sorbet cut the cream of the semifreddo while the basil foam was a fun, trendy topping to this first dish.
My favorite part: The Campari-flavored rocks. The texture was like Styrofoam a first, but then it dissolved like cotton candy on my tongue and the previous texture was forgotten. My second favorite part: The little disk of blood orange gelee. Like the hard candy Grandma passes you in church, it was good and nice to suck on. -_-
A decadent finish to the night, I have to find out how to make my ganache pliable!