Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chef's Table at Elements, Princeton

The list above (printed on plantable seed-infused card stock) was the inspiration for our recent Chef's Table at Elements. With so many courses and extra "snacks" this post will mostly just be a list of courses and photos, but hopefully you can vicariously experience Chef Scott Anderson's creativity at work.

We started with some fun cocktails and mocktails, and a bread basket with housemade focaccia, grossini, crispbread, and twists.

Next they brought out a sampling of amuse bouche: clockwise from left (radish with housemade mayo, salad of local beets and apple, sweet potato soup, murcia (blood sausage), and avocado mousse.

Course #1 was a salad of mixed greens with lardo, shaved ricotta, and asparagus puree. Asparagus being currently in season in NJ, they became an ongoing motif throughout the meal. The wine pairing for this was Grinalda Vinho Verde from Portugal.

Snack #2 came out next -- fresh kindai tuna tartare. By this point, we were starting to think we better pace ourselves if the "snacks" were going to number as many as the actual courses.

Course #2: Shimaaji (Striped Horsemackerel) with trout roe hollandaise. Wine: Bodegas Castillo de Monjardin El Cerezo Chardonnay 2009.

Snack #3: "Spaghetti & Meatballs" - where the "meatballs" were beak muscles of calamari and the "spaghetti" were julienned asparagus.

Course #3: Hamachi "short rib" - a playful presentation with fish bones as "ribs" - on sweet potato noodles, with a sauce of yuzu, nasturtium, and thai chile. Paired with: Dewatsuru Kimoto Junmai Sake.

Course #4: Blowfish tail and razor clams, on sticky rice. Paired with: Rio Maggio Telusiano Falerio. There were 2 sauces - one was a gingery puree, the other was slightly citrusy. The greens were black bean shoots. With a table full of mostly Chinese people, we thought maybe the texture of the sticky rice could have been better, but of course we were all comparing it to our moms' - who can beat that right?

Snack #4 was the piece de resistance - a foie gras "cookie" - yuzu-infused foie gras torchon sandwiched in between parmesan shortbreads -- absolutely rich, decadent, and delicious!

Course #5: California snails with whey and bonito foam, with cabbage, on macadamia nut puree. The snails were delicious though I wished I could have tasted more macadamia nut flavor. Wine: 1994 Kalin Cellars Chardonnay Cuvee W Livermore Valley.

Snack #5: Morel stem stuffed with pork butt and smoked ricotta. We got an added treat when we were invited into the kitchen to see the delivery of morels by their mushroom guy. They were the hugest morels I've seen in person!

Course #6: Duck breast with shaved asparagus, evergreen pine puree, english peas, glazed radish on wild rice. This came with two pinots: Robert Sinskey Aries Pinot Noir Carneros 2006 and 2009 Melville "Estate-Verna's" Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir.

Snack #6: Anchovy tart with olives and goat cheese, on chorizo puree.

Course #7: Lamb loin, vadouvan sauce (a North African curry) with housemade smoked ricotta, carrot and japanese almonds. This reminded us of Japanese curry. Wine: 2007 Dunham Trutina Red Blend.

Course #8 (Palate cleanser): Sheeps milk yogurt, with diced fennel, asparagus and apple, and housemade granola.

Course #9 (Dessert): Chocolate dome with dark chocolate ganache shell and milk chocolate mousse inside, with hibiscus puree, sorbet and ice cream. Paired with: Dow's 10-year-old Tawny Port.

Finally ending with a plate of petit fours: (front to back) pistachio hazelnut macaroon, blood orange gelee, passion fruit tart, and mango shortbread. We were fat and happy by the end of this great meal.

163 Bayard Lane
Princeton, NJ
(609) 924-0078

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