Monday, March 31, 2008

Wedding tasting, round 2

Our first trip to the Food for Thought Kitchens was tasty, but none of the dishes they came up with were quite what we were looking for, so last week when Abby and I were in Chicago for a whirlwind week of wedding planing, we went back to the caterer's for another tasting. We had already picked out our salads and appetizers, so it was just main courses this time. Of the four we tried, three were fantastic candidates. Now we just have to narrow it down to the one or two dishes that we want to serve at the wedding, which will be hard since they were all so good.

First, we tried a seafood dish: Sweet Sake Roasted Wild Striped Bass with Dashi Soaked Soba Noodles, Wok Fried Vegetables, Tempura Fried Shiitake Mushrooms, and a Soy Miso Broth. This one is probably a keeper since (aside from tasting really good) we know so many pescaterians or vegaquariums or whatever you call people that make seafood the one exception to an otherwise vegetarian diet.

The next two dishes out were both chicken. As I've blogged about before, ordering the chicken dish is a good way to see how good a kitchen is. You can go to a lot of reputable restaurants and get a somewhat dry pan roasted chicken. This place, it turns out, does chicken better than most restaurants I have been to. The truffled chicken breast is outstanding.

Here's dish one:

1) Frenched Chicken Breast with Summer Truffle with Garlic-Braised Baby Bok Choy, Black Beauty Eggplant, Tri-Color Carrot, Basil Glace

2) Pan-Roasted Chicken Breast Grilled Fingerling Potato, Asparagus, Marconi Pepper Chutney, Enoki Mushrooms, Sherry-Ginger "Reduction"

Of the two chicken dishes, the first one was a better match with the flavors we were looking for.

Finally, we tried another take on braised shortrib, a dish we had tried at the initial tasting. This dish was a bit on the heavy side for a summer meal, but it was damn good and may be hard to pass up on.

Star Anise Braised Beef Short Rib with Scallion Potato Puree, Cippolini Onion, Sugar Snap Peas, Shitake Mushrooms.