Enjoy the photos and make plans well in advance. Weekend seatings fill up very quickly.
John Gonzales prepping waffle chips. After the meal a dining participant asked about how he balanced his work with home-life. He stated that his venture here which is now in its 10th year was less work and less stress than any other culinary position he had held.
Nick Allen preparing to sear strip loins. Both he and John displayed a welcoming conversational manner. They enjoyed imparting their knowledge and displayed a quick wit for any hiccups in the cooking process.
Pierre Larousse Blanc de Blancs sparkling was served as we arrived. All of the wines served paired well with the food and were inexpensive. A Chef's Kitchen contains a small wine shop and every wine is $10 a bottle.
First course - Roasted Apple, Parsnip, Sharp Cheddar, and Applejack Brandy Soup with Pasqua Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie. Great soup for a winter evening. The tiny apple chucks gave a sweet texture. Sharp cheddar was melted into the soup with diced chunks to garnish. I liked the melted cheddar. For cheddar lovers, the diced morsels would be welcomed. For non-cheddar lovers (like me), I would omit the diced cheese.
Second course - Mixed Baby Lettuces with Toasted Pistachios, Pineapple, and Creamy Watergate Lime Dressing and Skillet Baked Corn Bread. I really enjoyed the pineapple and nuts in the salad, a culinary deconstructed nod to the Watergate Salad of years' past, but the star of this dish was the cornbread. John touted the wonders of a cast iron skillet and the need for fresh corn meal. He mixed up the batter and cooked it for 15 minutes while we were eating the soup. Light and tasty, not too sweet. The recipe is flexible enough to add more sugar if one prefers a sweeter taste. Heavenly!
Third course - Flash Fried Chesapeake Flounder Filet with Fennel Slaw and Brown Butter Caper Sauce served with Pere et Fils Chardonnay-Viognier. I love capers. I love fennel. I am not a fish fan, although I have come to realize that the fish I do not like is the fish that is poorly cooked. This flounder knocked my socks off. It was so tasty, so moist, and not fishy. A delightful surprise for my evening. Afterwards I related my experience to Nick and he explained that the secret is not to overcook the fish.
Course four - New York Striploin Steak with Roasted Bell Pepper-Oregano Onion Saute served with Colsanto Ruis Sangiovese-Merlot. Medium rare perfection and a generous portion of beef. A Chef's Kitchen uses certified Hereford beef which The Fresh Market carries.
Fifth course - Almond Frangipane Torte with Warm Apricot and Cherry Chutney a la Mode. A very sweet ending to a marvelous evening.
A truly enjoyable experience. In the fall they feature venison. It would be worth going back.