Farmstead’s American Artisan Dinner at The James Beard House
Saturday, August 21, 2010
James Beard House, Farmstead and La Laiterie Chefs/Co-Owners Matt & Kate Jennings presented an American Artisan Dinner to a very eager crowd of Rhode Islanders and New Yorkers. Having eaten food prepared by the Jennings many times over the past few years I can say that this dinner they pulled out all the stops and gave everything that they and their staff could offer. The meal was based around cheese and dairy because the Jennings felt they “needed to give a bow toward where we started but didn’t want [to serve] cheese on a plate.” So in preparing the menu they gave a very conscious thought as to “how to lend a dairy slant without eating a piece of cheese.”
But my favorite of the five was the Savory Ricotta Gelato with Bacon-Lemon Marmalade and Crispy Shallots with Black Pepper. The combination of all those flavors and a range of temperatures due to the gelato and shallots just made a perfectly milky, silky, crispy and porky taste. The fifth hors d’oeuvre, a Chilled Young Carrot Soup with Clotted Cream, Pistachios, American Olive Oil, and Spearmint was good but not as successful to me simply because it was a little hard to get all the flavors in one gulp from the shot glass because of the thickness of the puree. The two wines were nice starts to the evening.
While I loved the dairy served with the next dish, A Farmer’s Fête: Our Favorite Summer Vegetables with Saffron-Cremont Fondue, Flowers, and Herbs, I couldn’t help but feel it was the least successful dish of the evening. One guest remarked to Matt that there was “so much going on” and Matt replied the goal was to “get a bite with all of it [the vegetables, fondue and herbs],” but that was a little tough. It was a very artistically composed plate that I enjoyed having before the coming pork and lamb courses. The salad was served with a 2008 Poet’s Leap Riesling from Columbia Valley which was my second favorite wine of the evening.
blogged about procuring personally from the brewery.
As if the pork wasn’t enough we were then served West River Feta-Brined Lamb Noisette with Green Mountain Potato Torta, Corn, Olives, and Alliums. I love lamb and this dish didn’t disappoint. The potato torta was a nice treat to help the palate with all this delicious fat since there hadn’t been much starch served otherwise. Plus it was layered with all the great taste of a perfectly crisp potato. Brining the lamb in the liquid from feta cheese was a nice touch to tie in the dairy and the reduction on the plate was lip-smacking good. It was served with my favorite wine, the 2008 Quivira Vineyards and Winery Grenache from Dry Creek in Sonoma.
Farmstead and La Laiterie Bistro, 186 Wayland Ave., Providence, RI 02906 401-274-7177
Farmstead Lunch, 225A Westminster St., Providence, RI 02903
- Farmstead’s Kate & Matt Jennings Named to Annual “40 Chefs Under 40” List
- Matt Jennings of Providence’s Farmstead Tapped By Michelle Obama for National Program
- Five Things: La Laiterie, Providence
- RI Local Food Fest
- Best Burgers in Rhode Island