Archive for January, 2011

Thank You Vegan Tasting Menu

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

I’ve been serving chef’s choice, price fix or tasting meals since our opening in 2002.  And call them what you will, it’s always a pleasure for me when my guests put their fates completely in our hands for the night.  I can’t say enough how much I enjoy that people can let go and enjoy the ride.  Its great chance for the staff and I to put together a truly personal and special experience for our guests with what’s seasonal and beautiful that day.  It can be challenging  at times when the restaurant is busy or if there are a lot of curve ball restrictions or allergies, but none the less, when it all comes out, the meal is finished,  and the guest is happy, there’s no better sense of reward and accomplishment.

Every chef will tell you one of his biggest pet peeves are modifiers, allergies and restrictions.  We can be notoriously temperamental about these things, I know.  It’s hard sometimes for the guests to understand why this can be difficult or frustrating for us chefs, depending on the restriction/allergy, the timing of when they told their server (i.e. 20 minutes after their order was placed and its almost done, even better after its been dropped on the table and the kitchen is 10 tickets deep, or when the allergy is something preposterously ridiculous like an allergy to water or “all fruits, vegetables and salt”).  But in many cases and many times customers are thoughtful, polite and honestly are are not a problem.  They are easy to accommodate and their requests require simple adjustments or just a little thinking outside the box from those of us in the kitchen.  At nicks we always try to accommodate our guests to the best of our ability when it comes to these things, even in the face of adversity, when its most difficult, trying and challenging.

When our guests care enough or have enough forethought to call ahead with restrictions or allergies it’s so very appreciated.  Not only does it give me time to adjust, but it gives me time to prepare and put some thought into their restrictions/concerns, whatever they may be (allergies, dietary constraints, religious preferences or lifestyle choices alike).  Tonight was one of those nights, and I thought I’d share the menu with you…. and thank you to the couple who called two days in advance requesting a vegan tasting menu. I hope you both enjoyed it, because even though I’m the carnivore of carnivores, I enjoyed cooking it, and I was happy out to do it…..

First Course

Porridge of Schartner Farm Carrots, Celery, Ginger + Lime

Second Course

Allen Farm Pea Greens with Marinated Grapes, Honey-Almond + Aged Sherry Vinegar

Third Course

Salad of Grapefruit, Blood Orange, Kumquats + Naval Orange, with Local Beets, Herbs + Walnuts

Fourth Course

Calamarata Pasta with Roasted Pepper, Almonds, Parsley + Charred Sourdough

Fifth Course

Lemon-Ginger Sorbet with Sparkling Wine + Mint

Sixth Course

Wilted Local Bitter Greens (Kale, Cabbage, Watercress) with Heirloom Pumpkin-Chestnut Puree, Roasted Mushrooms, Toasted Chestnuts + Crispy Sage

Seventh Course

Cocoa Sorbet with Mint, Citrus + Candied Hazelnuts