When you get an invitation to get a sneak peek, you have to take it.
Whether it’s an advance showing of a movie, a preview copy of a book, or a chance to stay at a hotel during the soft opening…who doesn’t want to know something before EVERYONE else does??
I wasn’t a very popular child…I’m sure that somehow plays into this.
Anyway, I had the chance to preview a menu that the chefs at Foxwoods Hotel and Casino will be preparing at the James Beard House next Friday, July 25.
This was a test run for them, so I got to try every single dish that they will be preparing for the James Beard House diners.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Beltane Farm goat cheese croquettes with roasted beets
This local Connecticut goat cheese is now on my short list of favorites. It has a rich, cakey texture that melts and becomes super creamy inside its crispy sheath. Served with tender beets that are so sweet that they are almost like candy, this is practically a dessert course.
Raw Stonington summer flounder with citrus chili dredge, apples, and radishes
Be still my heart. One of the most fabulous ceviches I have had in recent memory. The flounder is so soft and sweet it reminds me of a scallop. However, it retains its texture and isn’t at all slimy or mushy. The spicy dredge is hot and tangy with citrus, cooled down by the tiny bits of green apples. This is a must taste!
Bombster Fleet scallop crudo with olive oil, Kabuso, and aji amarillo
Okay, so I loved both of the raw fish dishes. So sue me! The chefs here clearly have a way with fresh seafood, knowing how to dress and prepare it so that the flavors shine through and compliment, not compete with, each other. The scallops are juicy and pleasantly sweet. The strips of pepper are fruity and spicy enough to make the lips tingle. Luckily, the bright Kabuso citrus and the slick of rich olive oil temper the heat. This is a phenomenal crudo.
Mishima Wagyu ribeye cap “sunomono” with Connecticut summer harvest and aged maitake demi
When this beef arrived, I inwardly groaned. It was brown all the way through – it was overcooked! Well color me TOTALLY WRONG. This beef was tender, flavorful, and so juicy that it practically melted in my mouth. I think the brown color came from the sunomomo treatment, where it was marinated in a sweet vinegar sauce before being gently cooked. It was robust, and beefy with a sweet-sour edge that is unlike any steak I have ever had. It was totally remarkable! The veggies served alongside were fresh and fragrant, and though the giant hen of the woods mushroom was a bit too smoky for my taste, the demi alongside was rich and flavorful. This dish surprised me on many levels and pleased me on EVERY level.
Couscous in dessert? Sure! Studded with dried fruits, it’s almost like a lighter version of rice pudding. The brulee is creamy and dense with a sweet graham cracker-like crust. Th soft sorbet tastes like the very essence of summer and the olive oil soponge cake…oh that sponge. It has the funniest texture and a savory-sweet taste that really plays off of the rest of the components. This is whimsical and inventive – the perfect way to end the meal.
You should buy a ticket to this dinner. I would – heck, I am considering doing it – it was that great!
If the preview was this good, I can’t even imagine how fantastic the main event is going to taste.
*Disclaimer: I was invited to this meal free of charge. I was not required to write about my experiences, and my opinions are my own and unbiased.