Try as I might, I often start blog posts, get distracted by something else I want to write and the original post languishes, sad and unread. NO MORE! In honor of Throwback Thursday (#TBT), I’m finishing these forgotten gems (?) and sharing them. Some are from a couple of months ago, some are from years ago (fun!). Enjoy taking a look back at some awesome eats.
Back in March, my friend Liz was visiting with her little guy, H. So while we were hanging around eating goldfish crackers and playing with Tupperware (mostly H, sometimes me), our friend Whitney called to invite us to join her at a Louisville Ten Tables dinner. We were in the car before you could say “The snack that smiles back.” We left all the kids with Whitney’s husband (brave man) and just us girls headed out to Ten Tables!
Ten Tables Louisville is described as a “New and exciting exclusive dinner club concept from chefs Dustin Staggers, Griffin Paulin and Eric Morris.” These gents are all well-regarded chefs in the Louisville area and I was thrilled to be part of the #10 dinner (with guest chef, David Scales) held at Loop 22.
Similar to the Please pop-up concept, super talented chefs get together to host a private, multi-course dinner at a fixed price. The dinner is typically held on Monday night at restaurants that are closed on that evening. The dinner we attended was $75 per person with the option to include a beer or wine pairing for an additional $30-$40 or simply purchase individual cocktails. We decided to just stick to cocktails.
And what cocktails they were! Fact: I love a fancy bourbon cocktail, especially when I’m in Kentucky where I feel like it’s the law to order a bourbon drink.
Jefferson Jackson: Old Forrester Signature, St. Germain, Bitter, Herb & Ginger
Sigh. Delightful. Bright and clean but with that smooth, deep bourbon flavor. I was a huge fan.
The girls tried the Catch-22 and Liz KY Kir (for Liz, duh) and we agreed all were refreshing and thoughtfully prepared.
On to dinner! This evening’s meal was an 8-course extravaganza with many local Kentucky ingredients and dishes. Love that. Prior to each dish, the chef who prepared it came out to give a brief description of the dish while the wine and beer pairing notes were on the menu.
Let’s get to the pretty pictures of good food.
Amuse: Mushroom Vidalia Pancake, Whipped Tofu “Ricotta,” Whitefish Roe, Soy Sorghum Syrup: In true amuse-bouche fashion, this was a poppable bite of exquisite deliciousness. I loved the tart and crunch. A perfect palate tease.
Salad: Spinach, Pickled Beets and Cherries, Candied Pecan, Goat Cheese: A classic dish with fun twists of pickled beets and preserved cherries (the chef told us the cherries had been soaking for months!)
Soup: Pasture Raised Pork and Free Range Chicken Burgoo: This was hands-down my favorite dish of the evening. I know, I know, so early on, but this hit all my favorite notes: Slightly spicy, rich without being heavy and tons of depth of flavor. Burgoo, for the uninitiated is a slow cooked stew often made with local game and typical “country” vegetables: okra, tomatoes, lima beans and corn. I wanted to lick my bowl clean; but we had 5 more courses to go.
A note: Though we were expecting “tasting” portions, I found each course to be quite generous, and even overwhelming towards the end (I hate to waste anything so pretty!) so please know you will leave stuffed if you clean your plate as you go.
Appetizer: Butter Bean Paste, Benton’s Country Ham, Local Sorghum, Sweet Peas, Spicy Tomato Confit: I loved that this was all ingredients you might find on a Kentucky dinner table on any given night (butter beans, peas, country ham…) but the execution totally flipped this on its head. I loved the crisp peas and what the chef described as “fat kid country ham dust” – um love. The butter bean paste was just ok for me (I’m a stickler for hummus so I wasn’t surprised this wasn’t a favorite). Appetizer: Wild Boar Sausage, Roasted Pera, Oyster Mushroom, Spicy Honey: Look at this pretty little thing! A totally gorgeous presentation. I love me a mushroom, so I happily devoured the oyster mushroom first! I tried a bite of each of the sausage but left the rest. What was surprising to me about this dish was that it was served cold. I think I was expecting it warmed? Also, the spicy honey was a bit too spicy for my weak little heat level, so honestly I left most of this dish.
Entree: Salmon 6 ways: Absolutely LOVED LOVED LOVED this. Let me see if I can remember all 6 ways: (from L): Sashimi, Grilled, Crispy Skin, Ceviche & Roe. Shoot, that’s 5. I (believe?!) the seaweed salad or wasabi may have had an element of salmon in there too? I (oddly) really loved the accompanying seaweed salad! Great chew and umami flavor. The grilled salmon was my favorite, it was literally salmon butter. Entree: Shaved Leg of Lamb, Edamame, Radish, and Mint Tapenade: By this point, eating was just for the pure gluttonous enjoyment of it. An enjoyment I was glad to have the pleasure of, but still, pure gluttony. I enjoyed the rare, expertly cooked lamb and the astringent bite of the collards with the refreshing tang of the mint tapenade. I did leave most of the edamame (bread? cake?) as it was a bit dense for me at this stage in the dining game. Dessert: Okinawa Sweet Potato Doughnuts, Confit of Plum and Kumquat, Cream, Toffee Peanuts: Disclaimer. I am not a doughnut person. Sure, I’ll indulge in an occasional coconut donut or share an outrageous flavor to try it, but when it comes to choosing my carb-poison, I’m Team Cookie all the way. So when I saw doughnuts as the dessert, I was indifferent. I was pleased that the dessert wasn’t chocolate because I’m not a chocolate person either. You would think with these proclivities, I would never eat sweets. You would be wrong.
Back to the doughnuts…I casually took a bite, expecting the usual overly sweet, greasy mouthfeel of doughnut to develop as it usually does. Rather, it was like biting into barely-sweet little clouds of love. The outer shell had delightful bite to it, yielding to the soft interior, while the vanilla whipped cream and confit added tang, richness of flavor and joy. The toffee peanuts? It took some serious willpower not to ask for a goody bag of just these. Good stuff.
What I loved most about the evening was the passion and energy each chef had for his dish and the camaraderie we saw between the group. While some individual elements were misses for me, make no mistake that each dish was incredibly thoughtfully prepared, presented and no doubt a delight in another way to another diner.
I’m of the belief that we need more of these types of dinners. More inventive and unique chefs cooking their way in their service style.
Long live the supper club.
And toffee peanuts.