When I get a request for a bigger group to join one of our dinners, I have to give it some thought. We only have ten seats, so a group of five, six, seven, or more people, pretty much means that they’re going to dominate the conversation at the table. They may have full intent to socialize, mix and meet with new folk, but after all, if there are only a couple of new faces at the table, how much of that is going to happen? So it depends on who the group is, the mix of people in it (are they family, friends, co-workers, merely conference go-ers who happen to want to eat together), are they from diverse backgrounds or not, who are the other people reserved for the evening, do they have lots of dietary restrictions, etc., etc.? It’s a delicate balancing act – I don’t want to simply say no to all bigger groups. And, also, often we simply don’t still have space for their numbers by the time they reserve – which is most often the case. And so, we offer private dinners, which often works better anyway for them – they get a say in the menu, the wines, the time for dinner, actually, pretty much whatever we can do for them – it’s their evening. Within parameters, of course – we’re not a catering service.
This last week, a dinner for a family of six, an American-Argentine couple each with some family members in tow – it was a chance for the two families to get to know each other a bit – a perfect setting for a private meal. And, a fair number of restrictions – no pork, organ meats or raw oysters, gluten-free or close to it, no shrimp, no ceviche; definitely want salmon as a main course. Imagine me fitting all that in to a regular public dinner? Much easier to simply plan a menu around it all.
An iteration on our past roasted beet and caramelized shallot salad. Added in green beans, well, simply because I still had some leftover from the weekend that I hadn’t used; instead of the sauce soubise, our deviled egg dressing, some pecorino romano cheese, and a little sweetness from a reduced balsamic vinegar.
During the summer I offered up a chilled carrot ginger soup with a honey, garam masala and coconut milk “ice cream”. The season of chilled soups is over, the weather having gotten chill. Here, the same carrot ginger soup though with the garam masala added in to the base, toasted coconut scattered across, a drizzle of good olive oil, and, for a little texture, some fresh made falafel.
Bringing back the spicy black pepper chicken mousselline crepe that I’ve made a couple of times (rice flour crepes for the gluten-free). Instead of a raita for spooning over it I decided on a warm cauliflower puree with mint and yogurt, a touch of cumin and mustard. Toss-up. Would have to try the sauces side by side to see which I like better.
And, my favorite of our main course salmon dishes – blackened salmon fillet with creamy quinua “polenta”, some toasted quinua scattered over it, and charred brussels sprouts.
And, our chocolate ganache and lemon curd tartlets, with an almond flour crust to handle the gluten issue. This always seems to be a favorite – it came up recently at another dinner, apparently there was some study done not all that long ago that showed that given free range of desserts to choose in a restaurant, the majority of women will pick dark chocolate as the primary flavor and the majority of men will pick lemon. So it’s a natural combination that works for a lot of people!
So what can we do for your private dining experience?