A tasting at the Plaza
The only tastings I have ever been to was for each our kids bar/bat mitzvahs. I went with each of the kids individually and they loved the whole process. So when Liz Neumark asked me if I wanted to join her for a behind the scenes tasting for Great Performances I immediately said yes. It was definitely fun and certainly interesting when you think about how these dishes can be served from a restaurant to a catered event. Very interesting day. Pretty sure that these classic kind of dishes need to lighten up. More grains, more veggies and less protein and that is what we talked about. Fast forward, the next day that is exactly what they did. Not surprising because I was having these conversations with Liz. So she sent me the follow up pictures. Long post but it is interesting to see the original concept and then the dish that is actually going to come out of the kitchen.
And the food began coming and coming and coming. We started with a lemon ricotta gnocchi, no flour. Hints of citrus mint and the only butter was in the sauce. Radish flowers on top.
Pan roasted striped bass served with braised fennel, smashed fingerling potatoes, cured tomatoes and caperberries that were roasted in a chicken stock. Original concept.
Day 2 of what the dish ended up to be.
The salmon was my favorite. Pumpernickel crusted farmed Scottish salmon served with a salsify potato puree and hen of the woods mushrooms. There was a nice tang to this from the horseradish butter with small hints of citrus. Really good. Day 1.
Lemongrass slow roasted Branzino over a mixture of black forbidden rice, ginger, shitakes and mizuna. Loved the rice. Sticky and chewy. Day 1.
Day 2. Makes sense. The rice was amazing.
Too much happening here. Chicken roulade stuffed with an eggplant caponata and a green mustard vinaigrette. What was the best part were the vegetables. Roasted baby eggplant with creme fraiche and pomegranate seeds with harissa braised chick peas and kale. The chick peas might have to be made at home. Day 1.
Day 2. Completely lightened up. Heavy on those yummy chickpeas.
French breast roasted chicken served with a mushroom leek bread pudding and a frissee and sorrel salad. Loved the sorrel and everything else was way too heavy. Day 1.
Farmed chicken over a mixture of roasted vegetable. Carrots, baby turnips, purple potatoes, swiss chard and a tarragon jus. The veggies made the dish. Only got the first day here.
Shoulder of beef cooked medium rare over a wasabai potato puree which was excellent, baby bok choy and a soy demi glace. Day 1.
Grilled sirloin with a truffled potato gratin, gruyere creamed spinach and bordelaise sauce. Way too rich for 2012. Day 1.
Olive and almonds crusted beef tenderloin with steel cut oat risotto, spinach and caramelized onions. Not the best on color but the risotto was quite good. Day 1.
Day 2. Better on presentation and choice of veggies.
The vegetarian option. Farro and pea risotto with a whole grain mustard jus and morels. Not great on presentation but the farro risotto was delicious.
Lamb chop over a lamb ragout with gigante beans and kale. The ragout was nice and I really liked it with the big beans. Not necessary with a big lamb chop too.
Here are all the plates together plated.
On to desserts. Chocolate peanut butter banana treat. The cookie is just pure peanuts. Really amazing.
Here is what it looked like inside.
Cannoli filled with marscarpone and berries with a mango sauce.
Red velvet crunch bar. The crunch comes from oreo cookies. Made into a bar with vanilla filling and roasted plums on the side.
Fig and yuzu pudding cake with bourbon molasses sauce and creme fraiche. The chef also made a yuzu sauce on the side to taste that was incredible. You could pour it over anything.
Leche cream flan with ginger glazed fruit and a caramel sauce. The cookie is just pure ginger. Very clever and tasty.
This was my favorite. Bittersweet chocolate hazelnut torte with chantilly creme. What i loved was the mint. He took mint pieces, brushed them in egg whites, dipped them in sugar and let them dry. They were delicious. A total mouth cleanser. Definitely making these at home.
Here are all the desserts at once.
Really fun to see the back story. I really do love the food business.
Don’t you just love your chosen field some days?
I am so grateful everyday for all the amazing things I get to do, taste, see, hear and participate in. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t walk out of my apartment and say how happy I am that I live in NYC and excited to be part of everything I do.
Just the change of plates makes a dramatic difference in the freshening up department. I loved seeing the change the menu went through.
Your food photos look a lot nicer than usual. New camera? 🙂
So – are we talking more tastings over next 10+/- yrs w/ three wedding?
The photos are marvelous – what is your camera? Thank you for sharing all of this Judy
Joanne – you absolutely must write a very fine book about food mostly with photographs and small amount of text. Judy
How do you safely store your photographs? Judy
I love the iterations, though I’ll disagree with you and ATG on the plates. Call me old fashioned, but I like the gilded ones for special events.
lol.you are getting old!
Indeed I am 🙂