Friday, April 30th, 2010
A RE-RUN ON THE EVE OF THE PIEDMONT PARK DINNER PARTY! Of course I’m attending….how could I not?
Exclusive, invitation only dinner parties held in secret locations, announced at the last minute, with a secret menu revealed once guests are seated. Sounds tantalizing, no?
The speakeasy of supper clubs, Dinner Party Atlanta is a hot ticket among foodies. The brainchild of Darren Carr and Patrick La Bouff of Top Flr, it’s a brilliant concept combining the element of surprise with culinary genius. Be prepared for anything as chef Shane Devereux, also of Top Flr, presents five courses, each with stunning precision and evolved flavors.
B and I had the dinner and the party last night! Held in the space on Edgewood that will soon house Darren’s and Jeff Myers’ new restaurant, Darren was reluctant to spill the beans about this project, although word is it is scheduled to open in March.
Upon arrival, Darren was on hand to greet guests and direct them upstairs where the future restaurant’s kitchen and dining room are located. Red brick walls were lined with gorgeous black and white photography by Craig Bromley. A long communal table set for twenty diners promised an evening of lively conversation and making new friends, although it was cool to see an old friend, OB, who happened to be in attendance as well. A sexy crowd, sexy lighting, and sexy staff, set the stage for some sexy food!
Each of us sipped a special rum cocktail shaken up by Paul, called The Hesitation, as we mingled. Once seated, the real excitement was underway. Sommelier Valerie Masten poured a semi-sweet riesling that paired perfectly with our first course of foie gras torchon with toasted brioche, apple miso butter and a tiny clump of watercress.
Ya know, I prefer my foie gras seared. The process of making foie gras torchon is a rigorous one which Devereux described in detail….TMI dude! Deveining goose liver is not an enviable task, but the result was a smooth and fatty disc. The sweet accompaniment and bread to cut the richness made for a classic starter.
Seated next to JR, a man with a palate that can detect a single molecule of an ingredient, made for an engaging discussion of each course, the second of which was a chilled leek and marcona almond soup, pureed with cream and garnished with a salad of lobster, chopped black grapes, almonds and a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil. It rocked, but B and I didn’t love the white Italian wine served with it.
Squab is a fancy word for pigeon. Not the NYC “flying rat” variety but a domesticated version whose meat is reminiscent of duck. This was the protein in our third course, the breast pan seared medium rare and a leg confit served atop fingerling potatoes and diced pork belly which added a touch of smokiness to the dish….delish. Valerie chose a Spanish red, Petalos 2007, which was my favorite wine of the evening.
Among chef Devereux’s technically difficult preparations was the sous vide saddle of rabbit, our fourth course. It’s like they read our minds (or my blog)….B and I love bunnies! But I had never tried it cooked sous vide, a method of slow cooking any meat in a vacuum sealed bag under water at a constant low temperature. Turnip puree with a touch of Greek yogurt provided a hint of bitterness against the surprise addition of golden raisins. Braised artichoke gave the dish an extra punch, a perfect study in contrast of texture and flavor. A dry Italian red worked well with it.
Dessert was far better than its description. A thin disc of almond cake was topped with pear mousse, then a soft mascarpone cheesecake spiced with cinnamon and allspice. The best fucking thing was the dried fig and pear compote alongside it. I ate mine and half of B’s too. Valerie chose an awesome auslese riesling to sip with the sweets.
It was a stellar experience and worth every dollar. Naturally, we headed to Top Flr for one last drink. My favorite anglianico was no longer offered by the glass so I chose Easton zin, an old standby. I don’t remember much after that, but my hair smelled of cigarettes this morning.
With a wait list of 700, they will be doing a large scale event on May 1st in Piedmont Park to seat 200 guests.
Dinner Party Atlanta is a kickass experience. I wouldn’t expect anything less from the guys at Top Flr!