Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010
Dinner Party Atlanta did it again, hosting a dinner for nearly 40 guests at the Atlanta Ballet’s new space on Marietta Boulevard. BB and I arrived just as DC was lighting candles, placing them strategically along the mirrored wall of a rehearsal studio.
Dramatic lighting set the stage for an eventful evening, but there was plenty of drama on our way to the venue. BB and his driver, Warren, picked me up after a frenzied day at work. After a few moments enroute I realized the ribbon ties on my dress were loose. Numerous attempts to tighten it produced the opposite result, finally proving futile as the ribbon was broken. I re-laced it in the dark and secured it at the shoulder by turning my head nearly backwards, Linda Blair style. Disaster averted!
I breathed a sigh of relief, rummaging through my bag for my powder compact. It wasn’t there. Sonofabitch. Pulling into the venue’s parking lot, Warren dropped us off and sprang into action, memorizing the brand and color of powder I needed, then delivering it tout de suite.
Greeted with a deceptively light rum cocktail, KC showed us the space. One long table ran the length of the dark room, set with a black tablecloth, white napkins, and lots of glasses sparkling in the candlelight. Across the hall a group of little girls danced their hearts out.
In a perfectly choreographed dance of food and wine, the meal began with a shot of bright yellow pepper soup. Suspended by a spear of asparagus above the liquid was a crispy crab beignet. A glass of Schloss Gobelsburg Brut Reserve from Austria started the wine service, expertly chosen by sommelier John Dirga.
The second course was a tuna-less Nicoise salad constructed of haricots verts, fingerling potatoes confit, organic lettuces, and a tiny hard boiled quail egg, the salad paired nicely with a crisp white from France.
Third, we were served a dish of chilled pickled Georgia shrimp topped with ribbons of cucumber and daikon radish. There was a drizzle of egglant-miso puree beneath the shrimp and a couple of cubes of watermelon, making it seem more like a Summer dish. As a cucumber hater I quickly removed the offensive bits and proceed to enjoy the huge shrimp and the garlic croustini that was served alongside. Some folks do not care for sweet wines, but I loved the German spatlese riesling paired with this course. Blame it on my heritage!
Chef Shane Devereux doesn’t produce generous servings, but rather concise compositions, each component playing its roll providing texture, color, flavor. The main course on October 29th was a perfect example. Venison loin was first marinated in black mission fig puree and sherry vinegar, then cooked to a deep scarlet rare. The result was exceedingly tender meat, sliced into thin medallions and placed on a brightly hued carrot puree, accented with crispy chanterelle mushrooms (OK, I thought it was onions but the menu said mushrooms) and the odd addition of crunchy granola. A dish fit for Fall and the only course that merited a red wine, a dry blend from France.
Dessert was a rustic seckle pear tart accompanied by a dollop of salted creme, a fantastic contrast. A dessert white from Portugal finished the show.
Not only did we enjoy an amazing meal prepared by chef Shane Devereux, we were all part of the culinary rat pack’s pilot for a new reality series on NBC. Filming was so discrete that diners may have been unaware that it was taking place.
Afterwards, we all headed to The Sound Table where Dam Funk tore it up! I danced off the entire meal and then some.