Friday, July 9, 2010
You know that saying- "Don't judge a book by it's cover"? Well I learned that lesson, again, last night. A few weeks ago a friend of mine invited me, and Katie from The Small Boston Kitchen, to a private menu tasting at District Boston. Now, I have always know of District, located in the Leather District of Boston, as more of a night club atmosphere than a dining destination. I have known countless friends who have celebrated their birthday's there, but always after eating elsewhere. I was intrigued to see what was on their menu, and excited to taste it. What we were presented with last evening was more than I ever could have imagined, and I must "tip my hat" to Executive Chef Daron Goldstein who is creating some fantastic dishes over there!
He started our evening off with an amuse bouche of goat cheese spread on a toasted crostini, with sliced green apple, and then drizzled with rosemary honey. I am absolutely a lover of rosemary, and loved the combination of its hearty flavor with the light sweetness of the honey. Combined with the tangy goat cheese, and the tart apple- this was a really lovely combination of flavors. I thought it was the perfect start to our meal as a light bite with an explosion of flavors.
Our first course was a puree of white corn soup served with a beautiful lobster claw, a chunk of chorizo, and lovely heirloom tomatoes. The soup was utterly fantastic. A perfect bowl of sweet corn goodness- with incredibly pure flavor. Honestly, I don't think that I have ever had a corn soup with as much corn flavor, and it was an utter treat. Though I would have been more than happy to have consumed this bowl of soup without the accompaniments, the lobster was a wonderful light addition, and the chorizo was fun and spicy.
The second course was a beautiful and summery watermelon salad, which displayed lovely cubes of watermelon paired with cubes of sheep's milk feta, on top of arugula, drizzled with a 25 year old Balsamic, and accented with crisp pancetta. Oh my goodness! Now I am not a watermelon fan normally, and am just this year learning to really celebrate it, however this pairing was wonderful! The watermelon was so juicy and sweet, and combined with the salty feta, and the peppery/spicy arugula it was a flavor combination not to be missed. Of course the aged Balsamic didn't hurt with it's rich undertones and delicious notes. The crisp pancetta was another perfect accent-adding a great texture variation.
Next we were served Tuna Carpaccio, topped with Blue Crab salad, a Sesame Seed Tuille, Ostera caviar and orange wedges. Around the perimeter, chef Goldstein added a spicy aioli to finish off the dish. This was a beautiful presentation with, again, a great combination of flavors and textures. The tuna was nicely under seasoned which made it the perfect vehicle for the salty caviar, and the spicy aioli. The Blue Crab salad was robust and almost hearty in its flavors, and paired beautifully with the citrus y orange wedges. Finally, I must mention, those Sesame Tuilles which were gorgeous pressed cracker like compliments, perfectly formed in the shape of playful spoons. They were delicious to eat alone, or with a delicate piece of tuna carpaccio.
After the lightness of the first three courses, we began to dive into the richer plates. The fourth course led off with Hudson Valley foie gras, accented by toasts and a sun dried cherry compote. Oh my word. If you've indulged in foie gras you know that it is incredibly rich, and can be likened to eating butter-delicious, velvety, rich butter. So if you can picture that much in decadence, add in the amazing sweet tart properties of sun dried cherries and the piece is perfection. the lovely flavors of the cherry compote set off all of the deep flavor of the foie gras and it was utterly tasty. The toasts had also been lightly salted, so when enjoyed with the other pieces of the dish the flavors melded together into a perfect taste.
Our final course was a beautiful piece of Filet Mignon topped with a piece of melted Tallegio cheese and then accented with a summer mushroom, corn and heirloom tomato salad. As full as I was, this was not a dish to be missed. The Filet was perfectly cooked to a medium rare, with wonderful flavor that was not covered over, but more just enhanced with the subtle cheese. The light pairing with the salad gave the dish a perfect ying and yang appeal of heavy with light, indulgent with guilt free. I could not stop eating this dish, or talking about it the whole way home.
Walking in to District last night I did not know what to expect. Walking out of District a few hours later, I was delightfully full of the most wonderful food I could have had that evening with incredibly thoughtful and creative combinations, perfect visuals, and delicious flavors. Each item was perfectly cooked, and each dish stood strongly on its own.
I urge you, the next time you decide to head out to District for a night on the town, head there a bit earlier and eat some dinner first! Their regular menu is designed tapas style, and has some great options to check out!
Thank you Chef Goldstein, and Bouff for a terrific evening!
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