Eat

Monday, January 10, 2011

Eating Out: The magic of McCrady's

A special occasion dinner without the occasion

Posted by Stephanie Barna on Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 2:15 PM

On Friday, without an intern to rely on, I spent the afternoon contacting chefs around town to find out what was on the specials menu for our weekly Eat This Tonight feature. It's really a bad idea for me to do such a thing. I'm far too easily swayed. A few text messages swapped with McCrady's Chef Sean Brock and I was already considering changing out of my pajamas (I work from home on Fridays) and heading downtown for a decadent plate of truffles and eggs. I had almost talked myself out of going when I showed my husband a picture of the dish, and he said, "Let's go!" So we went. And we had a blast. McCrady's is delicious entertainment, as you'll see from these pictures. We ended up crafting — with the help of Brock — our own customized tasting menu. And boy, was it good.

First up were some bar snacks. The fried grouper bites come blazing hot with a dusting of vinegar powder and are like a haute version of fish and chips. Quite enchanting.

Grouper bites
  • Grouper bites

This next bar snack is kind of like KFC's Double Down, but with fried green tomatoes as the bread and some sort of delicious pork treat as the meat. Brock described it to me pretty well, but I have a tendency to glaze over and start smacking my lips as he talks, so I don't always absorb the information. As he talked, I just knew I had to eat it.

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Coming up next was the dish that had enticed us — scrambled eggs with truffles. We asked Sommelier Clint Sloan for a wine pairing, challenging him to find something that plays well with eggs. He decided to let us decide the best pairing, pouring a champagne, a valpolicella, and a pinot noir.

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Truffles shaved at the table. I had the white alba truffles from Italy.

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He had the black truffles from France.

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For the record, I thought the champagne went best with the black truffles and the pinot noir best with the white truffles. My date thought the exact opposite.

My next course was crispy sweetbreads.

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I'm not even sure what my husband's course consisted of beyond the pile of smoking hay that Brock doused with liquid nitrogen.

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The smell of the hay infuses your senses as you eat the food. It's a fun spectacle.

The next course was the one I geeked out on the most: beef belly and kimchi with farro treated like fried rice. Mind blowingly delicious. I could have eaten a lot more of this.

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First dessert: a mound of white chocolate with a dollop of marshmallow fluff in the middle.

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Final bite: a dessert dish that Brock said was inspired by cream of wheat. It was essentially creamy farro with a drizzle of a vinegary syrup. Interesting, wintry, and comforting.

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With that, we ordered more desserts to take home to the kids and we left McCrady's with big smiles on our faces, glad we had spontaneously decided to treat ourselves to an impromptu special occasion type of evening.

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