Saturday, March 3, 2012

CHSWFF: Nate Whiting, George Mendes, and Hugh Acheson at Tristan

Umami Wami!

Posted by Stephanie Barna on Sat, Mar 3, 2012 at 6:11 PM

The Friday night perfectly paired dinner at Tristan was an interesting compilation of chefs. First you have George Mendes of Aldea in New York, who is known for his Portugese flavors. Then you have Hugh Acheson, a Canadian-Southerner who cooks modern Southern fare. And their host chef is Nathan Whiting, who is a modern chef with five-star fine-dining experience. The melding of their three styles made for a fascinating and delicious food journey. Oh, and then there's Tristan pastry chef Amanee Neirouz, who is a star in her own right and ended the meal with what was essentially a dropped mic. Total rock star.

First up: cured foie gras from George Mendes. I had this same dish at the dinner he cooked at McCrady's with Sean Brock last month, and I have to say I was very happy to see it again. The little dots of pear? Best part.

Salt-cured cod from Mendes, a Portugese tradition. I found this dish to be really interesting. The fish was beautiful and salty.

After the amuse bouche, the next course was Nate Whiting's only one, and he really knocked it out of the park, slamming some serious flavors into his lobster and veal marrow agnolotti with pomelo cells and sea urchin and ginger espuma.

Hugh Acheson is a funny guy, and I thought his pea soup in a can totally reflected his personality. Looking at the menu, we wondered if it would be an interpretation or a play on a can of soup, but — no — it was pea soup in a fucking can. Funny. And quite delicious. It was topped with deviled ham meatballs and fried gnocchi.

A pretty plate of pork loin from Acheson, which was delicious but would have gone better with colder weather. For some reason, it was 80 degrees on Friday.

The pre-dessert was a bite of miso peanut butter and chocolate followed by a Meyer lemon curd with cardamom biscuit and aerated pistachio. Brilliant. It ended the night on a a wonderfully bright note.

As I tweeted my way through this dinner I remarked about how undersung a hero Nate Whiting is, to which my food critic Robert Moss replied: "That's what I've been saying for two years!" If you haven't been to Tristan in a while, I think you should get over there asap. I'm so glad I got there myself. The service, the setting, and the food were all excellent.

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