Last night Chef Matt McCallister took over part of the kitchen at his buddy, Abraham Salum’s, restaurant Salum to create a decadent, inspired and incredibly playful dinner for 12 lucky diners. Chef Abraham had originally intended to cook beside Chef Matt, but his ever buzzing Komali next door kept him busy most of the night, just popping in here and there to grab a bite of the delicacies created in the 10-course tasting menu (plus a fantastic amuse to wake up the palate). The dinner, though playful, was a nod to creativity in cooking and embracing modern techniques, with an immersion circulator and and some sort of molecular gastronomy used in almost every dish.
Highlights for the dinner included the above mentioned amuse of an encapsulated strawberry mojito with shaved foie gras that burst in your mouth when you ate it. A play on beer cheese soup with a cauliflower panna cotta with ale and white truffle, topped table-side with cheddar consomme. My favorite was a beet cured salmon with a horseradish smear, citrus, fresh dill and caviar.
Fried chili salt octopus and squid with a 5 minute farm egg, still nice and gooey inside, topped with a brandade foam. Baby Back Ribs were braised, fried and broiled with a sweet tamarind sauce. Sweetbreads were light and airy, fried to a fluffy perfection with sunchoke-barigoule, red-pepper and bacon powder made with bacon fat and tapioca powder. Hearty root beer short ribs were served with creamy vanilla lemon potatoes, giving just enough citrus to cut through the richness of the meat.
Dessert included Brioche French toast with brulee bananas with vanilla-rum ice cream coated with bacon brittle and sinful dark chocolate panna cotta with outstanding malt ice cream. Too much fun and food in one night, and one to celebrate the joy of getting in the kitchen and playing.