Anthony Van Camp, the bright executive chef of Sēr, is still fiddling with the menu he’ll be presenting to the public when the Hilton Anatole’s newest steakhouse opens on October 1. So far, construction is well underway and the insides of what was once Nana, Anthony Bombaci’s domain, is now gutted, stripped, torn, and shredded. The wall between the bar and dining area is torn down, so the space for the steakhouse is more airy and open. Don’t worry, though, the 27th floor will be built back up in no time, and Sēr is bound to win people over with Van Camp’s menu despite its funny name. Last night, Desiree and I were invited to the third and final tasting where we tried items that could potentially end up being Sēr’s bar food.
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What cocktail you should get pumped about: Des wasn’t too excited about accidentally sipping the Black Maine cocktail (she’s vegetarian) with bacon fat washed Jim Beam and maple syrup, but I liked it in spite of its bacon fat properties. It was strong, sweet, and still felt light on the tongue at the same time. Must be all that bourbon whiskey.
The meats: We tried a wagyu burger, Berkshire pork chop, and Colorado rack of lamb for the protein section of the menu. The lamb probably stood out the most, even though it was the last of the three and I barely had enough room in my stomach to squeeze it in. The portion was large (of course), perfectly pink in the middle, and the lamb was succulent and easy to cut with even a dull knife. Lamb fans, look forward to this dish.
Desserts: Out of the three desserts (Valrhona truffle cake, lemon pie, and cheesecake panna cotta), the cheesecake panna cotta won, hands down. Thomas Welther, the Executive Chef of Hilton Anatole, gave Van Camp an interesting challenge to make a unique cheesecake. Van Camp surprised Welther by freezing panna cotta cheesecake at -270 degrees, then breaking up the frozen cake into bite-size round bits. The result? A cheesecake that doesn’t look like your normal slice of cake, decorated with pomegranates and mint leaves. It was a great finish – more cheese-like than cake-like in quality – to a very heavy, protein-filled meal.