We were lucky enough to be invited by local Chef Jeff Jarrett to partake in his six course spring fling event a couple weeks back. It was a dinner with a surprise. The surprise was Chef Jeff wasn’t doing the cooking. He wanted to showcase the fact that the talent in his kitchen ran deep. It was a chance for his staff to shine and bring their A-game. The second surprise of the night was this was the event that I decided it was a good idea to test out my new Lytro camera. Let’s just say the Lytro is the worst camera known to mankind and you won’t get to see any of my photos because they were so horrific I would be embarrassed to post them. Fear not though because at the table with me was the master food photographer Tom Noe. You can see his amazing photo spread right here:
So I got the chance to actually hang out with and have dinner with Chef Jeff, and he’s a cool dude. We didn’t have to talk about food the whole time either. It was like hanging out with a buddy having an awesome dinner. After the one and only Chef Jeff dish, an amuse bouche, came to the table it was game on. It was an amazing pork croquette, simple flavors, amazing starter. The first course was Venison Chow Chow, Lavender Cotton Candy prepared by Matt Barker. Honestly it was a very substantial starting point; rare thin sliced venison with a small microgreens salad and champagne vinegar chow chow. The cotton candy didn’t work out so well for Matt unfortunately but it really wouldn’t have added much more to the flavor profiles.
The second course was prepared by Chris Stubner and one of my favorites because of my Polish roots. It was a Lentil Pierogi with Benton’s Bacon, fresh peas served over a sweet Caramelized Onion Jus. The lentils spiked with the bacon flavor were amazing. The jus in private I would have licked the plate. The peas added a freshness you wouldn’t normally associate with a fried dish.
Gina Burkhalter presented a salad for the third course. I wasn’t expecting this to knock my socks off, but it did. It was a nice light contrast to the fried pierogi served before it. The greens used were shredded Brussels Sprouts which gave it a unique taste as well as a more crunchy consistency. Over top of the sprouts were fantastic pickled blueberries, creamy feta, pecans, and drizzled with an orange rosemary vinaigrette. The sweet and savory profiles of this were out of this world. This is one of those salads you would love to make yourself on a hot summer day.
Myron Blackman’s fourth course was the one I was really looking forward to. It was Wolf Fish. I have never had Wolf Fish before but was super interested in it because, man is that one ugly fish in the deep. It was light, flaky and crisp. It was cooked to perfection. One of the best fish dishes I ever had. It was served with asparagus, radish and with a pernod beuree blanc. Nothing beats the taste of a nice light fish like this. Myron really knocked it out of the park with this dish.
Ross Cline’s “Porked: Three Ways” was interesting. I really enjoyed his take on the ham and eggs, but it was a bit on the salty side for me. The egg was amazing and the pork was melt in your mouth texture but man the salt. The second offering was a pulled pork deconstructed Reuben sandwich, and I loved that. The third offering was pork face? I am blurry here if that was what it was but I think that was it. I am not a very picky eater but it wasn’t very pretty and just too fatty for me. Served with bread I would have slathered it like butter but as a standalone it scared me just looking at it.
The final course was a Banana Pudding from Ameer Pettit. It tasted awesome and was a great closer, but it kind of looked like a splotch of Bertman’s Mustard on this super long plate. I give a total “A” for flavor here though in defense of the pudding even though the presentation was a bit off.
This was an amazing dinner and really did what it intended to do. It showed AMP 150 has some amazing talent. This staff is super creative. No one really went with a “safe” dish. Everyone had very balanced dishes and outside of a couple flaws in execution these guys and gals are pretty amazing.