What happens when you put a shepherd, an oyster farmer, a mixologist & a top chef in one kitchen?
They create a six course tasting menu that makes you wonder why you haven’t paired lamb with clams before.
So today I’m talking about my JBF Lambs & Clams Dining Experience
- INDOOR: Chefs Graeme Richie of Volt & Dylan Fultineer of Rappahannock created five exceptional pass hor d’oeurves in the kitchen, while Mixologist Derek Brown & his team served two signature cocktails from the Greenhouse
- OUTDOOR: Oysterman Travis Croxton prepared a delicious raw bar featuring oysters, clams, salsas and a lamb tartare (until it started pouring rain)
When cocktail hour finished at 7:45pm, I had the honor of sitting downstairs in the Greenhouse at the Chefs Table.
The table was set for 12, but there were 3 seats left vacant for the featured hosts (who typically spend a majority of the night walking around table-to-table to introduce themselves to the guests).
Luckily for me, I was able to meet a new set of faces as each course arrived!
So take a look at the dishes below to see who I met and what I learned about them upon their arrival!
- 1st Course: Sea Scallop in its Shell with Roe
When I asked her how she got into the industry, she told me she was studying to be a lawyer and decided that life wasn’t for her. Sound familiar to you?
Instead she became a housewife, fell in love with her new community, and decided to open a bar/restaurant. When she was searching for a Chef, she contacted Bryan Voltaggio (before he became a Top Chef celebrity) and created a partnership based on the fact that they grew up in the same hometown.
- 2nd Course: Orechiette Pasta with Lambs Tongue
Why? Well, once Craig started getting serious about raising animals on his farm (as a way to cope with retirement), Craig started to sell his products to Hilda and Bryan for Volt Restaurant. Now he’s a renown shepherd and has Al Roaker on his speed dial.
- 3rd Course: Lambs and Clams – Merguez Sausage and Steamed Clams with Sofrito, Heirloom Beans, Cavolo Nero, and Amontillado Sherry
Fun Fact! The Lambs and Clams dish is a hearty meal made with ground lamb and a tomato paste sauce. They currently sell the original dish at a farmers market in Washington DC, but for this dinner, Chef Dylan Fultineer decided to substitute the ground lamb with a merguez sausage to make it more delicate due to the amount of courses. Can you say #genius?
- 4th Course: Lamb Loin with Ramp Leaf Pesto
I knew to expect delicious lamb from Craig, but I didn’t expect sweet and smoky flavors cooked to perfection. This course was created by Bryan Voltaggio and prepared by his Chef du Cuisine Graeme Richie.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to meet Chef Bryan (due to an emergency in DC), but I did get a chance to speak with Chef Graeme, who described some of the flavors in his dishes before he started plating!
- Dessert: Chocolate, Honey, and Caramel Textures
Known for his cocktails in the DC area, I cannot wait to visit Chantal and Derek at their newest bar, Mockingbird (which will be opening soon)!
I could not have asked for better food or company at the House. I dined incredibly well. Some of my JBF colleagues mentioned that they were going to pace themselves throughout the meal, but I had no intention of restraining myself. The wine flowed, the lamb was to die for, and the clams were practically fresh out of the ocean.
Well done Lambs and Clams crew! I’m looking forward to Lambstock 2013!