Fairview Dining Room Spring 2013 Media Lunch
Another spring, another media lunch preview of the new menus at the Washington Duke Inn! This was the third time I’d been invited, and getting these views into Chef Jason Cunningham’s dishes is always quite fun and delicious. In addition to a free lunch, we were gifted with whisks from Best Manufacturers, who are apparently the only company that makes whisks in America.
Who knew I’d learn that little detail this afternoon? Not me, but I was certain a good meal was in store. Let’s dig in!
Each course was named after a different spring flower, and the first was Daffodil, presenting a panna cotta of Goat Lady Dairy black truffle chevre with crispy sunchoke slices, a niçoise olive, a sorrel butter crouton, and sweet dill gherkins cured in house.
All the crunch in combination with the soft cheese made for a fun dish texturally. The flavor of the sunchoke when fried was remarkable. The toast and the gherkin could have both been crisper, and I’d lose the olive, though that’s no fault of the kitchen. I’m always in favor of losing the olives.
Course Dogwood came next with a duo of appetizers: house-cured bacon wrapped around NC shrimp and served over a scallop soufflé, micro celery, and roasted yellow pepper puree and a salad of Cottle Farms kale with cannellini beans, roasted fennel, red cabbage, and lemon dressing.
I think the omnipresence of kale salads is proof us Americans have embraced tougher, bitterer greens. This is a pretty good option for the new kale lovers out there. Those were the most unique kale leaves I’ve seen served, and they were very approachable due to being young and tender. The beans’ creamy quality balanced the strong kale, fennel, and cabbage flavors. If the dressing had more lemon, and therefore more presence, it would have been a fabulous salad.by