Having previously savored the tastes of Chef David Santos cuisine, it did not take a second thought when we confirmed our seats for his Ode to the Oyster dinner held this past Friday night. Hosted by City Grit, a collaboration of Food&Wine Magazine’s Sarah Simmons and Jeremie Kittredge, it is the newest form of private dining. Similar to the more notorious pop up dinners, and under ground food ventures alike, City Grit stands out as a Culinary Salon. It is the ultimate palate enhancer and educator, as dinners congregate in an eclectic Noho space to enjoy the creations of well known chefs, emerging ones, and Sarah Simmons herself.
The ever changing space is assembled to fit the appetite of each coinciding meal, always maneuvered and rearranged. With each seed planted to awaken the diner’s intrigue, we were more than curious as we took seat in the dimly lit and inviting room.
With a selection of wines available for purchase, the meal is a pre-actualized tasting menu conceptualized around a particular ingredient or theme. Our oyster was about to about to take center stage as Chef Santos put a portuguese spin on it.
The first course, An Elderflower Cured Sea Trout with an Absinth Oyster Gel, was just the right amount of flavor to turn our palate engines on. The liquorish taste of the absinth was not a miss among the more delicate flavors of the trout and elderflower. The second course, a selection of three oysters on the half shell accompanied by a selection of three mignonettes, were special and in fact rare. Deep Water Welfleets, they were very dense given their wild harvesting. The next course, a Pickled Oyster and Pork Belly Salad with an onion fondue, was like the middle of a really great book. A plot thickener, the flavors were so amazing, we could not turn the pages fast enough to see what would follow next. To no disappointment, the fourth course, an Oyster Stew, was so refined, and interesting, it was a shame there was no bread to soak up the last few drops. And the fourth savory bite, an Oyster Po Boy with Portuguese Potatoes, had all the elements of perfect execution. It was not greasy, it was crispy, the oyster held onto its flavor, and the potatoes, as a simple side, blew any typical fries out of the window.
Our delectable fairytale had a very happy ending, as we bit into the sweet and salty oyster cracker New York Cheesecake.
We look forward to relish in the future culinary experiences that City Grit has to offer.
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