The Supper Club: Dundee Progressive Dinner
Publisher’s Note: Omega Omega Omega (Tri Omega), the culinary fraternity at the Institute for the Culinary Arts at Metropolitan Community College, strives to provide students with opportunities to apply and develop their skills through unique experiences. One of these experiences is the Supper Club. The Supper Club selects a restaurant once a quarter and works with the chef of the restaurant to provide a unique dining experience to challenge the palate and minds of the students with the unique ingredients and techniques found in that chef’s kitchen. The article and photography for this article are also done by students.
This trip for the Supper Club took the students to historic Dundee to sample three well-established restaurants. 36 students were divided into three groups to take part in a progressive dinner. The participating restaurants were Pitch Pizzeria, Avoli Osteria and Dario’s Brasserie.
The group met at Dundee Dell to form smaller groups and head out to the first experience. Each restaurant was asked to make a four course dinner. One group would have an appetizer, a different group would experience the second course, and the last group would enjoy an entrée course and dessert. Then they would rotate.
The first location was Pitch Pizzeria at 5021 Underwood Ave., a louder, lively place that was inviting and had warm smells of crusty bread and cheese wafting over the tables. The décor and set up reminded a few members of a Manhattan loft.
The first course was a paper-thin raw beet salad with arugula, capers and grapefruit supremes. The salad was dressed with a creamy aioli and red wine vinaigrette and topped with a shaved egg. The capers provide the perfect counterbalance to the earthy beets, and the citrus from the grapefruit melded well with the vinaigrette. On the side was a thick cut crostini, with mozzarella browned on top; it was used to clean up the remaining dressing and it was a lovely, savory ending that made you look forward to the next course.
The second course was the pizza of the week: tomato, shrimp, chili oil and artichoke heart. Once the pizza landed people were nothing but amazed. The pizza was paired with clean peppery sangria that was very refreshing.
The third course was braised pork belly with butternut squash gnocchi, fennel and molasses sauce. The meat melted in your mouth, and had the perfect amount of smoke. The gnocchi and fennel added interest to the dish and helped to elevate the pork belly even more.
The final course was a tiramisu presented in a martini glass. The subtle flavor was well received.
The second stop was Avoli Osteria, at 5013 Underwood Ave, which offered the best combination of locally grown ingredients and internationally renowned favorites. The establishment is like eating at a fancy Italian grandmother’s house with mismatched china, paintings and furniture. The grand chandelier lighting fixtures set a very intimate mood for the meal. Each course was started with information about how northern Italian meals are served and what to expect from the meal that evening.
The first course was an antipasti platter that consisted of a Carpaccio of cold smoked beef tenderloin, salumi, buffalo milk cheese, gorgonzola picante, soft ripened goat cheese, grilled ciabatta, strawberry jam, cherry tomatoes, mustard, and celery seed aioli. The members enjoyed all the various combinations made from the platter but the most loved was the strawberry jam with the salumi.
The second course was locally grown squash ravioli, in sage brown butter, pumpkin seeds and 24 month aged Parmissiano Reggiano cheese grated on top. The wine paired with the meal was Inama Soave Classico. It was drier, with a crisp grapefruit flavor, and the acid cut the sage butter wonderfully, and provided an earthiness to the pumpkin seeds. The ravioli were savory, sweet, smooth, and buttery, with hints of sea salt. The delicate pasta, once bit into, released gently spiced squash that reminded some of pumpkin pie.
The third course was slightly delayed so the members were given a small plate of paper-thin prosciutto with pickled vegetables and toasted bread. This simple dish changed the minds of a few people who thought prosciutto was stringy, but were delightfully surprised to realize that was not the case with this dish. The main dish was braised short ribs, flank steak, potato puree with carrots and onions. The short ribs were very soft and melt in your mouth amazing with smells that got to the table before the plate did. To go alongside it was a potato puree that was divine. Overall the seasoning was impeccable.
The final course was a very thin deconstructed tiramisu. It had the perfect gelato and a sustaining pannicotta that was a lovely note to end on.
The final stop was Dario’s Brasserie at 4920 Underwood Ave., a smaller inviting space, with touches like mismatched chairs and golden framed mirrors that make it feel like an old-school Parisian neighborhood restaurant.
The first course was mussels served in browned butter and piave cheese. This dish was paired with tripel karmeliet – a light, summery beer. The crusty and salty cheese nicely balanced out the mussels. Many people had not experienced mussels before and look forward to having that dish again. They were also served with Belgian pommes frites that were hot, thick, crunchy, soft, golden brown and perfectly paired with an herb mayo.
The second course was a buckwheat crepe filled with sous vide pork shoulder and potato puree, topped with pickled red cabbage; a beautiful plate to see and consume. The perfectly tender pork flavor was balanced out with the sour cabbage. The sweet and savory flavors of the homey and delicious dish were well paired with a Normandy Apple Cider that provided a fresh, clean taste and finish to the dish.
The third course was Carbonada a la Fiomande, which was beef chuck marinated in beer overnight, then braised five to six hours with caramelized onions, nutmeg and tomato paste. The chuck was served in bite size pieces over a roasted carrot purée that was both earthy and sweet. Traditionally this dish is served with prunes but Chef de Cuisine Patrick Micheels said he preferred how tart cherries worked with the dish. The cherries were a welcomed and unexpected burst of sweet tart brightness that balanced out the hearty braised savory flavor. The dish was topped with a sorrel salad with olive oil. The meal was well paired with a Houblen Chouffe IPA that helped to bring out the beer flavor in the meat. To help get every bite, a white cheddar gougère filled with a goat cheese mousse was served. It was the perfect thing to get every bit of puree and beef drippings out of the plate.
The final course was variations of chocolate to just nibble and enjoy—super cold chocolate sorbet, creamy smooth chocolate mousse that countered crisp shortbread crumble and sweet clear caramel, with a darker bitter side of the chocolate cake, simple straight forward chocolate. This dessert is something to look forward to on the upcoming summer menu. Dario himself came out at the end and added a final note: sweet rice cakes in dry ice; if you eat them fast enough, you look like a dragon.
The overall experience was an eye opener to the wonderful offerings that are all within a few blocks. Tri Omega members went home stuffed and inspired, and send a huge thank you to the chefs, owners, servers and everyone who contributed to the awesome evening.
Baily is currently a culinary student at MCC. She love food, science, and feeding people!
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