It was back in June when Matt McCallister announced that he and his crew would be headed to New York this September to cook at the famous James Beard House for a ticketed event. The FT33 chef posted his invitation letter to his Facebook page, and he talked briefly to me about the menu he was painstakingly putting together for the dinner.
McCallister noted the challenge of planning a meal months away. Back in June, tomatoes and summer vegetables were just coming into the height of their season, but in September the landscape would be very different. Not to mention he'd be cooking in New York, where fall approaches much more quickly. (Can you imagine?)
Late last week, McCallister's menu was released.
I recognize a lot of the items on the menu below. Some in spirit, and others more personally. Those uni pancakes got a gushing endorsement in Leslie Brenner's review of FT33 last year. She described them as "tender and velvety, and suffused with the extravagant flavor of the best sea urchin roe and a touch of chive." I never got to try those because they disappeared from the menu.
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The smoked potatoes have been a fixture since the restaurant open opened. They're tender, fingerlings, paired with maitake mushrooms that have been sauteed in herbs and butter. It's a solid signature plate that makes a nod to McCallister's tendency to forage for ingredients when he can.
Here's the rest of the menu:
Windy Hill Farm Goat Mortadella with Mustard and Cured Tomatoes on Potato Bread Uni Pancakes with Sea Lettuce, Yuzu, and Bonito Red Wattle Salumi Country Ham Fritters with Charred Oregano Garden Carrots
Vegetable Salad with Caprino Royale Chèvre, Verjus, and Sel Gris Smoked Potatoes with Maitake Mushrooms, Chile Kewpie Mayonnaise, Magic Springs Trout with Charred Vegetables and Chermoula Pork Jowl and Belly with Puffed Rice, Late Summer Harvest, and Green Tea Sweet Corn Panna Cotta with Feta and Basil
If you want to see the wine list paired with each dish check out the web page where you can also buy a ticket for $170 -- a number that might make you glad you live in Dallas. I've recently dined at FT33 and never paid anywhere near that per person to dine. This Beard event makes the Design District restaurant feel like a bargain.