This weekend I was invited to a fancy dinner party prepared by my Chef friend, Chris Sayegh, and hosted by the gracious Chase Hallerberg, who’s tasteful decor and charming demeanor created a very enjoyable evening. Both men put in a lot of hard work and effort to bring together their first (of many!) dinner clubs, and the experience was unforgettable! After salivating over every dish he created through his social media presence, I was eager to experience the meal, but had no expectations as to what it would entail.
Following the invitation’s instructions to wear an ‘LBD’ (little black dress), we arrived at the swanky Portrero Hill apartment to be greeted at the door with a thin sliver of a champagne flute and a roof filled with all elegantly dressed mid twenty year olds. After a bit of mingling and buzzing off of gin & tonic’s prepared by a waitress on the rooftop, we headed inside to begin our six course meal.
1 Hamachi, Uni, and Ikura on top of a Lemon Geleé with Radish and Micro Greens
The tanginess of the lemon perfectly offset the saltiness from the fresh fish, and being the sushi-lover that I am, I was already hooked after two bites.
2 Romaine Wedge topped with Caesar Dressing, Pine Nuts, and Italian imported Parmesan Cheese, served with a Basil Crostini and Heirloom Tomatoes
The rainbow of colors on this plate, and the Italian theme of the flavors created a well-balanced and hearty twist as a salad.
3 Hand Rolled Gnocchi with Curry flavoring paired with a Pesto Cream Sauce, Squash, Chinese Green Beans, and Shiitake Mushrooms
The gnocchi, which felt like a soft breadstick, had the right amount of saltiness and a unique flavor from the curry seasoning that it was baked in. The entire dish came together with the richness of basil filled pesto, which was the best pesto I’ve ever tasted (and yes I have been to Italy!) . People around me were scraping the pesto off of the plate with their fingers after they had enjoyed the gnocchi and fresh vegetables that accompanied this Italian dish.
4 Tender Scallops on a bed of Lentils and Bacon, topped with Apricot Compote
Let me preface this by saying that I absolutely hate bacon – crazy, I know. I can’t stand the smell of bacon, the taste, the heart-attack inducing fat that bubbles around it’s crispy edges. This dish, however, combined chunks of bacon, bacon fat, and lentils into a dish that even I couldn’t resist. The lentils, eaten with the tenderest scallions and sweet apricot compote created a mind-blowing mixture of flavors – sweet, salty, and fatty all at once. The apricot gastrique spread aside the scallops contained a slight tinge of heat, which added some spice to the party that was already happening in my mouth.
5 Filet Mignon with Mashed Potatoes (Wasabi, Saffron, Beets, and Black Garlic) in an Oxtail Red Wine Reduction
Of course this was the course that everyone was waiting for – a classic meat and potatoes dish, but with an incredible twist of flavors and colors. The filet was cooked to perfection and soaked in an Oxtail Red Wine Reduction that I could not stop dipping everything in! Each of the mashed potatoes had a unique flavor which all paired with the filet and sauce. The wasabi was my favorite – a nice tie in with the first course of sashimi, but also an elaborate twist to the tradition of meat of potatoes. The black garlic, which I had never tried, was sweet and not too heavy of a garlic flavor, so it didn’t overpower the meat, sauce, or other potatoes.
5.5 Greek Yogurt with Orange Blossom Honey
To cleanse the palette!
6 Roasted Peach Tart with Peach Ice Cream
While the serving of the last course meant the end of a fabulous meal, I could not have been left with a better lasting impression than the one from this peachy dessert. The tarts were still warm from being fresh out of the oven, and easily sliced through to reveal the inner pocket of cinnamon-y, roasted peaches. Despite the small hiccup of a broken freezer, which caused the ice cream to melt pre-maturely, the dessert could not have complimented the meal any better! Smothered in this homemade peach ice cream, my palette was both pleased and delighted from the sweetness that wrapped up this heavenly meal.
This meal and this night could not have gone any better, and I am looking forward to experiencing more of Chris’s fine dining in the future! I would definitely give this meal 5 stars for its top tastes and quality that rivals even the finest of restaurants! Follow him @theherbalchef to get a taste of his exquisite cuisine, and look out for his next dinner party!
Many thanks to Chase Hallerberg for hosting and creating such a wonderful evening!