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Friday, October 11, 2013


You know it's fine dining when you don't even get a normal menu so I had a feeling I was in for a treat when we were handed a 4-course tasting menu at McCrady's.  At $65 per person, it's an indulgence, but we were on vacay so...what the hey!

The entrance to the landmarked tavern is in an alleyway and upon entry it's brick brick brick.  It looks like the kind of place revolutionaries sat drinking ale.  The atmosphere is anything but modern, which puts it more on the cozy side of the spectrum.  And since we were inching towards the Fall season, cozy was perfect.

Albert and I made a deal to order together with no repeats.  That way, with 4 choices for each course, we could try 8 of the 16 menu items.  It's not often I get to go to such a nice restaurant, especially not one that boosted its chef to James Beard Award status, so I wanted to make the most of it and taste as much as possible.

For course #1 we ordered the heirloom tomato salad.  It looked quite boring on the menu, but after the waitress talked it up we had to order it.  Glad we did because it was one of my two favorites of the night.  There was a thick buttermilk foam and some infused oil.  It was not nearly as simple as the menu description, but the taste itself was clean.  We also ordered the scallops with mushrooms and found them to be grilled to perfection.  The next course was the fish.  We got one trout and one snapper and landed on opposite teams as to which was better.  I would have to say the snapper with fennel and scuppernongs was the other of the two best dishes, but Albert would tell you that the trout with polenta and vegetables was better.  The meat course was a duo of pork with butterbeans and lamb that was wonderful but I can't remember its accompaniments.  I was too focused on eating it.  My mistake.  Albert's not a sweets guy so he wanted a cheese plate for dessert.  No argument here since cheese plates are my fave.  I particularly like the raspberry with black pepper sauce that went with one of them.  I ordered the frozen pear parfait and I'm pretty sure it was the best dessert at the table.  I've never had farro in a dessert (I haven't had it that much, period) but the crispy farro on top was like a nouveau granola.  It was like a panna cotta on top of chopped pears.  It was light and not too sweet.  Since I'm not a chocoholic, those are two qualities I look for in a dessert.

A meal like this is not one you can have all too often.  With four courses and a hefty price tag (particularly if you're drinking), it would be excessive if you ate like this every week.  But that's exactly what makes it special.

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