globalgourmand has been putting off reviewing the chef’s table dinners at The Dining Alternative because words can’t do them justice. “This is a holistic experience. It is the museum, the theatre, the restaurant, the church, and the bedroom all at once.”

The chef’s table events are held monthly at Chef Peter Ungár’s own home in Somerville (thus the address is not public until diners make reservations, $125 per person, which includes a wine pairing with each of five courses). The December chef’s table blew globalgourmand’s mind. “Shall I talk about the lighting? The silverware? Being able to watch Chef Peter Ungár and his team work in seemingly perfect harmony—the silent dance that occurs in his well organized little corner of a kitchen? Shall I talk about the fine company at my table? Where DOES one begin on an experience that lingers (months later) like a glowing dream?”

One could talk about the food, and globalgourmand does. The first course made him weak in the knees: olive oil confit pork belly with marrons glacés, quince with vanilla bean and thyme, and kumquat-glazed foie gras. “Yes, imagine sweet, silky, unctious pork fat layered with moist confit pork meat, brightened by piquant kumquat and grounded by creamy, earthy-sweet chestnut purée, foie, and tender quince. Yes, you can die and go to heaven now,” says globalgourmand.

The romance continued with the second course: Nova Scotia lobster and maitake tortelloni in lobster cognac: “It was a orgy of ocean and earth, with homemade pasta just toothsome enough to not get lost in the tryst.”

Next was white miso branzino (sea bass) steamed in sake, served on a plate garnished with squid ink and turnip coulis. “Everything more subtle and delicate here,” says globalgourmand. “You have to reach for each of the flavors, but they’re all there, and they all work. Perfectly.”

And so it went swooningly, through the persimmon sorbet, and the sous-vide bavette steak with fig molasses and ancho chile, and the kabocha squash and chèvre tartlet for dessert, followed by cheese, lavender chocolate truffles, rosewater meringue, and black cherry crisp. “No hesitation, and certainly no regrets. We’ll do it again soon. We might just do it every month if I can shift some dollars around in our budget,” says the wowed globalgourmet. “Make a reservation before this opportunity goes away. Things this good don’t last forever.”

The Dining Alternative
Address available upon making reservations

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