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Bonfire Chef's Tasting Menu


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Bonfire Chef's Tasting Menu

JBM | Apr 21, 2004 11:50 AM

Disclaimer: I am a casual acquaintance of the current Exec Chef at Bonfire, Chris Frothingham.

I heard that the folks at Bonfire were looking to create a Chef’s Table – one table that has one reservation per night and where the chef improvises the entire menu – so I decided to offer my friends and myself as guinea pigs. We went last night and were blown away by the whole experience. I’d strongly recommend it to anyone who likes this style of eating (ie. having the Chef make you what he thinks is best that day). The Chef told me that you can book the Chef’s Table by calling and asking to do a Chef’s Tasting at the Chef’s Table and they should know what you are talking about (this is a fairly new offering). I assume that they may balk at doing this on a busy weekend.

To start, the Chef came over and talked about what style of menu we wanted (ie. number of courses, etc) and whether we had any food allergies. After reviewing those parameters with me, the Chef went away and came back 20 minutes later with a freshly printed up, personalized tasting menu for my party. The five of us were seated in a quiet corner of the dining room, right next to the kitchen. Then the food started coming.

Amuse: Surf and Turf Tacos. Brown butter poached lobster with slivered almonds and black bean crema, served aside a charred skirt steak taco with chipotle aioli. -- This is the standard Bonfire taco fare. Yummy. Best bit was the contrast of black bean crema and the lobster.

First: Wood grilled pork tenderloin, saffron whipped potatoes, clams and basil vinaigrette. – Clam and pork. I certainly thought it was an unusual combo, though one of my tablemates did point out that seafood is often paired with bacon, so I guess this is the same thing. I thought it was great!

Second: Grilled west coast pistachio crusted halibut, pea puree, sunchoke chips, and red pepper coulis. – The consensus table favorite. The pistachio crust was inspired. The Red coulis added some nice heat.

Third: Pan-pressed duck breast, smoky bacon risotto, green peas, crispy oyster mushroom salad, black currant gastrique. – Possibly the second favorite dish. First bite was overwhelmingly smoky. However, it grew on your quickly and when you were able to get a bit of everything on the fork at once, the flavors really popped.

Fourth: Bonfire Churrasco: Gorgonzola cream, truffled potato cake, grilled tenderloin, shitake glaze, shower of cabrales cheese. – Ok, so I really don’t care for Gorgonzola. Just too powerful for me. I thought that the meat was lost in the cheese. One other person at the table agreed. The other three thought it was great.

Dessert: Sampling of Bonfire desserts including truffles, chocolate cake, carrot cake, passion fruit sorbet and other yummies that I’ve forgotten.

All in all, a very fun evening that I’d certainly consider repeating soon.

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