Happy Birthday to me!!!
To celebrate my birthday last night, we decided to try the new dining room at Bacchanalia. Anne Quatrano and Cliff Harrison create not only memorable food, but an equally memorable setting to enjoy it.
The new Quinones Room is a fantastic addition. Unlike the modern vibe of the upstairs dining area, the new room has a comfortable 'farmhouse chic' feel. The private dining room consists of a single long table that seats 20 in homey looking spindle-backed chairs. The main dining room only had a dozen or so tables itself, but the country feel is traded for a slightly more elegant approach. The coffered ceiling is punctuated with understated chandeliers and walls are covered with tarnished mirrors that reflect just the right amount of light. The tablescapes are simple and classy: white linen overlays with a single shaded candle in the center.
The service is impeccable. One of our dining companions was particularly enamoured with the small stools provided for our purses.
And while all of this made the evening enjoyable, the star of the show was the food. While the main dining room menu is a prix fix 4 course meal with numerous choices, the Quinones Room offers a set tasting menu of 8 courses, not including the chef's amuse-bouche. Here's what we ate:
* Sipping cup of cold Summer Squash Soup, Fried Okra stuffed with Crab, and Marinated Beets
* Slow poached Quail Egg in Tomato Consomme with Black Summer Truffle
* Hawaiian Ahi Crudo with Local Summer Beans and Ginger-Lime Vinaigrette OR Seared Foie Gras with Roasted Local Celeste Fig and Port Reduction
*Maine Diver Scallop in Sweet Onion Milk
*Summer Corn Ravioli with Georgia Mountain Chanterelles
* Roasted Rack of Lamb with Eggplant Confit
*Taleggio with Toasted Hazelnuts and Savannah Tupelo Honeycomb
*Roasted Georgia Peach wtih Chamomile Ice Cream
*Spanish Artisanal Chocolate Tart with Chocolate Mint Ice Milk
Are you hungry yet?!?!?! Everything was outstanding, but there were some really extra-special moments. The foie gras and lamb were sublime. It was the biggest serving of foie gras I have ever seen, and the fig created a great combo. The Ravioli was perhaps the standout of the evening. The slice of Reggiano with the chanterelles was a beautiful foil to the corn souffle filling of the ravioli. It was summer in a bowl.
The chocolate tart prompted my husband to proclaim that it was so rich it was going to "bump us into the next tax bracket". The sea salt sprinkled on top was ingenious.
And, last but not least, we swooned over the madeleines. They were warm and lemony and I could have eaten a whole plate.
At $95 a person, I don't know if we'll be visiting the Quinones Room often. But a meal this special is best enjoyed sparingly, I think. We will return, and I am sure that it will be another spectacular experience.