Tuesday, August 13, 2013

McCrady's Tasting Menu {Charleston!}

We ate so much amazing food on our recent trip to Charleston, but one dinner deserves special mention. On Friday we treated ourselves to the tasting menu at McCrady's, one of Sean Brock's two amazing eateries.  McCrady's focuses on hyper-local ingredients and lots of in-house preparations. 

We started with three snacks.  The first was house cured coppa. The second was puffed Carolina Gold rice topped with kimchi. The rice crisp seriously tasted like a pork rind. Amazing! 


The last little snack was mind-blowing. A shrimp and Sea Island red pea fritter. Just one tiny bite, the blend of textures and flavors were awesome! Except I totally scalded my mouth.



The snacks were served with a champagne cocktail. I got really nervous because the cocktail was served in a full glass -- but luckily the tastes of wine served with the dishes were only 2-3 ounces. Otherwise, I would have needed a wheelbarrow to get out of there! 



The first course was basically potatoes and house-made fermented buttermilk. The fermentation made it taste almost like blue cheese. Underneath the crispy fried potatoes, there were also some slow-cooked potato coins. This dish was comforting and home-y, but the wine pairing was insane! It was an unfiltered sake that looked like chunky milk and tasted like over-ripe cantaloupe. It was so gross. I found myself inadvertently comparing it to breast milk (which I have never tasted). 


The next course was a clams and zucchini with a tomato and thyme broth that was poured table side. The broth was super fragrant and I love how the thyme oil created a ring on the outside of the lighter tomato broth.  The clams and charred tomatoes were served with a delicious, dry Austrian rose.


The smoked fish dish was paired with a peach Mostarda. This dish was served with a slightly sweet Vouvray, which is a French Chenin Blanc from the Loire Region.  This was one of the least memorable dishes of the night for me - definitely tasting, but not as memorable as the others. This is probably because I'm not usually a fan of smoked fish, though.



The "Charleston Ice Cream" was simply Carolina Gold prepared rice with herbs. The specially of the region was amazing - I was exclaiming that I could eat an entire huge bowl of that rice for dinner (it would have been a heck of a lot  cheaper than this tasting menu!) The rice was paired with a California Chardonnay - not usually my favorite wine, but it brought out the butteriness of the rice. 


The next dish was slightly crazy but really delicious! This is pig heart with corn and marigold. The corn was both a foam and some individual kernels. The green parts of the marigold were incredibly herbal and like nothing I'd had before. This dish was served with a German Pinot Noir (from the Ahr) region that was… interesting. It had a definitely barnyard-y nose.  


Perhaps my favorite dish was the lamb, raspberry, and truffle course. The black blobs were straight truffle puree (which was a little rich for me). There was a bit of raspberry jam and chantrelle mushrooms scattered around the plate, as well as some shiso on top of the truffle puree.  This dish was served with my favorite wine of the night, a Syrah from the Cote-Rotie region in the Cotes du Rhone. 


To cleanse the palate we had a fig sorbet with yogurt foam and some nut brittle. I loved the tartness of the yogurt, but this was not Biff's favorite.  The yogurt was really sour and the brittle was salty and sweet. I could have eaten this for dessert! 


Dessert was a blueberry cornmeal cake served over a stone fruit (plum and cherry) sauce with a white chocolate ganache.  The dish was topped with basil and lime zest.  The super cold and sweet ganache complimented the not-so-sweet cake (which was almost like a cornbread with berries in it). The dish was served with a Greek Vin Santo. I drank my fair share of vin santo on my Italy vacation, and the Greek version was just as delicious. 

The meal was insane and looking back on the photos makes me want to do it all again tomorrow night. it was great because even though we had so many courses, they were all pretty small. I didn't feel like I was going to die at the end of dinner… which was a good thing! 

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