Dine Out with the Chefs is truly a foodie/gourmand event -- that is, you must have a fairly sophisticated palate to appreciate it. Sure, each of the restaurants that participated, from J&G Steakhouse at The Phoenician to Cowboy Ciao, include items on their menus that have universal appeal. Cheese-covered salads. Burgers. Broiled steaks. But this wasn't the time to showcase the humdrum menu staples even a ten-year-old will eat without complaint.
Missing were the roasted meat and chicken dishes we've sampled at other culinary events. Instead, guests were treated to tons of seafood, including two tuna tartare offerings, lobster, shrimp, hamachi and crab cakes. Pretty touchy for a desert clime where fresh-caught seafood isn't available, but every one of the dishes was high quality.
We also saw oxtail, several implementations of foie gras and duck. Pork belly was in demand, answered by innovations such as this pomegranate gastrique-covered pork belly with sweet potato and red cabbage slaw.
Mari from Kazimierz World Wine Bar said it was so popular they were considering putting it on their permanent menu.
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Turns out most of the dishes on display were experiments not found on the restaurants' regular menus. "It was just something we chucked together," quipped T. Cook's Executive Chef Lee Hillson, in regards to his caramelized onion, fig and pine nut tart.
This year, the chefs were especially keen on desserts. Butterscotch eclairs from Cowboy Ciao, Guinness-chocolate ice cream from Sweet Republic and Arcadia Farms' chocolate-rasperry creme pots were enough to keep everyone cycling through the ups and downs of a serious sugar high. Not that anyone seemed to mind. It made for a sweet ending to an afternoon of overindulgence.
Click to the next page for more images from the event...