Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Birth of a Foodie

The date was March 21, 2003 and my birthday was a few days away. I'd had some good birthdays in the past, but this night was about to top the list.

My girlfriend J, who is now my wife, took me to dinner at Tremont 647. A "fun and funky restaurant serving up bold American food" in Boston's South End neighborhood. Do not confuse the South End with South Boston (also called Southie) which is another Boston neighborhood although not quite as gastronomically gifted as the South End, but I digress.

J had heard that Tremont 647 was a great eat in Boston, so she booked the chef's table for the chef's tasting. Five courses paired with wine all while sitting at the end of the open kitchen looking down the line. Our seats were directly facing the grill. Being up close and personal with the chefs is an important detail that will become clear later.

After having a couple signature cocktails at the bar, a Tremont Tang martini and a Pineapple Martini, both mixed with house-infused vodkas, we took our seats at our table ready for a culinary treat.

Our first course was delivered by the executive chef/owner himself, Andy Husbands. The dish was pineapple fried rice served in the pineapple shell with lightly grilled shrimp. A nice glass of [will insert name of wine later] to pair and we were off to a good start.

Salt and pepper seared sea scallops served simply with a dollop of caviar came next with a glass of [will insert name of wine later]. This makes two. The dish was created by Jason Santos, chef de cuisine.

While scarfing down the scallops J and I noticed a MAMMOTH steak getting tossed on the grill. I'm not just talking about a big steak here. I'm talking about a Porterhouse the size of an NFL football. A monstrosity that dwarfed all other morsels on the grill. A ginormous hunk of meat at least three inches thick. J and I marveled at the beast while chatting with Matt, the grill master. Tremont 647 has a great grill that's hardwood-charcoal fired, giving everything a little more of that fire-kissed flavor we all love. We talked with Matt about food and knives and techniques and whatnot. Matt could tell I was interested in food, and said, "You know, sometimes Andy has his friends come in and help out on the line. If you're interested I'll say something to him." My eyes lit up..."Sure, that'd be great!" We forgot about that giant side of beef just for a moment, we would soon find out it was meant for us.

Andy set down course three for us. It was the most fun plate of the evening. A lobster roll, rather a "Revere Beach Lobster Roll" as Andy called it. A classic lobster roll, lightly dressed lobster meat served in a buttered, split-top hot dog bun. This classic was served with a generous pour of [will insert name of wine later], and an invitation from Andy to spend a night in his kitchen.

Remember that prodigious porterhouse I mentioned earlier? It was plated and set down in front of us for course four. Holy cow, pun intended. This was the biggest piece of meat I'd ever seen and it was delicious. A glass of [will insert name of wine later] was perfectly paired up and now all that remained was dessert.

For J, a trio of sorbets rounded out the tasting. For me it was Tremont's homemade sugared donuts served in a paper bag along side some homemade vanilla bean ice cream.

The foodie in me was emerging. Five courses of fantastic food, wonderful wine, and an invitation to cook in a professional kitchen. Check back soon for details of my One Night in the Kitchen.

Sorry, no food pictures. This night happened long before I conceived One Food Guy. The restaurant pictures are courtesy of Tremont 647's Photo Gallery

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