On July 16, my husband and I had the pleasure of partaking in one heck of an event hosted by CHARCUT Roast House. Co-owners and chefs, John Jackson and Connie DeSousa, welcomed Michelin-Star chefs and friends, Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani of California’s award-winning Terra (Napa Valley) and Ame Restaurant (San Francisco) to collaborate in their kitchen for a one-night-only, one-of-a-kind culinary event.
The six-course dinner with wine pairings began with milk-fed piglet and foie gras porchetta.
Served chilled, the young pork was savoury and succulent. On the side was a salad of frisée, fennel ribbons and an intense salsa verde aioli. For an extra bite of acidity, the salad was topped with crunchy-fried artichoke.
The wine pairing for our fresh starter was Thomas George Estates' magnificently clean 2009 Viognier from Catie’s Corner Vineyard in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley.
The second course put a spell on our table. Arriving in a simple, white bowl we were served what looked like soup, but turned out to be Chawan mushi, a traditional Japanese egg custard dish flavoured with dashi and mirin. Meticulously placed at the surface of the dish was the most tender and delicate sea urchin I’ve ever tasted. Paired with the subtly smoky dish was a simple and fresh 2009 Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Musque from the vineyard of Brian and Janice Schmidt.
The third course definitely raised some eyebrows and instead of waiting to discuss it, Connie DeSousa jumped right in to tell the group about the Boudin Noir (blood sausage) with farm egg.
Made primarily of pig blood, pork, cream (and lots of it) and bread crumbs. DeSousa explained that she and co-chef John Jackson had been experimenting with cream to create a lighter blood sausage. Judging from the taste and weight of the thick, black sausage they were successful.
Plated in a skillet of home fried potatoes and perfectly cooked hard-boiled eggs, the breakfast inspired dish with Sylvan Star gouda was lovely with Thomas George Estate’s 2009 Chardonnay.
It’s hard to believe there was more, but stay with me. Our fourth course showcased broiled Alaskan Black Cod, and it was a savoury masterpiece.
Resting in a mouthwatering shiso broth, the cod is beyond fresh and perfectly cooked – but the broth, flavoured with ginger, garlic and mirin, really stole the show.
The Thomas George Estates 2009 Pinot Noir was the perfect pairing, a wine, as our host explained, where one of the key ingredients is Sonoma’s coastal fog.
The big, bad (as in good) dish of the night was the massive, rotisserie butcher board piled high with 12-hour smoked ribs, Brant Lake Wagyu butcher steaks and roasted marrowbones.
When the board came out, someone at our table cracked a joke about Brontosaurus ribs. Without a doubt, the Spring Creek Ranch ribs were big, tender and juicy. The twelve-hours of sweet, slow cooking was apparent. On the side, there were fresh yellow beans (with bacon of course, yum), tender slices of medium-rare Wagyu beef and CHARCUT’s trademark marrow served with Aviv Fried’s toasted bread.
The night ended on a high note with a sumptuous dessert of roasted apricot with almond cake, Noyau (fruit stone) ice cream and a cocktail of muddled strawberries and mint with brandy, amaretto and Chambord, finished with vanilla extract, ginger ale, lemon juice and honey syrup. The complex combination of flavours was a fitting end to a wonderful meal.
It was an honour and a privilege to be a part of such an impressive culinary event. Throughout the night, it was clear that the friendship between our hosts and the visiting chefs runs deep, and luckily for the diners in attendance, that friendship was expressed in every dish.
CHARCUT Roast House
899 Centre Street SW, Calgary, Alberta