Going on from our first year of dating, every year on New Year’s Eve, my now husband and I have usually gone to Rodizio Grill, a Brazilian steakhouse. While delicious, you get so much food that it really is a once-a-year place. Normally, not a problem, but we chose Rodizio as the location for our rehearsal dinner.
We definitely could have done Rodizio again, but the idea didn’t sound that appealing to either of us.
Enter facebook and the feed from one of our favorite restaurants, D Bar Desserts. It posted that it was doing a multi-course meal with a champagne toast, party favors and an optional wine pairing. While neither of us really are foodies, we have enjoyed almost everything that the D Bar staff (including owner Keegan Gerhard) has thrown at us. So, we took a chance and went and were so glad we did.
Dinner started at 10pm and contained six courses – three savory, three sweet. The three sweet started at midnight along with our champagne toast to ring in 2012.
In short, it was a blast. Due to being, well, essentially regulars there, we were given seats at the bar for the dinner so we got to see Keegan and his staff create our desserts throughout the whole night.
Before it got busy.
Creating the first sweet course.
Making mango caviar.
As I mentioned earlier, we started off with three savory courses.
The first was a petit savory souffle, described as such: “fallen blue cheese pecan souffle * braised kurobata pork belly * bacon caramel.” While I’m not the biggest fan of either blue cheese or pecans, the souffle was delicious. It was light and the husband was “very pleasantly surprised” with it. The kurobata pork belly (kurobata is the pig equivalent of either kobe or wagyu beef) was heavenly and I seriously could have eaten a whole plate of it. The bacon caramel was I believe the drizzle on the plate; either way, this course may have been the best of the six.
The second course was diver scallops two ways. Since there were two of us at dinner we each received one of the ways. One way included “b’nut squash risotto * brown butter beech mushrooms * burnt orange caramel beurre blanc.”
These were mine. You could definitely taste the beurre blanc – well, taste a lot of butter, actually, but this course was a foodgasm, plain and simple. There wasn’t a single thing I didn’t like about this dish.
The second version of the diver scallops included “cioppino style crusted scallop * mussels * charred tomatoes * pearl onions * grilled zucc.”
This was Brandon’s (the husband’s). We both enjoyed it, but he honestly said it wouldn’t be something he’d order again. (I’d order mine in a heartbeat.)
The third and final savory course was honestly the most disappointing for me – the Chinese 5-spice beef tenderloin with “lemon basted yukon golds * grilled baby bok choy & knob onion * brown butter soy.”
I don’t really recall what all five spices were – some were essentially pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves) and I believe fennel – but they overpowered what was otherwise a really well-cooked delicious piece of beef. I think I have more taste buds than the average person and sometimes, it works as a disadvantage. This course (as well as the next) are examples of that. The potato was disappointing as well. It felt a little undercooked and dry (easy to happen with a potato). I felt that this dish had huge potential (glancing at the savory menu, it looked to be the only thing I normally would have ordered) and fell short.
As we had our champagne toast at midnight, we had our first sweet course, titled Citrus & Pink Stuff.
While pretty, it seemed unfinished. We watched Keegan making these all night and at one point they seemed finished (though simple). Then, we saw what they were supposed to look like:
With the addition of the orange slice(s), it suddenly became perfect once again.
Described as “yogurt panna cotta * winter compote * micro sponge * prickly pear sorbet,” it was an assault of a ton of different flavors that was almost too much for my poor tongue. Our waitress described the micro sponge (that pink fluffy thing in the back) as “tasting like Barbie,” which was actually pretty accurate. That flourescent pink blob on the dessert was the prickly pear sorbet which, if possible, tasted as bright and outrageous as it looked (almost overly sweet). I enjoyed the simple combination of the pink whipped cream, the panna cotta and the winter compote together and would have been happy with just those three items.
Well, that, and seeing the glitter (or non-toxic glitter-like substance) in the pink drizzle on the plate. (I love sparkly.)
The second sweet course was Chocolate & Mango – “chocolate (3) * white chocolate mango * chocolate crumble * mango caviar.”
This was my favorite sweet course. Weirdly enough, I loved the chocolate crumbly bits the best. Brandon, when asked to revisit his thoughts, said “delicious. Great way to finish off the night.” And I agreed.
If you’re still following along at home, you may recall I said six total courses (three savory; three sweet) and yet I’ve only shared five. That’s because the six and final course was taken to go – Petit Fours: “bon-bon * guimauve framboise * pate de fruit.” We haven’t gotten a chance to eat them yet and I neglected to take a picture of them plated, but I’m sure they’re good.
Overall, the NYE experience at D Bar was well worth the money spent. While we didn’t adore every dish we had, it was great eating outside the box (for lack of a better mangled phrase), trying dishes and eating things we normally wouldn’t have eaten (or chosen to eat). The atmosphere was also wonderful – we made conversation with those around us and hell, the entire restaurant (staff included) did the wave several times. Where else would you see that?
Money, time and lack of sleep (work at 5:45am the next day) well worth it.