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Jun 30, 2008 04:38 PM

Tasting Menu - Fairfield County

It's taken us two days to compose our thoughts regarding Osetra's (SoNo) new tasting menu.
I know of only one other tasting menu in Fairfield County via another posting I had made earlier regarding tasting menus.
Four of us visited this past weekend -- we sampled 25 courses.

Sorry folks - Nonny's Hubby here - she must have hit the wrong button or something,
Anyway, as we were saying, We sampled 25 courses ranging in size and character from a serving spoon (caviar current jam with bone marrow chantilly) to a serving platter (a 2 pound stuffed baked lobster parmesan). The menu was personalized by Chef Dave based on our conversation several days earlier when we made our reservation. This is a must as the restaurant must have a couple of days. Good thing because every one of our fantasies came true.
The four of us have been tasting menu fans for a very ling time so we were very comfortable adding a wine menu to the mix. Dave's brother Doug captivated us with his thorough understanding of wine and what it can do for the menu. Starting with whites and a lovely champagne, he brought us through many off the menu samplings of his brothers' style of cuisine (scallop ceviche with melon) as well as an on the menu (Vichysoisse, salmon mousse) May I add that for every three to four courses, a wine was served that perfectly complimented Chef Dave's creations.
Our Worcester CH'ers loved this as much as we did.
Everything was spot on. Both the staff and the kitchen was enthusiastic and rooted us on as we indulged in a five hour bacchanalian feast.
Chef Dave came out several times and then gave us the menu that he served us with a note that said "Thanks for playin'".
We were more than glad to play because this was probably the most personalized tasting menu that the four of us have had - bar none - and this would include NYC, Las Vegas and SF-CA.
Fairfield County - CH'ers take note and maybe a few of the restaurateurs too because this tasting menu was brilliant.

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  1. Fantastic! Tell me more, tell me more! I'd love to hear the whole menu (or if you could scan it rather than type, I'd be happy to share my email address with you). What direction did you provide to Chef Dave, and were there any limitations placed on him? Cost (how about a range if you don't want to be specific)? And is this something that he seemed open to doing for others (like, oh I dunno, me?)?

    Great tale and now I'm completely sold on Osetra.

    1. The entire menu was crazy - designed for us. We told him that we loved lobster, shellfish in general, foie gras, sushi, sweet breads-- guess we told him that our dislikes were few but these were our faves.
      The entire menu? Ok were you there watching us write down every course?
      Here goes - or at least our descriptions:
      * Scallops Ceviche with melon
      * Salmon Tartare with Avocado cream
      * Pacific Marling, minted yogurt, sweet pea crudo pecorino (on the menu)
      * Vichysoisse w/smoked salmon musse, salad of white asparagus (on menu)
      * Zatarain flavored Pita w/ sea urchin yogurt
      * Creamy rice beans w/battarga
      * Yellow watermelon salad w/cornbread croutons & foie gras dressing (OMG)
      * Saute of Lump Crabmeat over a noodle pudding (like a kugel) - another OMG
      * Fried Oysters over wilted radicchio, garlic/onion cream sauce
      think this is on the menu in another form, too
      * Pearl Jam - bone marrow mousse black currant caviar (OMG - each dish deserves this - don't know why I keep adding them
      * Veal scallopini with a caviar hollandaise - gone to heaven now.
      * Tequila shot - based on a rusty nail - we were told to drink this and follow with a spoon that had orange marmalade, cinammon and salt cod. What a treat and such a surprise course!
      * Fried green tomato over brie - so simple but so complex!
      * Baby bok choy, king oyster mushrooms in a black bean sauce
      * Lobster, cheddar cheese, caramel and hot peppers (on menu and I requested it)
      * 2 1/2# lobster - cooked lobster put back in shell with an awesome tomato sauce and mozzarella and then baked. This is when I got up from the table and walked up and down the block with my sister-in-law!!
      * Sliced Lamb chop, tonnato sauce and green bean salad (this is on menu - or at least it was)
      * Sturgeon, grape tomatoes and bleu cheese - totally blew us away
      * Foie Gras - sauteed with fresh blackberries and pecans - so simply beautiful
      * Roast sirloin, provolone salad and walnuts
      * Deconstructed Tea - probably the best palate cleanser and one of the most delightful desserts we've ever had. (on the menu still I think)
      * Earl Grey chocolate Tea
      * Raspberry Souffle - I thought I had gone to heaven before but this was bliss.
      * Opera Cake - but not like you've every had.
      * Meyer Lemon tart, lavender ice cream and some other nubbins of goodness as part of it.
      The cost of dinner per person is $100. but we asked for wine pairings also and spared no expense - we advised that we were "all in".
      We had eight wines - and they were awesome. Doug was incredible with the pairings.
      Oh, and we had a town car for the evening so we were very responsible. I have to mention that!
      The retelling of the menu has me wondering when we can go again.
      This prix fixe is on the menu - it's called "No Mercy" - Dave came out several times to find out where we were - actually think he was surprised that we lasted that long!!
      He loves doing this kind of menu and loved that fact that we were not fussy.
      You have to give him a couple of days so that he can play with off the menu offerings.
      We're all still giggling.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Nonny

        Very impressive tasting menu. May I suggest, once you've recovered from this experience, that you try out the tasting menu at ON20 in Hartford. They are officially only open for lunch with a prix fixe menu starting at $35, but larger and more complex tastings are available upon request that, like your dinner, can extend well over four hours if you so desire. They are also open to the public periodically for dinner; just call and ask.

        The Polytechnic ON20 Restaurant
        1 State St 20th Floor, Hartford, CT 06103

        1. re: rbailin

          Thanks rbailin.
          We pass through Hartford around lunch time but usually in jeans/khakis.
          Is there a dress code?
          I'm always surprised by the lack of tasting menus up in CT.

          1. re: Nonny

            No formal dress code, but business casual would be appropriate. Unless the jeans were really torn & grungy, I don't think they'll turn you away.