(Scottsdale) Digestif Top Chef dinner tonight
A friend and I are going to this 8-course Austrian wine dinner at one of my favorite restaurants - Digestif - with "Top Chef" winner and guest chef Stephanie Izard. The menu looks fantastic. Are any other 'Hounds going? I also noticed they added an extra night last night...if anyone went, would love to hear what you thought.
Not going, but wish I was. Please report back to let us know how everything was. I'm curious what "guest chef" actually means. The menu looks to be along the lines of what Digestif is already surving, so I wonder if Stephanie has actually had a hand in putting the menu together, or just cooking, or what...
We had a great time! I apologize in advance for this being so long, but we had a helluva menu. I thought it was a fantastic deal and well worth $95 pp, though wish the wine pours with the mains had been a bit more generous. Chef Payton Curry mentioned last night's menu was different from the one they did the night before (and from the on-line menu), and was a joint collaboration and created day of with what they had received from purveyors (including using "all the parts of the pig"). Stephanie Izard was involved in everything - helped create the menu and was in the kitchen the entire time. Sommelier Sariya Jarasviroj of Vin Divino did an excellent job describing and educating the room regarding the wines, especially the Austrian wines - I'm going to make it a point to search these out on wine lists.
2006 Giovanni Puiatti pinot grigio, Collio, Italy
Crispy arrancini parmigiano with a center of rabbit liver mouse on top of salsify bechamel and tomato coulis, garnished with a slice of truffle. The description also mentioned bellotta ham, though I didn't taste or see that. Delicious start to the meal.
(1) Pork rillette with red onion jam on carta da musica (Sardinian flatbread)
(2) Thinly sliced confit pork heart cooked in goose fat on brioche, garnished with a drizzle of herby-bright gribiche
(3) Dry-cured pork tenderloin on celery leaf salad with saba, lemon juice, and chili oil.
(4) Tongue reuben with house-made sauerkraut
NV Nicolas Feiullatte brut, Epernay, Champagne, France
Heritage pork liver and wine-stewed onions on creamy crescenza cheese polenta with Maderia jus
2006 Schellman IN Gumpoldskirchen cuvee, Thermen region (this was a blend of chardonnay, zierflander, rotgipfler; the latter two referred to as "tribal varietals" )
Seared diver scallop, braised pork belly, sunchoke, Satsuma mandarin oranges, Cerignola olives. I have only seen green Cerignola olives, so was pleasantly suprised to learn that there is an orange-red variety.
2005 Stadt Krems riesling, Grillenparz, Kremstal, Austria
Candy-cane (striped red and white pasta colored with beet) cannelloni stuffed with hearth-roasted Red Wattle suckling pig and beet greens, braised garlic sauce, and garnished with cubes of goat-belly bacon
2006 Umathum zweigelt, Neusiedlersee, Austria
Pan-roasted monkfish, braised lamb, and duck leg, with salsify, and soar of figs/currants/pistachios
2005 Loimer pinot noir "Langenlois Terrasen", Kamptal, Austria
Celery root sformato garnished with sliced black winter truffles, pecorino fonduta and nettle puree
2007 Loimer zweigelt, Rosé, Kamptal, Austria
Cheese course - Marieke's Foenegreek Gouda with a crispy gingersnap, Beehive Dairy's Barely Buzzed with Satsuma marmalade, Rogue Creamery Smokey Blue with spicy apple compote and mini pancetta corn muffin
2001 Kracher welschriesling, #5, TBA, Zwischen Den Seen, Burgenland, Austria
Shoyu Creme Caramel topped with cranberry/cherry compote, with a beignet and cranberry coulis
2005 Kracher sweigelt, BA, Burgenland, Austria
If I had to choose, my top 3 favorites were the charcuterie quartet, scallops and pork belly, and monkfish paired with braised duck and lamb with the sweet-sour saor. Oh, and I've found out I'm not a fan of pork liver - heh. I was also hugely impressed by the talented pastry chef Tracy Dempsey. The cheese plate was absolutely fantastic (especially the "barely buzzed" with an espresso-washed rind), and we alll loved the rich and creamy shoyu creme caramel. We were told that all the cheeses we had last night are served at Cowboy Ciao.
Everything made for a fun, social night. The chefs spoke before and after the meal and their enthusiasm really shown. Stephanie Izard was just as down to earth and friendly in real life as she appeared on the show, and made a point to stop at all the tables at the end of the night, sit down, and chat. For fans of Noca like me, I was happy to hear it's one of her favorite new restaurants too. She raved about the 9-course tasting menu she had at Noca earlier in the week, and mentioned that the chestnut soup with foie gras raviolini was a highlight.
The packed room was set up with long tables, and my girlfriend and I had so much fun at ours, making some wonderful new friends with similar palates. In fact, six of us ended this food extravaganza with a nightcap at Kazimierz wine bar, exchanged contact info, and have plans to meet up again for dinner.
I should also mention that I've been a huge fan of chef Payton Curry ever since I met him at Digestif. His vibrant and funny personality and love for creating a delicious menu made his restaurant a perfect venue for such a lively, adventurous, food-loving crowd. Excellent service too, from the warm greeting from the ever-gracious Pavle to a friendly hello again from Samantha and smooth service from the waistaff.
7114 E. Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85351
I wish you had too, but planning a trip to Spain is a good excuse why you couldn't join me!
The liver was served in chunky strips, and I think I would have liked it better if it was served diced or in smaller pieces so you scoop up a bit of the cheesey polenta with every bite. The first piece was tender and creamy inside, but the other pieces were tough.