Fans of Lamb! Lamb Jam - 20 New Eng Chefs: Sunday April 13th, 3-6PM
This really looks like an excellent event. 3 chefs will be doing a special cocktail/charcuterie hour, and then i guess the other 17 will do the regular 3-6 tasting event. I think this is a great idea myself, esp because it's regional, and includes chefs from Portland Me, Portsmouth, and R.I.The Boston chefs are all 'top players' imo, so it bodes well for the quality overall.
lord knows there are many opportunities like this in April, but this one seemed relatively less expensive for the number of good chefs represented. Check it out! ( Oh,and it's held at the Sonesta,so you know you'll be able to find some seating options! ) Should be fun .
Lamb Jam Report 2014:What the Heck, Chefs? WHAT is with the Sugar???
I feel a rant coming on, but I will try to keep it brief. The Lamb Jam was at the Sonesta this
balmy afternoon, and I was so psyched because many chefs from places that I either liked or had been wanting to visit- were taking part.
There were some 20 restaurants represented from MA, NH, ME, RI . I tasted all of their dishes,
and 13 of them had one thing in common: Sugar. A noticeable sweetness. Do you find that odd or is it just me? I don't have anything against sugar, per se, some form of it can work well with pork and duck, for instance. But station after station after station, I just couldn't get that sweet taste out of my mouth.
BBQ sauce, sweet pickled vegetables of all types, Banh mi sugar glaze, dried fruits, fresh fruits, sweet breads .......
My favorite dishes were indeed four unsweet ones. As many of her fans might expect, Cassie Piuma from Sarma had the most complex plate. A heavily spiced lamb shoulder was massaged and roasted and shredded for a mini shawarma roll-up like you've not tasted in these parts! And this was accompanied by a simple refreshing green pea tabouleh , 2 sauces and a slice of amazing lamb jerky. In a similar vein, Nemo Bolin of Providence's Cook and Brown Public House, made a Scotch egg in a casing of merguez, on pools of contrasting sauces. Brian Reyelt of Citizens Public House got my personal "Most intriguing Dish " award with his deceptively simple Lamb McNuggets. (When Judges' Winners were announced for each category : Ground, Shoulder, Leg, Shank, both Nemo and Brian took home trophies.) The fourth fav for me was Robert Sisca from Bistro du Midi, with a Beet canneloni filled with a Lamb Bolognese. Since I have not eaten meals at any of these 4 restaurants, I hope to remedy that soon.
After thinking about it awhile (The 'Why?Why?' of the 13 sweet dishes) I came up with a reason that made sense to me. What I decided was that these 'sugar chefs' are not used to cooking much with Lamb, but they ARE used to cooking alot w/ Pork, so they translated their pork dishes by subbing with lamb.
And it just didn't work, for me anyway. But then again, just because i didn't like them- doesn't mean that they weren't wildly popular with the hordes of excited attendees. Their Peoples' Choice trophy went to Jim Solomon from The Fireplace, with a decidedly sweet Pomegranate Glazed Lamb over a Walnut Polenta.