I am sad for anyone who missed out on the Brick-n-Barrel tasting. It truly wowed me! I have only had tastings at three other restaurants in the Syracuse are and this one topped them all for me. You must read on to discover my in-depth critique but let me just say that this was one of my favorite meals I've had. There was a lot of fun in following along the menu with other club members and figuring out what we were eating. The Club may just have to make a second appearance here. Don't forget to cast your votes at the bottom of the blog!
Course one: Faux Bone Marrow.
This adorable dish, though made from oyster mushrooms and black garlic, was intended to appear as a split bone with the dark marrow face up. So clever and delicious too! The best part was certainly the baked crispy mushrooms plated along side the faux bone.
Course two: Nudi.
Tossed with bacon, topped with black truffle and crispy chicken skins, and pulled together by a truffle parmesan cream sauce. Nudi is similar to gnocchi but calls for ricotta to create a lighter texture pasta and, in this case, was turned green by incorporating shishito peppers. The black truffle slices were generous and nuanced rather than overpowering. Fried bacon was the icing on the cake that made this one of the crowd favorites. The first course was quite focused around mushroom flavor so the use of truffle in this course called back to that. Using mushroom to guide us from a taste bud warm-up in course one to a taste bud explosion in course two was a smart move.
Course three: White fish.
Served over cauliflower, topped with prosciutto and savory lemon parsley oil. The parsley imparted all the flavor and none of the bitterness that it tends to have. The prosciutto called back nicely to the bacon in course two. While this was the least memorable course for many, that doesn't take away from how well it was executed. The fish had crispy edges without being overcooked and left our minds to wonder how to replicate this at home.
Course four: Short Ribs.
Perfectly cooked short ribs, manchengo grits, roasted grapes, green tomato chimichurri, and some sort of dark gravy-like sauce. None of these ingredients were there for show; they all performed beautifully together. The roasted grapes were new to me. They tasted a bit funny alone but when eaten with the short ribs it all made perfect sense.
The Brick-n-Barrel takes a farm to table approach and therefore sources fresh ingredients within days of service. During our dinner, the kitchen was almost only stocked with what they needed for our private dinner event that day. I say this to justify the massive portion of short ribs we received in this dish. They weren't going to let it go to waste! Though not typical in a tasting menu, I was happy to take home my leftovers.
Course five: Basil pea cake.
Plated beautifully with a citrus yuzu curd, fresh berries, and a graham cracker crumble. It was incredible. The berries were so fresh that many people at the event commented on this. Bites with basil garnish was a bit overwhelming for me but others enjoyed this. I would totally order this dessert again and again.