Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Trust the Chef

I am calling today's post, "Trust the Chef". Several of our area restaurants offer a chef's tasting menu, a multi-course meal where the diner puts their order in the chef's hands and doesn't know what is going to come out of the kitchen. "R" and I had to go to AMP 150 the other night for work, darn. Normally, several of their menu items sound good to me, and I've never been able to give up control and try the Chef's Choice. They offer two options- 4 courses for $35 or 6 courses for $50. The entire table has to participate. We went with the four courses, which was more than enough food.

An amuse bouche of their celery soup came out first (not included in the four courses). It was a little mild for my taste, and could have used a punch of more flavor. Great soups like AMP's mushroom and Hodge's pea are just setting the bar high now. Our first course was a smaller portion of their Black Mussels with lemongrass, plum wine, coconut milk, ginger, and cilantro.
Only thing lacking? Some bread to get at that broth. With traditional Thai flavors, it was right up my alley.

Next came the salad course.
Feta, crispy bacon lardons, fresh spinach, and a citron vinaigrette. Light and refreshing.

The "entree" course was next, and a sirloin came out medium rare over goat cheese polenta and braised spinach.
The meat was tender and seasoned well, but the real star was the goat cheese polenta. I could eat a bowl of that every day, no joke. It was my favorite dish of the meal.

Fully satisfied with our dinner at this point, how could it get any better? This non-sweets lover was skeptical, because I was pretty sure that dessert was coming out next.
Not one, but THREE, small portions arrived for each of us. Each one was very different, highlighting lemon and blue berries (left), strawberries and rhubard (right), and rich panna cotta (middle). With chocolate, peanuts, and salty caramel- the center one was my favorite and a great end to the meal.

I have always enjoyed most of AMP's food, but this meal far exceeded anything that we had put together on our own in the past. So, my message today---Trust the Chef.

Go out and enjoy the surprise of allowing the chef to choose for you. Other area restaurants that offer these tasting menus: Crop Bistro (Chef's Table only, 7 course tasting), Dante (5 course tasting), and The Greenhouse Tavern (4 course tasting).

Do you know of any other restaurants in Cleveland with this option on their menu? After our experience at AMP 150, I know that I will be more trusting when it comes to putting my meal in the chef's hands. I look forward to doing another one.


Anonymous said...

As someone who does this regularly, I'm so glad you had a great experience in trusting the experts to deliver a delicious meal! Everything looks amazing! Thanks for sharing your experience, and for making some dining recommendations!

Amanda said...

I really need to do this one of these days. Thanks for sharing your experience -- as a fellow non-sweet lover I have to admit that dessert looks very good.

Katie O. said...

Luxe has a chef's choice- you won't be disappointed! Great post, will definitely have to go to Amp for a regular dinner!

Sarah @ Cooker Girl said...

I've always enjoyed my meals at AMP. Your meal looks delicious! I'm really surprised they haven't started including bread with the mussels. I had that same issue with them a few years ago.

Bite Buff said...

Thanks, Katie. Good to know! I'd certainly put my trust in Chef Okin's hands at Luxe.