J House Hotel, the hip new boutique hotel in Greenwich, opened its doors in early 2012. For months this hotel has been the talk of the town. An epitome of savvy and technology, it offers a unique experience to its guests unlike any place else in Connecticut.
And housed in this chic hotel is a great fine dining spot called, Eleven 14 Kitchen. (It is amazing how few people know about this hidden gem). Executive chef Francois Kwaku-Dongo is the king of this kitchen. And the first rule in his kingdom is to celebrate the local bounty. Chef Francois starts with local seasonal ingredients and treats them ever so gently in his preparations, so as to maintain their original flavors and integrity.
This week, I attended a wonderful lunch coordinated by my gal pals at CTbites. It was a 3 course luncheon at Eleven14 Kitchen. We started with a “Creamless” Yellow Squash Soup with Pumpkin Seed Oil. Creamless!!! How could that be? This soup was so creamy in its texture….and I was awed. I tried to figure it out for a while until I realized that the really smart chef is emulsifying the soup with the oil to incorporate air hence making the texture so creamy. Chef Francois confirmed my theory as I thought to myself how much I love how he thinks! Don’t we all crave our hot creamy soups in the winter months but are always worried about the calories from cream etc? This is a healthy way to get around it. Don’t you agree? Pssst…. I shall be stealing that idea for my kitchen very very soon.
For our main course we had a choice between salmon or chicken, The salmon was a Roasted Wild Salmon with Root Vegetable Salad. A simple preparation, with a singular goal of making all the local ingredients shine. The Grilled Free Range Chicken Paillard with Winter Chopped Salad, followed the same rule. Both these dishes were hearty and healthy and they made for perfect lunch time options.
Chef Francois is from Ghana, and he takes great pride in the cocoa grown in that region. He owns a cocoa farm there and he actually makes chocolate out of that cocoa. The ChocolateLab at J House hotel is a dessert/gelato/coffee shop offering wonderful chocolatey confections made from that same cocoa.
For our dessert course, we sampled some of that authentic goodness. We had an Eleven 14 Chocolate Bar. It was simply divine. I loved the play of creamy and crunchy textures in this dessert. With the perfect amount of sweetness, I could not stop until the last morsel disappeared from my plate. Hee! Hee! Hee!!!!
Eleven 14 Kitchen, Greenwich | www.jhousegreenwich.com/ | 877-468-0517