…. out comes mind-boggling food!
Except, this genius was so cool and calm about his exceptional dinner service, that he took every chance he got to step out of his kitchen and mingle with his diners. How fabulously unusual and warmly refreshing! I am now officially a fan of Chef Brian Lewis and his restaurant Elm in New Canaan.
Outstanding and extraordinary, hip and trendy, and decadently creative are some of the words that may pop in your head as you begin your Elm-experience. The wonderful team of Chef Lewis and his Pastry Chef Caryn Stabinsky are sure to present you with a truly unforgettable meal from start to finish.
My first bite into the bread that arrived at our table made me sit up and pay attention. It was unbelievable! Ever so light and flaky, with a crust that is crisp and yet it manages to melt in your mouth instantly. For our first course we ordered Hudson Valley Foie Gras with smoked macadamia, bacon, lentils and sherry vinegar jus. Mmm…. The smoked macadamia was unbelievable! It was such a perfect pairing with the foie gras. The lentils added a wonderful bite and the bacon just elevated everything to a whole new level. I was speechless! If you like foie gras then, please Please PLEASE try this dish when you are dining at Elm.
Our next course was Wild Escargot Ravioli with robiola fonduta, mangalica ham, garlic chives and garlic crumbs. Another winner on this menu! The fragrance of this dish excited my senses well before I even took my fist bite. I loved the earthy flavor of the escargot paired with the soft ravioli and the creamy, cheesy sauce flavored with ham and garlic chives. The garlic crumbs were the perfect finish on this dish as its crunch played beautifully with the other soft textures.
Our final course was dessert and we could not resist the Chocolate Panna Cotta. You are bound to be surprised by this dessert. Unlike most desserts that leave a heavy, ultra-sweet coating on your tongue, this dessert was light and not too sweet. There was subtle play of sweet, salty and sour flavors in this dish. This is indeed the way I would like to end my every meal.
Thanks to Twitter, the folks at Elm knew that my friend @NaiZvision and I were coming for dinner last weekend. They promised that we will be well taken care of. And sure enough, we were! Throughout the meal, Chef Lewis sent us special surprises. These little surprises were so unusual ….each a conversation piece in itself. Before the first course, he sent out a Japanese Shiso Leaf Tempura. Delicious! After the first course, we were presented with Scottish Langoustines alla Plancha. It is on the menu but we had not ordered it…. Chef Brian really wanted us to try this dish. I am so glad we did. This is a must try on the menu. Yummy and meaty langoustine with this to-die-for creamy sauce was addictive. Before our dessert course, we were surprised with this amazing, sweet corn and pink peppercorn ice cream. Whoa! I could not believe how amazing sweet corn is in a dessert and how perfectly the pink peppercorn pairs with dessert.
What I noticed about each dish was that the balance of flavors was handled perfectly…. no one ingredient ever outshined the others. In perfect harmony, every mouthful played a beautiful symphony. That to me is where the genius lies.
Each dish managed to surprise us, and kept us guessing just how Chef Lewis derived those flavors. We tried to ask him a few times as he stopped by but it was clear that there are some secrets he would like to keep. Oh, well! I guess we will have to keep returning to Elm until we figure it out.