Two Chefs Tables and a Microphone
Last night at The Urban Grape was excellent. They hosted the special event Two Chefs Tables and a Microphone - a battle royale between New School (Seth Morrison of the Gallows, South End) and Old School (Michael Scelfo of Russell House Tavern, Harvard Square). Not only were there five courses from each chef, but there were wine/spirit pairings as well, AND the awesome DJ Pfranchize, who played awesome old school rap and hip hop all night.
Round One was oysters. Here's Old School - Island Creek Oysters with wood-smoked cocktail sauce, brambly bacon, and sea bean mignonette. This was paired with NV Punkt Sparkling Gruner Veltliner from Weinviertel, Austria. Wicked good.
Competing against the previous oyster was the New School version - Oysters "Kennedy" with spinach, lobster aioli, Irish Whiskey and Cape Cod Potato Chips. Yeah, and it just as awesome as you can imagine, too! This was paired with the 2009 Robert Foley Vineyards Pinot Blanc from Napa Valley, CA.
Up next was the fall vegetable round. Old School produced an excellent torched delicata squash with a Cabot clothbound cheddar biscuit, and maple and ginger aioli. This was paired with the 2007 Domaines Schlumberger "Spiegel" Grand Cru Pinot Gris from Alsace, France.
Competing against the previous wonderful dish is this New School dish - pumpkin chowder with corn, ham, common crackers, and sage. Very tasty. It was paired with Sam Adam's "Fat Jack" Double Pumpkin Ale, made right here in Boston.
The next round was my favorite, although the oysters came close! Here's the Old School offering - warm roasted char belly with bone marrow brioche, red wine, and pickled onion jam. Paired with the 2010 Occhipinti "Il Frappato" Frappoto from Sicily, Italy, this was even better than it looks, and it looks good!
New School competed against that with what was probably my favorite dish overall, a blue fish pate with apple-horseradish, fresh preserves, and brioche toast. That was paired with the 2011 Ehlers Estate "Sylviane" Rose of Cabernet Franc, from St. Helena.
The fourth round was pork and beans, and that's always a good combination. Here's the Old School, duck fat braised pork neck with herbed white beans and crispy chard leaves. This was paired with the 2010 Le Macchiole Bolgheri Rosso from Tuscany, Italy. I could have eaten so many pieces of this pork!
Approaching things from a slightly different angle, the New School creation is pork confit and New England baked beans on brown bread. Sweet and savory, a great combination, and paired with the 2010 Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir from Hermanus, South Africa.
I should mention how hard everyone was working to make sure the event ran smoothly. The Urban Grape had tons of staff available to answer all questions, and the chefs were just amazing. Michael Scelfo is seen above, hard at work on the final course. And do you see how neat that whiskey bottle is in the first picture? I'm not a huge fan of whiskey, but that's just awesome.
The cheese course was great, and was paired with whiskey, rather than wine! Here's the Old School cheese plate - Robinson "Barnyard" cheese with prune and honey jam, sweet tango apples, and smoked almonds. This was paired with Glenmorangie "The Nectar D'Or" 12 year Scotch whiskey from Highlands, Scotland.
Finishing up the night was the New School offering, a mini apple and brick cheese pie a la mode, paired with Willet "Pot Still Reserve" bourbon whiskey from Bardstown, KY. Check out the fruity surprise in the whiskey! Overall, this was a great night, and I'm definitely making sure I keep an eye out for more fun events at The Urban Grape!