Posts Tagged ‘Goat Cheese’

Hilton Head Day 2 – Old Fort Pub

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 by virginia

I have to admit, the first time I heard about the Old Fort Pub was on Rachael Ray’s show, “$40 a Day.” Man, that show used to tick me off half the time. One single sushi roll does not equal dinner, no matter how dainty of an eater you are. Which she clearly was not. And having your husband buy you frozen hot chocolate? Also not fair in context of the show. But I digress! So on the Hilton Head episode, she had a sunset martini at the Old Fort Pub. Given the name, and the fact that she just had a drink there, not a meal, made me think that it was a casual bar on the water. So to my surprise, when Josh’s parents said they had a really nice meal there last year, I knew I wanted to check it out.

We had a reservation just in time for sunset, and it was a gorgeous evening. The dining room was a bit rustic but the main feature was the wall of windows that looked out onto the water, perfect for watching the sun go down. We stepped out onto the deck (you can also eat out there if you want) for a few quick photos:

We went back into the dining room and settled in to look over the menu. There were lots of different dishes that I wanted to try so it was hard for us to decide. Ultimately I ended up dictating to Josh what I wanted, and he being the amenable guy that he is, agreed to all of my choices. After we made our selections, we were given an amuse bouche of smoked salmon cream in a pastry shell. The cream was a bit runny but it had good salmon flavor. I love smoked salmon in all forms so I liked it, but Josh wasn’t too impressed.

Smoked salmon cream tart amuse bouche

We also got a basket of warm bread that had come right out of the oven. They were big rolls that you could pull apart into four dinner roll-sized pieces, and the top crust was nice and crispy. The inside had a nice chewy texture, and we ended up eating tons of these rolls with the accompanying herb butter.

Warm, chewy bread

For our appetizers, Josh and I shared the she crab soup (of course!) and the seared lamb tenderloin. Alice raved about the she crab soup last year so I was eager to try it. The soup was rich and creamy and chock full of crab flavor. Unfortunately, they were a bit heavy handed with the sherry so each spoonful had sort of an alcoholic bite to it. I’m not sure if they make it like that all the time, or if this was an anomaly, but I found it to be kind of unpleasant. Too bad, because it would have been an amazing soup otherwise.

She crab soup

The seared lamb tenderloin appetizer turned out not to be what I had imagined, but it was still quite tasty. I thought that it would be thin slices of barely cooked lamb but it was actually sort of like pieces of lamb kebab. It was served with a little goat cheese tart, baby mache, and beet chips. The lamb was tender and flavorful. I just wish there was more of it, as there were only four small cubes. All the components of the dish really worked well together, and I liked the gaminess of the lamb with the gaminess of the goat cheese.

Seared lamb tenderloin with goat cheese tart, baby mache, and beet chips

For our entrees, Josh and I split the crispy Carolina trout and the crawfish cakes. The trout was perfectly seared so that the skin was super crispy, and it was nicely seasoned. The fish was served with baby artichokes, cremini mushrooms, grape tomatoes, and a sherry cream sauce. The portion of trout was huge, and I didn’t even get through half the plate. I liked how the cream sauce bound all of the components together. My only complaint was that there was some mashed potatoes under the fish that was overseasoned with white pepper. I just ate around it, and everything else was spot on.

Crispy Carolina trout with artichoke baby artichokes, cremini mushrooms, grape tomatoes, and a sherry cream sauce

The crawfish cakes were prepared low country style and were served with green tomato, avocado, sweet pepper relish, and creamy stone ground grits. There were two huge cakes jam packed with crawfish meat and very little filling. The outside was nice and crispy while the inside was creamy and flavorful. The grits were chunkier than I expected but still very tasty. The green tomato and sweet pepper relish provided some nice acidity for the dish, while the avocado added some creamy richness. There was also one whole crawfish on the plate, which I dispatched by pulling off the head, sucking out the juices, and then removing the tail meat and eating it. Yum!

Low country style crawfish cakes with green tomato, avocado, sweet pepper relish, and creamy stone ground grits

For dessert, Josh couldn’t resist ordering the special of the night, a root beer float. It was pretty simple, just some scoops of vanilla ice cream topped with an organic root beer and served with a chewy tuille cookie. The root beer had a clean taste to it, not overly medicinal, and having a root beer float is just whimsical enough to bring a smile to anyone’s face.

Pouring root beer into a glass with scoops of vanilla ice cream

Fun and tasty

Overall our dinner at the Old Fort Pub was our favorite out of all the meals we had in Hilton Head this year. From start to finish everything was really well prepared and the flavors were delicious. Service was good, and the restaurant had a really lovely atmosphere. Portions are huge here, making it a good value as we had tons of leftovers that fed all of us for lunch a few days later. We were all pretty impressed with our experience, and I hope it’s a place that we’ll come back to again.

Old Fort Pub
65 Skull Creek Dr.
Hilton Head, SC

Summer Restaurant Week 2010 – Tribeca Grill

Thursday, July 29th, 2010 by virginia

For Jess’ birthday, we made a reservation at the Tribeca Grill because it was the only restaurant we called that would seat 10 people without forcing us to explore “private dining” options. We’ve eaten there before and the food was pretty good – it was straightforward, hearty, American fare. We found out when we got there that in addition to the regular menu, they were offering their Restaurant Week menu for dinner on Sundays. The Restaurant Week offerings sounded pretty good, and I liked that the options came directly from the regular menu, something we don’t see too often on Restaurant Week menus. Our waiter assured us that the Restaurant Week dishes were the same portion sizes as the regular menu, and considering that most of the a la carte entrees cost close to $30, the $35 three course menu seemed like quite a bargain.

The Restaurant Week menu online was different than the one we received so I’m not sure if the offerings change from day to day, but here is the menu we got:

First Course
Heirloom tomato & goat cheese salad ~ Sweet corn sauce and opal basil vinegar
Braised artichoke & fennel salad ~ Marcona almonds, green olives & manchego cheese
Warm asparagus salad ~ Morels, cipollini onions & lardons, fig essence

Second Course
Goat cheese ravioli ~ Artichokes, favas, cherry tomatoes & spinach
Pan roasted Atlantic salmon ~ Sunchokes, caramelized beet & apple chutney
Grilled Berkshire pork chop ~ Cassoulet of summer beans, chive dumplings & ramp salsa verde
Roasted red snapper ~ Summer squash, Tunisian couscous, pea shoots & warm tomato vinaigrette

Third Course
Chocolate truffle cheesecake ~ Espresso anglaise
Vanilla & grenadine flan ~ Market berries
Morello cherry financier ~ Yogurt sorbet

While we were deciding on what to order, we munched on the bread offering, which was a round, hard roll with a chewy interior. It didn’t have much flavor to it but I was hungry so I just slathered on lots of butter, which made it a bit more palatable.

Hard bread roll

Our appetizers arrived right away, and 8 out of 10 people at the table ordered the same thing – the heirloom tomato and goat cheese salad. It looked beautiful on the plate, with many different kinds of tomatoes in assorted shapes and colors. The sweet corn vinaigrette was really interesting, and the dish was both sweet and tangy at the same time. The tomatoes were intensely flavorful and paired well with the micro basil scattered on top. My only complaint was that there wasn’t enough goat cheese for my liking, just a small dollop. But the dish was wonderfully light and refreshing, and huge hit at the table.

Heirloom tomato and goat cheese salad with sweet corn and opal basil vinegar

In addition to splitting the tomato and goat cheese salad, Josh and I selected the braised artichoke and fennel salad as our other appetizer. The salad was a tall tower piled high with the ingredients. There was I think frisee mixed in, which added a slight bitterness, and a tangy dressing that added a nice acidity to round out the flavors. The artichoke and fennel were very tender and worked well together with the olives and manchego. I just wasn’t a fan of the almonds, as I thought they overpowered everything else, but Josh enjoyed them.

Braised artichoke and fennel salad with marcona almonds, green olives, and manchego cheese

View from the side so you can see how tall it was and all the layers of ingredients

For our main course, Josh and I chose the grilled Berkshire pork chop and the roasted red snapper. The pork chop was huge and cooked perfectly, so that it was still tender and juicy. It was nicely seasoned and there was a sweet smokey flavor to it that we later found out was maple syrup. It was served on a mix of summer beans that were fresh and seasonal. There were two small chive dumplings that were like chewy gnocchi and didn’t really serve much purpose. There was also a ramp salsa verde that I think was on top of the pork chop, but I didn’t detect much ramp flavor. Still, it was a well constructed dish and another favorite at the table.

Grilled Berkshire pork chop with summer beans, chive dumplings, and ramp salsa verde

The roasted red snapper had a crispy skin that was nicely seasoned but unfortunately, the fish itself was overcooked and bland. It had a rubbery texture to it that made it a bit hard to eat. I ended up breaking it up as best as I could with my fork, then mixing it in with the accompanying couscous and squash. The couscous was light and fluffy, and the squash was tender but still had a nice bite to it. The tomato vinaigrette tied the whole dish together and provided the acidity that the fish badly needed.

Roasted red snapper with couscous, squash, and tomato vinaigrette

For dessert, we had the chocolate truffle cheesecake and vanilla and grenadine flan. The chocolate cheesecake really didn’t taste much like cheesecake but that was ok. I like chocolate better than cheesecake anyway. It had a chocolate cookie crust that tasted like an Oreo cookie, and I liked the espresso anglaise that was drizzled underneath.

Chocolate truffle cheesecake with espresso anglaise

The vanilla and grenadine flan wasn’t as silky as I would have liked but it had a nice vanilla flavor to it. The grenadine was slightly sour, which cut through the sweetness of the dessert, and the market berries were plump and fresh. Texture aside, it was a very tasty summer treat.

Vanilla and grenadine flan with market berries

Overall we were all pretty impressed by the meal we had at the Tribeca Grill. The Restaurant Week menu proved to be a good value, and we left the restaurant full and satisfied. Service was good but they did pace our meal pretty quickly, giving us the impression that they were rushing us out. We did end up lingering a bit over coffee and dessert but all of our courses were served at quick intervals.  The restaurant was packed though, especially for a Sunday night, which might have contributed to the frenetic pacing. We were still pretty pleased with our experience regardless, because the food exceeded our expectations. As for the decor, it’s a pretty restaurant with tall ceilings and a loft-like feel, and the ambiance is upbeat but intimate. While I think the a la carte menu is a bit pricey, I would still recommend the restaurant for a special occasion.

Tribeca Grill
375 Greenwich St. at Franklin St.
New York, NY

Red Leaf Lettuce With Radishes, Beets, and Goat Cheese

Sunday, July 4th, 2010 by virginia

Red leaf lettuce


As part of our second CSA share, we got a large head of gorgeous red leaf lettuce that we weren’t quite sure what we wanted to do with. Usually we only eat red leaf lettuce with Korean food, wrapped around pieces of grilled bulgogi or marinated pork. Since we didn’t have any on hand (H-Mart has really good pre-marinated meat that’s relatively cheap), we decided to make a simple salad with lettuce, beets, and goat cheese.

To make the salad dressing, I combined equal parts balsamic vinegar and olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, then added a dollop of mustard to make the dressing thicker. I blended it all together in my handy knock-off magic bullet, then tossed it with the washed and chopped red leaf lettuce.

I piled the lettuce onto plates, then topped them with slices of canned beets. Some people might scoff at using canned beets, but I think they have good flavor and are super convenient. No mess, no fuss. On top of the beets, I added crumbled bits of soft goat cheese. To contrast the sweetness of the balsamic vinaigrette and the beets, I thinly sliced some CSA radishes and added it to the salad for some crunch and slight bitterness.

Red leaf lettuce tossed with balsamic vinaigrette, topped with beets, goat cheese, and radishes

It was a hearty salad, and although it was vegetarian, we still felt full afterward. It’s rare for us to not miss meat, but this was a great combination of flavors and textures. I could definitely eat this salad again and be satisfied!