Become a fan of thekingfishmenu on facebook.

Search "thekingfishmenu" on your facebook search bar and become a fan of thekingfishmenu to get updates on posts and recipes.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Happy Birthday becomes the Shitake Show

Take Away - Chilled Beet and Goat Cheese Shooters

After a long week of work, it was nice to have a "laid back" night planned with a few friends.  Our  buddy, Gary Solomon, Jr., invited a small group to a "quiet" birthday dinner at his parents' house. . . I think you know where I am going with this . . .

Gary Solomon, Jr. and Mollie
Let me first set the stage.  The Solomon home is built for entertaining.  Gary's dad (Gary Sr.) told me that, very early on, he observed that his entire family was always gathered in the kitchen no matter what event (or lack thereof) was happening.  So, when the Solomon house was renovated after Hurricane Katrina, they designed a kitchen island that could be extended to seat approximately seventeen people. . . that's right 17 people.

Kitchen Island
For Gary Jr.'s birthday, they decided to road test the island to ensure both functionality and continued crowd drawing capability.  How well it would work, they had no idea.  Enter Chris Lynch.  Chris was the chef de cuisine at Emeril's restaurant for a number of years before helping to launch the restaurant Mason 923.  These days, Lynch is working on a number of projects while also serving as a food stylist for the HBO series, Treme.
Martha and Gary Solomon, Sr.

With this experienced resume, Chris managed to cobble together a couple of ingredients to feed us.

And, as if the menu was not ridiculous enough, Lynch also threw in a few additional pass arounds to greet everyone as we arrived.  The pass arounds included: bbq quail encased in won tons, oysters on the half shell and chilled beet soup shooters with goat cheese.

In addition to the food, we were greeted with a bar setup in the living room.  Drinks were being poured generously, and Mollie commented how glad she was that St. Germain was being added to the champagne before service.  I thought that comment odd and figured she had ordered an extra bit of pick-me-up in her drink, but then realized that all the girls were drinking this concoction. Danger.

However, as we continued having cocktails and eating, I was fully confident that all would remain nice, calm and chillaxed . . . right???

We all capped off our beverages and headed to the kitchen to sit down for dinner.  The first course was served, and (being a huge fan of tuna, mango and avocado) I thought that Mollie was going to pass out when we were served a dish in which the three became one.

Yellowfin tuna tartar with creole tomato, avocado and mango vinaigrette

The chefs were busy preparing the second course, and everyone seemed to be enjoying round one, so I did not think it a big deal when the music came on over the sound system in the kitchen.  The first wine pairing was being enjoyed by all, and folks started visiting a little louder simply because there was "background music."

Round two:  As the melon, prosciutto and mozzarella salad was being served, an additional wine pairing made its way to the scene.  This was welcomed, but I could not help but noticing that folks started to get  up from their seats to socialize with each other.  Also, out of nowhere, there appeared glow stick-esque necklaces that my fellow guests began to wear around their neck as part of their party gear.  I turned to Mollie to comment on this before realizing that she was demonstrating to others that a glow stick necklace could actually be used as a crown . . .

As conversation levels across the island rose, I observed that the music in the kitchen was not as loud as Rock-N-Sake, but it sure was trying . . . I also noticed that order started descending into chaos. 

And then, it happened . . . Big Gary decided that the island's durability truly required testing.  In a move that I am sure the kitchen designers did not have in mind, he decided to take the dinner party to a higher level.

I thought this would be only a passing moment of hilariousness, especially when Gary started to try to convince Melissa, the mildest mannered of the group, that she should also test the island's durability.  I knew that was not going to happen. . .right?

Perhaps not . . .

Surely, this chaos that had overcome our quiet evening would end soon.  I looked to my still grounded colleagues for guidance, only to find that the entire room was succumbing to the joyous dance. 

Was this the rapture?  Was the preacher right??  What was to become of the next course if everyone in the kitchen was planning on trying out for the sequel Midnight at the Roxbury??

And then, mercifully, Chef Chris called the house to order, albeit briefly, by announcing the arrival of the Halibut.

People sat for a few moments and enjoyed the wonderful dish, while catching a breath or two.  The party had peaked and people were now going to simply wind down.  This was especially true because I did not imagine that Martha appreciated people on her island counter top . . . right Martha??

Wrong!!  The island adventure continued, with more and more individuals taking part in the dance.  

At one point I turned to make a comment to Mollie, only to find that she had been seduced by the mob coupled with the sweet sounds of Ke$ha.

People managed to continue partying while periodically taking sporadic breaks to eat the rest of the courses.  The food continued to be fantastic, but the chef was no longer of any assistance in bringing order to the group.  At one point, I believe he and his crew also caught the fever.

This truly was like no other dinner (or birthday) party I had attended.  I think I speak for all of us when I say that we are looking forward to the next time Gary, Jr. decides to have another quiet gathering. . .

Will be posting the featured recipe in the next day or two.  .  .   

1 comment: