There were only hints of what we could anticipate when we received the invitation for our November 17, 2013, gathering at Angelo’s Bar & Grill. The phrase “peripatetic journey” sent us scurrying to our dictionaries to figure out what we might expect. Given Angelo’s outstanding reputation and stellar track record with Chaine events over the years, sixty-three of us took a leap of faith and headed to Clifton Park.
We were not disappointed! Surprises greeted us at every turn. Servers, looking like they had just stepped out of a Robert Palmer music video, welcomed us with bubbly. After the champagne reception that featured hors d’oeuvres organized around various themes such as “The Green House”, “Street Vendor” and “Savory Candy Land” by Executive Chef Michael Hinrichs, we progressed to our assigned tables only to find out that we would be moving to another room to begin a round robin of seven chef’s tables. Groups of nine diners spent 22 minutes at a uniquely composed table savoring a special course,that the chef plated and explained, before rotating to the next table. To keep us on track, a time clock was projected on a movie screen for all to see.
We sat on decorated bales of hay at a table festooned with daisies as Chef de Cuisine Matt Delos presented a tantalizing stuffed duck roulade with fennel kraut and foie gras rye gnocchi paired with Silver Thread Vineyard Riesling 2012. At Executive Chef Eric Tisaj’s table, an Asian flavor predominated as he served us Okinawa braised pork belly, celery root hash, sweet potato puree and red Asian slaw, accompanied by Hirsch Lamm Gruner Veltliner 2003.
Next came “Sex in the City”, an elegant setting for an elegant course. Executive Chef Courtney Withey created a delectable sous vide lamb loin with whipped eggplant, confit heirloom potatoes and crisped lamb sweetbreads. A rich and flavorful Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape 2006 rounded out the dish nicely. California casual was our next destination. Here, Executive Chef Frank Tardio delighted us with breaded veal cheeks, ricotta salata and polenta, matched with Bouchard Pere & Fils Pommard Cote de Beaune 2005. Nearly sated, we realized there were three tables yet to experience!
At the Steakhouse table, Executive Chef Ken Kehn served us Barolo braised beef short rib, sinful, yet crowd pleasing, crispy bone marrow croutons, plus pickled cashews and roasted beet ribbons. Of course, a Silvio Grasso Barolo 2009 was chosen to complement this yummy dish. Executive Chef Brian Molino’s table had a metro feel, a perfect foil to his upscale roasted venison loin and butter poached lobster medallions, enhanced by Chakana Wines Maipe Reserve Malbec 2012.
At Executive Chef Jason Saunder’s table, we revisited the Far East and enjoyed tempura battered scallops with braised oxtail, whipped taro root and ginger glazed carrots. The Davis Bynum River West Vineyard Chardonnay 2011 did this course justice.
Dessert was nothing less than performance art. As we reconvened at our pre-dinner tables, the chefs began to swirl sauces of cinnamon, raspberry and coconut around bars of flourless chocolate cake and custard filled PVC pipe sections, set on a mirrored tabletop. Large chunks of freeze-dried chocolate mousse were the final addition. How decadent! We were in awe of Angelo, Chef Rotisseur Jaime Ortiz, Maitre de Table Hotelier Mark Delos and all of the Executive Chefs as we thanked them for an imaginative and innovative evening that we will never forget!