Sunday, August 8, 2010
Pizazz at Pumpkin Restaurant
We do business with Pumpkin Market on a regular basis. But Thursday night was my first time at the restaurant.
Whoa, I was really impressed. I found the dining room stylish and comfortable. Our server was warm and attentive and informed. The menu, with a focus on local, excellent quality ingredients, was both concise and intriguing.
There was a green gazpacho with peekytoe crab. Mmm chilly and bright with cucumber, pea, cilantro, avocado and other green ingredients. Against the vegetable puree, the crab bits' briny sweetness sang.
The beet salad was also just right for a toasty summer night. It had a cool puddle of beet gastrique and a wedge of Jasper Hill Blue. It was a little bit like my holiday beet salad!
Chef sent us an order of squid stemperata. I didn't know that word at all. Apparently it means stamped, referring to olives which are split. This dish was sort of like an antipasti salad with eggplant, basil, fennel and thinly sliced squid rings. It too was an excellent seasonal and cool dish for a hot night.
Next we had grilled quail. These were grilled to amazing perfection and seasoned just as deftly. I'm now embarrassed by how I hoarded and savored these birds. At the same time we had the watermelon salad with lime granita. This too was an outstanding dish. Pefectly in sync with the season and composed with local melons. The ice was packing perfect citrus zing. The melon sweetness and texture with the cilantro herbiness were astonishingly captivating and refreshing.
The lil lady had steak tartare. She lorded over it such that I didn't sample enough to comment.
We had haddock and swordfish. Both sweet, fresh and cooked to juicy just-done-ness. The summer vegetables with the sword and the 'corn chowder' with the haddock again show chef right on the money with best local stuff and a meticulously seasonal menu.
Finally the panna cotta with granola and berries and a frosty glass of basil ice cream ended the meal on a light, bright and tasty summery note.
Thanks Ian and Chris. Really fine cooking with an emphasis on local, fresh and the chef in the kitchen! As enjoyable and inventive as the best of the BYO's (Fond, BlackFish etc.)