Every now and then we purchase a chef's dinner at a charity event and this past fall we had the pleasure of buying Chef Harper McClure of The Federalist (www.thefederalistdc.com), now the only restaurant in Washington DC's Madison Hotel. We had a superb meal there last month, but last night was one of the most wonderful events we have had at our home in a long time!
We started with Israeli Osetra Caviar and US Paddleback. It was fun to contrast the flavors and quality, and of course, the Osetra won hands down. This newly developed Israeli industry is my first taste of the new divine fish egg import, and it is very high quality indeed. Blanc de Blanc Schramsberg 2008 from California flowed freely as we all gathered.
Our first course was a SCALLOP CRUDO with Citrus Salad & Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette. It was fairly light, but even the huge thinly sliced raw diver scallops had a heft and superb taste that paired wonderfully with the slightly citrus-y Sauvignon Blanc 2011 from Elizabeth Spencer in Napa Valley.
Next came one of the best Foie Gras dishes we have ever had due to many factors, but clearly the chef's love and devotion to this dish shone through: Perfectly Seared La Belle Farms FOIE GRAS from Long Island was served with divine CHESTNUT AGNELOTTI with Asian Pear over a Sunchoke Puree. I adore chestnuts and with all the cold last night, this was a wonderful warming and heartfelt dish that exuded great cooking to the best! "Bouche D'or" Bouchaine 2010, a wonderful sweet Napa Valley dessert wine that was again a wonderful pairing.
Butter Poached MAINE LOBSTER had a decadent Mascarpone RISOTTO with shaved Radish and White Truffle Butter. Need I say more? Yes, this all seems like everything was intensely rich, and while it may have been we were resting between courses and really enjoying not only the company, but the wonderful knowledge of the folks from The Federalist, a place you must try soon. Mersault, Domaine Henri Darnat 2009 was again a simply perfect pairing. I should mention that Samuel was enjoying a house salad during all this (prepared by moi!).
Samuel's main course was especially prepared by Chef Harper and he gobbled up his favorite Chicken Tenders in town with French Fries of course! We, on the other hand, were treated to a Duo of Dry Aged RIBEYE: Roasted Eye and Cap Roulade with Roasted Trumpet Mushrooms, Swiss Chard and Madeira Jus. A superb and just ready to drink 2003 CHATEAU SIMARD from St. Emilion was our one but perfect red wine for the night. The meat was superb and both preparations were so different it was like having two more courses. The eye was slightly rare and as tender as could be with tons of flavor and a real aged taste. The cap was like having a prime rib crust stuffed and rolled; I adored the slight crispiness on the edge.
Dessert was thankfully light but still excellent: Greek Yogurt PANNA COTTA with Roasted PINEAPPLE, Marcona Almond Puree and Shortbread Cookie. While the panna cotta was great, it was the puree of almonds (think almond butter with a crunch or something akin to Skippy crunchy, but thinner and with a big almond bang) that was the hit. Vidal Ice Wine from Jackson Triggs in Niagara Canada was a treat as we love this place since we visited there last summer! It brought back such sweet memories!
I know that we will return again and again to The Federalist because it is one of the best places in town for sure, but it was even better having Chef Harper come to us and not have to cook or drive at all!