Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Nectar Dinner Club

Every month to six weeks Julie Francis, Chef/Owner opens her restaurant, "Nectar", 1000 Delta Ave, 45208, for a special dinner. It is by reservation only and usually held once or twice. during a week or less. For this price fixed and set 5 course dinner the charge is $55/person. At each dinner Julie features one item, usually locally produced, and uses this ingredient in all the courses. In the past she has featured everything from mustard to asparagus. Last Thursday it was Chives, grown by Sallie Ransohoff.
The menu offered Vichyssoise with Shrimp and a chive Remoulade, Athena Melon with Smoked Prosciutto and a Chive vinaigreete, Smoked Wild Columbia River Salmon with Chive Corn Cakes and chive Veloute, Soy Glazed Pork Shoulder with Asian Stir-fry and a Garlic Chive/Herb salad and for desert Bing Cherry and Peach Tart with Honey and Chive Blossom Ice Cream.
Chives, to me, have a mild flavor and when mixed with other ingredients are too mild to have a noticeable presence. But I hand it to Julie for imagination and wonderfully prepared food.
The Vichyssoise was wonderfully smooth and creamy and a second bowl would not have been remiss, if I could have chosen to do that and skip the next course. The Melon, new to me, was reminiscent of ripe cantaloupe but softer and sweeter. I found the Salmon dry, but then I like mine medium rare and juicy, but the Chive Corn Cakes were a real treat, again I could have eaten more, although the 2 were more than ample.
Pork Shoulder was very good and compared favorably to that I had the week before at "Slims", which I thought excellent. And finally the Tart was another winner, warm, crisp and sweetend just enough as to not override the fruit.
Julie is wise enough to serve exactly the right amount to satisfy without a stuffed feeling. If you like interesting food get on the Nectar mailing list and attend several of these evenings and be your own judge, I really enjoy them and we have been joined by other couples whom I am sure feel the same way.
As a final historical note: I am old enough to remember sitting in Mechlenburg's Garden in the 1930's and 40's and eating "schmearcase" an extremely smooth cottage cheese, covered with Chives, spread on good Germany rye bread. Now that's the way to have Chives.

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