Sunday, January 16, 2011

Good food pops up with Eat Boston

Last night we ate at a restaurant that didn't exist on Thursday and won't exist tomorrow. The event was Eat at Bloc 11, a three-day pop-up, with Will Gilson of Garden at the Cellar at the helm.

(Here's co-founder Aaron Cohen talking about the Eat Boston mission.)

The previous Eat Boston dinner took place at a furniture store, with Will cooking in a food truck; this one was probably a little easier from a kitchen-logistics perspective, as Bloc 11 is a cafe with a lot of prep space.

We arrived a little early, and so got to see the busy team putting the final touches to the table settings.

The space is gorgeous — high and open, with lots of exposed brick and cozy corners. Bloc 11 used to be a bank, and still has the safe (which has been transformed into a dining area):

This was a one-seating-only night; to keep us going until everyone arrived, the staff passed around thick slices of a garlicky pork terrine topped with mustard.

(There were other passed hors d'oeuvres — which, by the way, is the correct spelling, people! — but somehow we weren't in the right place to flag them down. Looked nice, though.)

And then we began: a delicate, whiskey-cured smoked salmon with dense squares of sunchoke rösti, tiny, lightly pickled mushrooms and a balancing swirl of crème fraiche.

Next, sweet roasted pumpkin with a bright, citrus note that harmonized with nutty pumpkin seeds and fried sage leaves, finished with a rich dressing of brown butter.

Here's Will, plating the pumpkin:

The next dish was listed as "Parsnip and potato 'latte' with chestnuts, thyme and cocoa nib powder."

This worried me slightly, as the last time I had food pretending to be a coffee drink, it was a terrible, terrible bacon cappuccino at Gargoyles (what's with the crappy test website?) that was essentially a cup of oil with meat at the bottom. Yeah, I'm not a big Gargoyles fan.

I needn't have worried. This dish was a creamy, foamy, fragrant mug of root-vegetable comfort.

And then the main: coffee-rubbed pork tenderloin, served with fresh edamame and a complex, warming beet mole. The beans were unexpected, but worked well, giving some freshness to a dish more traditionally accompanied by a dried bean.

And finally, dessert: a delicately flavored espresso pot de crème, served with a chunk of vanilla cake, a scatter of crunchy cashew crumble and a schmear of creamy coconut.

As I'll explain in my next post, this was likely my last really special meal for a while. I'd hoped for something memorable. And that's what we got.

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Blogger jess said...

Lovely post, as always. What a wonderful thing - to have a once in a lifetime experience like that. It's like theater, dinner-style. Sending warm thoughts from here. :)

1:49 PM  

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