I had the honor of eating at this restaurant on Saturday night with my parents. I had gone up that morning to head up to Kennett Square, PA for the Mushroom Festival. We unfortunately missed Antonia Lofaso from Top Chef‘s demonstration, but we did get to see her at the book signing tent. We did get to see Dana Herbert of Desserts by Dana do a demonstration of non-pastry items. None of it was vegetarian, so I wasn’t really invested. Nothing was really new at the festival from previous years, but there are some really cool exhibits on growing mushrooms, the different kinds of mushrooms that are grown in the area, and there are a TON of local vendors. My mom and I totally stocked up on some aged balsamic vinegar, she got a bunch of other vinegars, and I got a sun-dried tomato oil as well. We also tried some hot sauces. I went for the sauces starting at medium and worked up to hot/extra-hot. I didn’t go for ones that ghost peppers in them. But what did my mom do? She went for the ghost pepper hot sauce first. And then she had the hiccups :).
I digress… So, that evening we went to Square 1682as my mom had bought a vegetable tasting (6 courses plus a glass of sparkling wine!) for two and knew my dad wasn’t going to be thrilled to have to eat all those veggies. So, I was the beneficiary of this lovely offer! What’s especially cool about this place is that it is a LEED certified restaurant. They recycle everything they can, compost, and make pretty much all their preserves and pickles in-house. Also, the chef is committed to sustainable fishes, local meats and cheeses, and choosing in season vegetables. If that doesn’t sell you to the idea of going to the restaurant, maybe this will… My brother is a chef there! He’s been there for a while, but I haven’t had a chance to eat there. So, I not only got to eat there, he actually made some of my food!
We ordered drinks to start. I ordered the Blue Sage which was tequila (yum!), blueberries, sage, lime, and coconut sugar. I really like tequila, so I enjoyed the drink, but I felt like it needed more blueberry or some other flavor if the goal was for the drink to not taste just like tequila. We had an order of the truffle oil popcorn with citrus salt sent to our table. It is super good, so I definitely recommend it to
share. Our first course was a beet salad. This was not just any beet salad. It had thinly sliced yellow beets, locally sourced goat cheese, frisee, pine nuts, and red beet puree. But the puree was from pickled beets, which I don’t normally like. But they had been pickled in honey, so were really sweet! This salad was amazing. I could have totally eaten a huge thing of this (my brother actually made this salad!). The breads were then put on the table. It was an interesting mix of lavash, sourdough ,and focaccia.
There was butter and garlic infused olive oil to dip them in. I wish I could make my bread that light and fluffy… The next course was a super creamy carrot saffron soup with celery and celery root. This soup is actually vegan! It looks and tastes like there is cream in there, but apparently if you puree veggies with a touch of oil, you end up with a super creamy base. I loved the celery and celery root topping on the soup. It added a needed amount of texture and salt to the soup.
The next course was a tomato tart. There was this amazing grilled tomato with a tough of ricotta salata on top of puff pastry. The tomato looked like meat. It was a little unnerving. I had to touch it with my fork a few times before I actually ate it. There was a lovely arugula salad on the side (a little heavy on the salt, but I love salt) along with some pesto and tomato sauce puree on the plate as well. The tomato was smokey from the grill, which was complemented nicely by the ricotta. The arugula was nice and peppery, and the dish was really nice over all. The second entrée was a stuffed cabbage roll. It
had mashed potatoes and black eyed peas inside with some finely diced pickled vegetables on top. There was also some kind of vegetable puree and it tasted like a pepper (not spicy) infused oil on the plate. Those two parts were honestly the only misses of the evening. Not that they were bad, but I don’t think they added to the dish. I loved the acid and bite the pickled veggies added to what could be a fairly bland cabbage roll.
Next up was our first dessert. It was a peach tart topped with grilled peaches and a side of peach gelato and brown butter diced peaches. I REALLY loved the grilled peaches on top. Unfortunately my phone didn’t take a great picture of this, so I don’t
have a photo to post. My dad actually ended up ordering this as his dessert he thought it looked that great. Our second dessert was a duo of sorbet with some diced strawberries. One was this coconut, which I found slightly gritty to start but had a great finish for taste. The second was a pomegranate berry one. This was amazing. In fact it was so amazing my mom went to take some of mine and ended up knocking over a glass of water. It was pretty humorous. And we capped off the night with a glass of sparkling wine. It was really nice. All in all, I had an amazing meal, I was full but not stuffed, and I had a great time with my parents.