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Le Bailliage du Greater Washington, DC Chapter

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1789 Restaurant – A Culinary Explosion of Color and Artistry

April 15, 2015

By Claudette Veronica Ferron, Vice Chargée de Presse, Bailliage of Greater Washington, D.C.

An exquisite epicurean revelry among the blossoms unfolded when the Greater Washington, D.C., Bailliage shared in a joyous fine dining experience on April 15th at 1789 Restaurant, one of Washington’s superlative dining establishments. Under the direction and artistry of Executive Chef Samuel Kim, 1789 surpassed its reputation for decadently wrapping unparalleled new world cuisine and old world service in singular charm and history.

Enjoying Chef Kim’s unrivaled aesthetic re-creation of classic dishes, the Bailliage welcomed spring with a jubilant flourish. The lyrical and effusive orchestrations of Vivaldi’s Concerto No.1, Four Seasons – Spring Movement, seemed to float whimsically through the air as members and guests of the Bailliage frolicked in the dazzling creativity of Chef Kim’s painterly beautiful and deliciously edible compositions. With the grace of Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies” and the vibrancy of Giverny itself, Chef Kim captured the essence and sheer joy of spring with every course.

Beginning with the passed hors d’oeuvres, the meal blossomed as delicately and deliciously as the words of Theophile Gautier in his poem “Springtime.” Like the bud-laden boughs of Washington’s Cherry Blossom Basin each hors d’oeuvre burst forth with visual delicacy and delightfully rejuvenating flavors – stimulating palates to entreat le jardinier gastronomique to surrender more of his bounty. The vibrant chilled Spring pea soup was as refreshing as morning dew on a tender mint leaf, and the foie gras on brioche was a playful spring picnic in one marvelous morsel. The smoked black cod on crisp rye topped with caviar was as flawless as a mountain snow melting into babbling brooks where tiny new fish dance, and the beef tartar on a beef tendon puff, was reminiscent of billowy clouds floating above the heads of newborn calves sunning in a country meadow. And just as a sun-shower brings life and sparkle as it rains, each delicious appetizer was made even more delightful by its pairing with Gosset Champagne Brut Excellence NV (Champagne France) a light and floral sparkler.

Then, scoffing at the forgotten dreariness of winter, Chef Kim enchanted diners with a spectacular display of brilliant visual artistry and exquisite flavors, as garden fresh ingredients became “Little Dancers” and the senses became the setting for an epicurean masterballet.

Beginning with beautiful citrus cured Norwegian Salmon crudo frolicking in a delicate bed of varietal beets, bright horseradish and loamy Burgundy Truffles, adeptly paired with a 2008 Didier Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly (Loire Valley, France), a subtle wine with gentle citrus notes, diners were invited to bask in the enticements of a newly blossomed culinary arbor. Next, luscious Burgundy snails and Parmigiano Reggiano laced gnocchi nestled in a tender wild ramps sauce, gently cradling indulgent smoked quail eggs. Like the soft leaves of a young succulent caressing an emerging bud, the pairing with a vibrant 2012 Daniel & Martine Barraud Pouilly-Fuisse en France (Burgundy France) charmed palates with hints of peach and mango, carefully nurturing the delicate flavors. The perfectly braised Berkshire pork belly, Spanish octopus and chorizo with fragrant smoked paprika reveling in a verdant mélange of delightful English spring peas, heirloom carrots and Lilliputian greens, yielded an inspired contrast of flavors and textures as ebullient as Monet’s Lilies, was skillfully paired with a 2009 La Crema Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley, California), a delightfully robust wine with a hint of spice and red fruit notes. The final savory course was a masterpiece of culinary painterly imagination. Delectable D'Artagnan duck breast encircled with a black trumpet mushroom marmalade, cushioned by a piquant pistachio foie gras truffle, luxuriating beside a flavor-filled medley of pancetta wrapped duck heart, caramel apple and smoked Honshimeji mushrooms, evoked images of a downy young duckling playfully snuggling with its mother in a glistening woodland pond. And finally, as a fresh spring breeze wafts in the sweet perfume of daffodils and tulips, the dulcet dessert course gently conveyed the delicate essence of bright and refreshing flavors to end the meal. Like diaphanous clouds in a pale blue sky, a gossamer quenelle of vanilla bean cremeux floated softly amid poached rhubarb, a delicately crisp meringue, a fragile ginger crunch, and a sweet brown butter powder dusted the juniper and rhubarb sorbet, like the last snowflake of winter clings hopelessly to a tender bud on a warming spring morning. The quintessential spring dessert was made all the more divine by its artful companionship of a subtle 2012 Domaine de Guillaman Frisson d'Automme (Cotes de Gascogne, France), with bright citrus and apricot flavors, and balanced and refreshing acidity.

In short Chef Kim’s fête de printemps was a magnum opus, each course a chef d’oeuvre for the five senses. The members and guests of the Bailliage were lavished with breathlessly awaited culinary impressionist delights, as worthy of superlatives as the first visions of spring in the gardens of Versailles. The enjoyment was furthered by the enlightening comments made by Vice Echanson des Etats Unis Honoraire Tony Busalacchi during the meal regarding the wine pairings, which had been so artfully arranged by Vice Echanson Ellen Kirsh.

Finally, the bar has been set very high for Bailliage’s next event on May 13, 2015, at Trummers on Main in Clifton Virginia. On their return visit to Trummers, the Bailliage will again trust their discerning palates to Chef Rotisseur Austin Fausett who was recently nominated a Rising Culinary Star by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMMY). Chef Austin also won the Chaîne’s Mid-Atlantic Les Jeunes Commis just a few years ago, when he was the Sous Chef at the Inn at Little Washington cooking with Master Chef Patrick O’Connell. And surely, there will be no disappointment as the Bailliage continues its springtime epicurean dalliance at the charming, light-filled restaurant in a picture postcard perfect setting.

A closing tribute to spring:

Le Printemps
Par Théophile Gautier

Regardez les branches comme elles sont blanches. Il neige des fleurs.
Riant de la pluie, le soleil essuie les saules en pleurs.
Et le ciel reflate dans la violette ses pures couleurs…
La mouche ouvre l’aile, et la demoiselle aux prunelles d’or au corset de guêpe,
dépliant son crêpe, a repris l’essor.
L’eau gaiement babille, le goujon frétille. Un printemps encore!

Look at the boughs, how white they are. It’s snowing flowers!
Scoffing at the rain, the sun dries the weepy willow.
And the sky reflects in the violets its pure colors…
The fly opens its wings, and the dragonfly with golden pupils and the wasp-like corset,
unfolding its silky wings, has resumed its flight.
The water happily babbles and the tiny fish wriggles. It’s Springtime again!

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