This past week I had the great pleasure of sneaking away from the restaurant and heading down to Mohegan Sun Casino. If you've been following Chefs Daily Food Bank, I won an iron chef like cooking competition at Mohegan Sun at last years Sun Wine Festival. One of the prizes was a two day stay at the hotel and dinner at Todd Englishs' Tuscany.
My wife and I also really enjoyed the food and time we spent at another place at the casino, Lucky's Lounge. Lucky's was a true lounge with great lounge food and a great atmosphere. NY Style pizza, great salads and Strong drinks!!! Sometimes as a chef, its great to relax and have some great good ole American pub fare.
One of the highlights for me was Tuscany, This is where I think Chef Todd English is at his best, hearty refined Italian cuisine.
I started with a beef carpaccio with tomato jam, dehydrated olives and roasted garlic ice cream, this was a great start to the meal...let me back up, the great start came when we received big plate of white bean puree with the focaccia!!!!
We then had a great antipasto plate that consisted of soppressata, marinated fresh mozzarella, bread sticks, dried cranberries, walnuts and whole grain mustard. Again another great hit.
For the main courses, Nicole had a good ole bowl of spaghetti & meatballs " Brooklyn Style" & I had a braised kurobota pork shank w/ barley and salsify. Both of these were great. And to finish... a great vanilla gelato and fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, I can honestly say probably some of the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever had (sorry mom).
SO whats the point???? Im not a restaurant critic....
I feel that in the Tastings kitchen we are always trying to find a way to combine the new avant garde techniques with seasonal and classic dishes. Trying to impress with the unknown but make sure that there is some familiarity within the dishes themselves.
During our getaway, I realized tat sometimes its okay to not use "hydrocolloids" it doesn't have to be vacuum sealed or cooked sous vide. Just make sure that the ingredients are the very best you can get, you treat the ingredients with respect and the ingredients will shine on there own. Everywhere we ate during our stay there was a common ground, simple, perfectly prepared cuisine....who would of thought.