Thursday, February 12, 2009

Traipsing Down Truffle Lane at Vidalia

So Matt and I decided to get together for dinner at Vidalia. We'd talked about the restaurant before, but hadn't had the opportunity to go there together. I'd been there a couple of times with family. We tried to get reservations for Restaurant Week where the menu we had would have been a bit less expensive, but resos for Vidalia during restaurant week are harder to find that honest politicians. Matt and me at the beginning of the meal...we started out with a reasonable bottle of rose champagne. Matt is a great dining companion as he's happy to keep passing every course back and forth. With this strategy we were both privy to 10 courses of Vidalia's finest. That didn't count the amuse bouche or the tasty confections at the end.



Jeff Buben, Chef/Owner, was working in the kitchen that night. Great to see chefs actually working in their restaurants. He's got two, and I know, he can't be in both places at the same time, but it's still a nice touch. Not that I don't trust his exec, R.J. Cooper.



So we start with an Amuse Bouche. The item on the left was a puff filled with a creamy, warm cheese. The one on the right was a sardine with some Parmesan and something else...pardon my lapse of memory here. Yes, I ate the sardine.



Next was a pappardelle with rabbit bacon and fresh black Perigord truffles.


The bib lettuce salad with a truffled honey dressing.



After that, came the fois gras. Drabs of honey and an apple compote. That went very well with the champagne.



Very nice presentation. I had to step back and get a picture of the whole plate for you.







This is the cullot of beef. It's the outside rim of a piece of prime rib. It's heavily marbled, but the way they cooked it most of the fat had rendered. They cut it off, tie it into a pinwheel, and broil.




Wow....couldn't pass this up. This is truffled mac and cheese. He uses some tasso, panko, and more truffles. This dish was actually one of the two dishes I remember from my first meal here in 2001 or 2002. If you go, get it.



The Dover Sole was flavored well, but it tasted like it had been left under the heat lamp for a little to long. This was the only disappointment of the meal.



Yellowfin Potatoes? I'd never heard of them, but it had truffles on it, so we included it in the ad hoc tasting menu. Nice.



This is one of the ubiquitous dishes at Vidalia. Shrimp and Grits. The grits are cheezy, the shrimp still have their heads, and the Andoulie is awesome.


Always a southern favorite, pecan pie.



The dessert de' resistance: Lemon Chess Pie. This is the other thing I remember from my first visit here. I'm not a big fan of citrus desserts and am generally a chocolate kind of guy, but this is unbelievable. The texture is something that I have tried, and failed, to duplicate many times.

I've spoken with Jeff about it and he says it can't be duplicated without commercial equipment. I'm a believer.




As if all of that weren't enough, they send you out the door with some home made confections. Matt and I only shared the one bottle of bubbly and we're both big boys, but we were buzzed. If you've ever had a food buzz, you'll know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, try Vidalia's tasting menu. Tell Jeff I sent you.


Thanks for reading. I'm not sure what the next post will be, but I hope you come back to read it.


Until then...

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