Tuesday, April 27, 2010
JCT Kitchen lunch
(Photos by Thomas James Photography & Video Productions)
On a very wet and dreary day a trio of foodies sought refuge in a self described southern bistro. Out of the rain and into the impeccably designed space of JCT Kitchen we were refreshed and renewed and ready to have our palates awakened by chef Ford Fry and Chef de Cuisine Brian Horn. As always, nothing was amiss. Food, service and atmosphere did not disappoint.
Sharing all of our dishes allowed us to experience more flavors. Family style is the way to go especially in a bistro serving traditional southern food (with flare). First up, JCT salad-romaine, green beans, spiced pecans and apples. This is usually served with a buttermilk dressing, but I opted for a lighter vinaigrette which enhances the flavors more. I was already aware that JCT makes every effort to acquire fresh from the farm ingredients that are local and my first fresh bite proved as much. Enter a glass of St. Supery Sauvingnon Blanc and the salad reached new heights. Napa Valley St. Supery is crisp, velvety (how can it be both? dunno but it is)and a go to wine for salads and spicy food. It is very fruit forward, zero oak. I always taste something different with this wine; Sometimes pear, sometimes apple and always mineral notes (which I love). There is a scent/taste (you know, when you taste a smell or smell a taste) that is floral, grassy. Tastes of outside like honeysuckle off the vine.
We also tried the Shrimp and Avocado salad with fresh Georgia white shrimp. This was a perfectly composed salad of bibb lettuce and fresh herbs, shrimp, avocados and a lemony vinaigrette. The shrimp were incredibly fresh, perfectly grilled and popping with flavor. About this time Ford came to our table to see how our food tasted. He really is a nice guy. He cooks great food, creates great restaurants, supports local farms AND he is a good guy. We only wished Brian Horn had been around today so we could say hi.
Pimento cheese toast came next and we all agreed that this was a hearty serving. The table was silent as we feasted on the thick toast piled high with perfect pimento cheese and fresh arugula. Were those shaved sunchokes on top? I saved a few pieces of my bread for what was next.
I have heard a lot about the angry mussels at JCT but I have never ordered them until now. I knew that Ford sourced his bacon from Alan Benton and that alone meant it would be delicious. The bacon is house cured and perfect alone but in a sea of serrano chiles and the juice of the mussels it melts in your mouth. The mussels were great, fresh, not overdone but what I really remember is the smoky bacony-serrano sauce that we sopped up with the crusty, rustic bread. When our server took away the bowl there was not a drop left.
We headed out the door with a lemonhead in hand to face the dreary day with full bellies and happy taste buds.