Without a doubt, one of the greatest perks of being a food writer is getting invited to media dinners (or lunches, as the case may be). Granted, I tend to not take advantage of this particular perk very often and there are several reasons why. First, I don’t feel it’s fair to report on a meal where I was quite literally treated like royalty, something the average Joe is not likely to experience. Second, the whole encounter doesn’t really feel like my own if I didn’t pay for it. That being said, every once in a while on a whim, I will attend a lunch or dinner that will completely blow my socks off and my luncheon at the Fountain Lounge in the Roosevelt Hotel was exactly that.
Several months ago, my friend Lorin and I were invited to taste the creations of Chef Mark Marjorie at the Fountain Lounge and neither of us had the will to resist. After being seated in oh-so comfortable club chairs, we sat back and let the parade of good tastes begin.
They started us off with a charcuterie plate, all made in-house of course, featuring thinly-sliced guanciale, citrus-cured strips of salmon and our favorite, foie gras torchon. We gobbled everything on toasted slices of French bread and gluten-free rice crisps.
Next, we were served two Gulf oysters, one raw and the other char grilled, but both perfect in presentation and flavor. Then came the tuna tartare with grilled avocados, red pepper aioli and toasted nori (edible seaweed).
Then, almost before we could take a breath, out comes something I had never tried before, a roasted marrow bone split in half, glistening and waiting patiently for me to discover the new-found pleasures contained therein. I was nervous at first, if you’ve ever seen roasted bone marrow, you’d understand. It looks like a slab of fat resting inside a bone when, in fact, it’s likely one of the most decadent and delicious meat products I have ever enjoyed in my life. It was like a rich, delicious meat-butter that you can smear on bread, crackers or simply scarf by the spoonful.
We also were treated to a pan-roasted sea scallop with fresh peas and pearl barley and a braised beef short rib with Jefferson Stout glace and fried oysters, Lorin and I enjoyed everything that passed through our lips, even the beautiful, hand-made truffles they offered us for dessert. This little media lunch that I wasn’t even sure I’d attend turned out to be, hands down, one of the best meals I had in 2014. Sure hope 2015 is ready to top it!