Monday, December 28, 2009

New Jersey, Times Three, At the Beard House

By Pat Tanner

In coming weeks three eminent Garden State chefs will take over the kitchen at the esteemed James Beard House, putting their best foot forward and doing the state proud. Making reservations now provides us foodies something delicious to look forward to in the dull, dark post-holiday days ahead.

First up, on Saturday, January 23, is Michael Giletto of Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman. This television-savvy chef, whom you may have caught on an episode of “Chopped,” or assisting “Iron Chef” Cat Cora, is mounting a fennel fete. Every dish in his five-course-plus dinner, for which one of his “Chopped” competitors is producing the dessert, features either fennel the vegetable or fennel pollen. How does Fennel Aspic with Caramel Brioche, Fried Salsify, and Tarragon Mayonnaise sound? And that’s just one of the hors d’oeuvres! Cost: $165 ($125 for members of the James Beard Foundation).

Following on Giletto’s heels, on Tuesday evening, January 26, are the Pluckemin Inn’s Juan Jose Cuevas and Joseph Gabriel, who will focus on farm-fresh New Jersey products, among them Pluckemin Mozzarella with Marinated New Jersey Cauliflower and Buttermilk-poached Griggstown Chicken Breast with Rice Polenta and Black Truffles. As with all these Beard House meals, this one will be paired with exceptional wines: Champagne to start and, for the chicken dish – the poultry course in a meal of seven or eight - Joseph Drouhin Chorey-Les Beaune 2006. Cost: $165, or $125 for JBF members.

Next up, on Friday, February 19, is lunch at high noon by Hoboken’s Anthony Pino. Although best known for the Dining Room at Anthony David’s, Chef Pino will feature dishes from his newest enterprise, Bin 14, a very cool and very delicious wine bar-trattoria. Among the starters is Rocchetta [arugula] Gnocchi with Chianti Cherries, while the centerpiece of the four-course luncheon consists of Baby Lamb Chops with Brussels Sprout Petals and Autumn Polenta. Zeppole with Espresso Semifreddo caps off this midday festa. Cost: $90, or $75 for JBF members.

All three events take place at James Beard’s Greenwich Village townhouse at 167 West 12th Street, New York. Reservations must be made in advance. To see the full menus and to make reservations, visit or phone the Beard House at 212.627.2308.

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