Thursday, October 28, 2010

What's Up With "Nose to Tail" Eating?

What’s the deal with “nose to tail” dining?

It was started by an English chef, Fergus Henderson, who wanted to use the neglected parts of the animal when cutting meat. Although, nose to tail dining is British, the wines that accompany the meal are traditionally French.

The dishes served during a nose to tail meal are called “offal” dishes. Offal, from the Germanic word garbage or “off-fall” means the parts that remain after the meat is butchered.

So you may be thinking at this point…why would someone want to go to a meal like this?

Ferguson’s cuisine received a rave review from Anthony Bourdain, of “No Reservations” in his book Kitchen Confidential, “If I’m ever sentenced to death, I want Fergus Henderson to cook my last meal. The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating is a cult classic from my favorite chef and favorite restaurant in the world.”

Credited as “The World’s Most Influential Chef” in the Men’s Journal, Henderson is known as the offal king and was quoted in The Eater National, ““I like organs; they look like themselves...Kidneys, there’s a magical squeak, when you bite them, and then a give...I believe it’s that squeak that acts as a sort of…Cupid to me." Looks like you’ll have to bring your fangs out if you plan to try this British fad!

Doesn’t it seem appropriate that on Halloween to eat parts of an animal you wouldn’t usually consider to think of as edible? Ever tried lamb brains or roasted bone marrow? Here’s your chance!

“Nose to Tail” eating comes to the Giorgio Restaurant and Bar in Cary!

To celebrate the Fall season and Halloween, Giorgio will be hosting a "Nose to Tail" dinner, Sunday October 31st from 6:30 to 10featuring a variety of offal dishes. Guests will be seated together with the Chef and staff joining them to enjoy a family-style meal celebrating some of their favorite scary foods!

By Margaret Farley

My Restaurant Guru Intern at NC State University

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spice Route Family Meal

Chef Sean McCarthy attended Culinary school
Johnson and Wales in Charlotte.

Sunday August 29th, 2010:: Chef Sean at Giorgio Restaurant in Cary hosted my first attended Family Meal (which was actually his second)

The idea of Family Meal stems from the family meal the restaurant staff members have on a regular basis. Where the kitchen prepares food and gathers the staff to swap stories and basically come together as a family unit. Chef Sean has extended this meal to a limited number of guests and creates a meal based on what he would cook for his close friends. So here is the tale of a Sunday night when the restaurant is closed to the public but open for 30 lucky little heathens.

Hubby and I enter the scene quite timidly. It’s obvious that many of the folks know each other and talk and laugh jovially. Belly up to the bar and I over hear this edgy-quasi-Adam Lambert looking bartender explain his love of rose. His words take me away to a vineyard as he describes how the grape was grown, what to expect from rain if the vine is on a slope or in a valley and describes the finish as kissed with citrus. I am in awe as exclaims, “You know, it’s difficult for a single heterosexual in the South to drink pink wine. But I love it.” I get a tingly sensation and officially have a wine crush on my sommelier for his candor.

Chef Sean welcomes the group and explains our dinner. We will experience Spice Route Seafood. The side room double doors open to our long white linen table. First course Kumomoto Oysters. These little buggers look small (about the size of a silver dollar), but they have a wallop of flavor. Plain, these guys are briny salty as if I had swallowed the sea.  Splash a little mignonette of champagne vinegar, local melon, shallot and pickled watermelon rind I’m ready to take my close off. There are 150 of these oysters and I restrain myself not to over-take.

Second course is Salmon Ceviche. It doesn’t sound nor look too exciting. It’s deep red from the Harissa paste Sous Chef Carrie made from reconstituted dry chilis. It’s mixed with walnuts, cilantro and mint. I’m critical. This doesn’t look like the juicy ceviche I’m used to…and made with salmon? But, one bite and I’m convinced. This dish was banging! Definitely my top two ceviche of all time. So, so good and admit it was my favorite course of the meal.   

Hamachi Sashimi was another unusual pairing of fresh local peaches and hot chili oil. This was not a flavor combination I would have mashed together, but it worked. The texture of the yellowtail and the peach swam together harmoniously and the flaky salt set it all off.

The Octopus a la plancha was daring, well at least for me. The thick purple and white tentacles popped on a salad of arugula, pickled red onion and saffron aioli. The texture was delicate and soft. Not chewy whatsoever.

The visually impressive Ethiopian Seafood Stew were huge bowls heaping with prawns that could choke a horse, mussels, calamari rings in a deep red berbere broth, a spice mixture whose ingredients usually include chile peppers, ginger, cloves, coriander, and allspice. Spooned on to our plates the broth quickly took over like the broken levees in Ninth Ward.  White rice was called in for reinforcements. Nobody dared to waste a drop.

And the pièce de résistance was the three (yes, count em THREE) whole black grouper. Each grouper was lovingly massaged with a Moroccan spice and served with an orange fennel relish.  Chef tenderly dressed the fish and saved the cheek for yours truly. I let the sweet, fleshy moist cheek roll in my mouth. I levitated.

I wasn’t the only one levitating. I looked around and noticed the conversation subsided and everyone on my side of the table had a smirkey, cat that ate the canary look plastered across their faces.  I think instead of a family meal, I just embarked on my first decadent food orgy, and I liked it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fleming's Steakhouse::As seen in Wake Living Magazine

FlemingsFleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar opened next to Crabtree Valley Mall in October 2008. The eatery features an extensive wine list and USDA, corn-fed prime beef that’s aged up to four weeks.
photo: Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

Wine and dine

Fleming’s takes dining experience up a notch

by Christie Hadden

There are flavors that are bold by themselves, but when coupled with another they can turn into something exotic, magical, and wonderful. Take steak and wine, for example. Independently, they are striking and alluring, but bring the two together and you have one tantalizing tango — a blend of flavors that can heighten, balance, and reset your flavor palate.

For such an experience, take your taste buds to Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, which offers contemporary twists on the classic steakhouse.

A memorable feast
The entire dining area at Fleming’s is an open room with a view of the kitchen and a wall of wine consisting of 100 varieties available by the glass. There’s also more than 80 reserve bottles selected especially for the Raleigh eatery, which is located next to Crabtree Valley Mall.

Fleming’s extensive wine list is manageable and approachable, progressively organized by grape from light to full-bodied with denotations for wines that are organic, sustainable, and biodynamic.

At Fleming’s, each associate’s goal is to create a memorable feast for diners.

“Hospitality is a critical piece of the dining experience,” says Rebecca Blake, who has served as Fleming’s operating partner since it opened in October 2008.

Aiming to please the changing palates of today’s diners, the restaurant offers healthy items and manageable portions. Everything is á la carte, with sides like chipotle macaroni and cheese and Fleming’s potatoes, a house specialty with cream, jalapeños, and cheddar cheese.

The star of the show, though, is the USDA, corn-fed prime beef that’s aged up to four weeks. It is naturally juicy, marbled and prepared to each diner’s specifications.

At Fleming’s Bar, five cocktails, five wines by the glass and five appetizers are available for $6 each until 7 p.m. daily. Appetizers are full-sized portions of items like Carpaccio, ahi tuna and jumbo shrimp cocktail. Its seasonal Prix Fixe dinner includes a choice of signature entrée, appetizer and dessert. For prime-rib lovers, Sunday is the day to head to the restaurant.

“If you’re looking to impress, then order the lobster tempura, chilled seafood tower and lava cake for that ‘wow’ factor,” Blake says.

Private dining is available for up to 70 seated or 120 standing guests, while video conferencing provides a live feed to multiple locations for presentations.

Charity also matters to Fleming’s. Once a month, it partners with area nonprofits to host Wine on Wednesday, where five types of wine are offered at a reduced price; 100 percent of the proceeds go toward a featured charity. 

Christie Hadden is founder of My Restaurant Guru, a Triangle-based Web site that connects people with area restaurants. To learn more, visit

Lump Crab Louis Wraps

(serves five)

For the Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons ketchup
1/8-teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/8-teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon sun-dried tomato coulis (see recipe below)
Pinch kosher salt
1/2-pinch ground black pepper
2 tablespoons pomace oil

Combine mayonnaise, ketchup, red wine and apple cider vinegars, sweet pickle relish, sun-dried tomato coulis, kosher salt, and black pepper in a food processer. Pulse mixture until smooth; scrape down the sides. With the motor running, slowly add oil until incorporated. Place into a container and refrigerate.

For the Wraps:
5 butter lettuce cups
2 1/2 teaspoons vinaigrette dressing
2 1/2 ounces super lump crab meat
1 avocado, diced to a quarter of an inch
2 1/2 teaspoons bacon, cooked and crumbled
15 grape tomatoes, halved
1 hard-boiled egg, grated
3 stems chives, one-inch bias cut

Remove outer leaves and core from butter lettuce head. Separate inside leaves into lettuce cups, then split in half to about 2 to 2 1/2 inches wide. Wash, drain and keep chilled until needed.

Place one lettuce cup each on five small plates, and spoon 1/2-teaspoon of vinaigrette into the bottom of each lettuce cup. Place 1/2-ounce of super lump crab meat on top of the dressing in each cup.

Place 1/2-teaspoon of diced avocado on top of the crab, then sprinkle with 1/2-teaspoon of bacon bits. Cut grape tomatoes in half lengthwise, and place three on top of each cup.

Grate 1/2-teaspoon of the egg over each cup, and place three to four chives on top of each.

For the Sun-dried Tomato Coulis:
1 ounce roasted red pepper, canned
1/2-ounce sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons Chardonnay
1 1/2 ounces water
1 teaspoon sugar

Drain peppers and place into a saucepan with sun-dried tomatoes, wine, water, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for 2 minutes. Pour into a blender and mix until smooth. 

If you go

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is located at 4325 Glenwood Ave. next to Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh. Hours are 5-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 4-9 p.m. Sunday. To learn more, call (919) 571-6200 or visit