Tonight I found myself humming the famous song titled “Oh What A Night” by Four Seasons, all the way back home from yet another excellent event put together by CTBites in partnership with Chef Jamie Cooper of Bonda restaurant in Fairfield. It was a very exclusive tasting event presented by Chef Cooper showcasing some wonderful first course options that he is considering for his Winter 2012 menu. Our job was to try out his creations, and share some feedback. Tough job, I know … but someone had to do it.
I had never dined at Bonda before so I did not know what to expect. As the wonderful food started to come to the table, the first thought that hit me was that this chef really thinks outside the box. He forced us diners to get out of our comfort zones and try unusual pairings of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
Chef Cooper presented us with creative cocktails like “Milagro Silver Tequila with Scorched Grapefruit Puree and Cilantro-Mint-Jalapeno Simple Syrup” served with Chicken-Black-Bean-Cheddar Burrito, next came a “Caramelized 3-Citrus Juice with Cognac, Rum and Sparkling Wine” served with thick cut Potato French Fries and Blood Orange Gremolata Aioli , and finally a “Bacon Infused Bourbon with Maple Syrup and Bitters” which was served with Maple-Candied Bacon. I mean, who would have thunk?
We sampled delicious Chicken Yakitori with Sesame-Cucumber Salad. This very Asian-inspired dish was simply divine! There was a perfect little dollop of wasabi sauce on the side that did magical things to the dish and created a wonderful flavor profile.
We had Braised Lamb Risotto Fritters with a Spicy Tomato-Olive Sauce. This dish should definitely make it on the menu. It was truly unique and unexpected. A perfect example of how this chef takes a diner out of his/her comfort zone leaving them feeling pleasantly surprised.
My personal favorite was the last dish, a winter braise: Beef Short Ribs with Carrots, Celery and Celery Leaf Salad, topped with a very delicate Blood Orange Vinaigrette. For a special surprise touch it was topped with Black Olive Bread Crumbs. The heartiness of the short ribs, with the tang and freshness of the vinaigrette along with the perfect crunch of the bread crumbs is what I would a call a match made in heaven. This one is a sure winner when it makes it on the menu.
My belly is full. My soul is content. This truly was an unforgettable evening.
Thank you CTBites! And Thank you Chef Jamie Cooper!