Brought together by members-only dining club Underground Eats (request an invite here), chefs George Mendes, David Santos, and James Beard Award-winner Sean Brock—who made the journey up from Charleston, South Carolina—prepared a one-night-only "Supper Bowl" on the night after the Super Bowl at Santos' Greenwich Village restaurant, Louro.
Cocktails made with Whistle Pig Rye, corn milk, lemon juice, and cinnamon bark syrup were plenty and quickly abated the winter chill as diners flowed in. There were two seatings, and both were completely booked.
Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Brock was hard at work on the first course: raw scallop with heirloom turnip and black truffle.
The menu was six courses, with two courses by each chef. Wine pairings were provided by Portugal's Esporão wines. Light bites like Santos' seafood fritters with paprika aioli made the rounds as diners milled about the bar.
The light, briny broth of Brock's first course was served lukewarm with the sweet raw scallops. Earthy truffles added umami to the sweet/salty and altogether luscious dish. The rosé pairing was a nice touch, too.
Keeping an eye toward the sea, Mendes prepared charred octopus with squid ink, kaffir lime, and roasted potato broth for the second course.
The tender octopus was delicious, but the thick kaffir lime mixture at the bottom of the bowl was what really made the dish. The potato broth was like nothing you've ever had before, but also intensely familiar. It tasted like the crisp skin of a well-done baked potato.
Mendes preps the fourth course, Scottish pheasant, which was preceded by Santos' heavenly monkfish with pinkish-red Portuguese tomato sauce and rice, served with Esperão's 2011 Reserva White wine.
Mendes' Scottish pheasant "en escabeche" with lemon balm and coriander. Atop the bird were crispy fried shallots. And the 2010 Assobio pairing was one of our favorite reds of the night.
For the fifth and (at least at our table) favorite course, Brock served a heritage pork medallion with whey-poached celtuce (a cross between celery and lettuce), and grilled onion juice. The green pool seen above is the celtuce—it was a perfect bedfellow for the sweet, tender pork.
Santos' dessert, a Scotch bread pudding with bourbon curd and beer ice cream, left everyone wanting more—literally, the sound of spoons scraping against bowls could be heard around the table and the dining room. A cookie crumble beneath the ice cream added welcome crunch. A magnificent end to a "super" supper.
For those who missed The Supper Bowl, Santos hosts a multi-course, BYO wine and beer supper club every Monday night at Louro. Coming up on February 11 he'll create a spice-inspired menu, and on February 18 he'll give a culinary nod to Black History Month.