Artifact Coffe is part of the Woodberry Kitchen group. They host regular dinners where chef’s take over the kitchen and give us a taste of their style. This month they called it a Farmed, Foraged, and Fished dinner where Jeremiah Langhorne, the former chef de cuisine of McCrady’s in Charleston, South Carolina collaborated with Woodberry’s Spike Gjerde.
We started with a bottle of Petit Verdot from Jefferson Vineyards. I am not sure why I was the one who was picking the wine, but I have been to that beautiful winery and knew it pair nicely, even with the fish. Although the winery considers it to have strong tannins, I didn’t find them overwhelming and I found it to have wonderful fruit notes and a very smooth finish. It certainly went wonderful with the chef’s complementary app with raw beets, mushrooms and honey drizzled beet chips (although, my table did give me some strange looks when I ate the entire beet with the attached greens)…
There were five choices for small plates – Tofu, Scallops, Soft Shell Crab, Rockfish and Pheasant. Each perfectly cooked – with a simple presentation that packed big flavor. I am not a fan of the soft shell crab, but my friend thought it was “scrumdiddlyumptious”.
My first dish was the scallops. It was one or two scallops sliced expertly served with a mixed green salad topped with radishes, carrot strips and crispy wheat berries. I loved the little crunch of the toasted wheat berries – perfect texture companion with seared scallops. I am such a fan of scallops – especially when the chef knows how to give them an expert caramelized sear but keeps them from getting rubbery and overcooked. I never doubted Spike for a second. I think my friend actually opted for a second order…
For our next course, I think we all had rockfish. The impeccably cooked fish was meaty and just the right amount of flaky and chef’s idea to wrap it in a cabbage leaf and then grill to perfection was genius. I assume because it was locally sourced it was of the striped bass variety; fantastically mild, yet still flavorful. My favorite part was the small slices of a spicy light green pepper, which brought out the mildly sweet flavor of the fish. The purple cabbage added a nice crispy texture element to pair with the bright herb puree.
As if a third course was even necessary – the pheasant. I am going to give you a second to take a look at the plating for this dish (to be fair – I had already snagged a few bites). The breast of the pheasant was tender and juicy, but the skin remained perfectly crispy. This dish was amazingly balanced – shitake mushrooms have an earthiness that matched the slightly gamey meat. It was mixed in with large green onion bulbs and barley.
I would have had 17 more if I hadn’t been stuffed.
I barely had room for dessert. Luckily, it was light and right up my alley. Fruity, yet subtly sweet berry sorbet served with fresh berries and topped with a granola style cookie crumble. I did sneak a few sips of my friends counter culture coffee. The perfect end to a locally sourced dinner. Keep your eye on their calendar and I will try to keep you up to date on their next events.