by Susan Ellis
At Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen's monthly No Menu Monday dinner, there is a menu, but the diner does not see it until after the meal. As the courses are brought out, dinner becomes a fun sort of parlor game of guess-the-ingredient.
At the meal's conclusion, each diner is given a copy of the menu. Seen below is the menu from last Monday's special vegetarian No Menu Monday.
I have to admit, even with menu in hand, I'm still doing a bit of guessing.
The amuse, Smoked Eggplant Crostinni, was easily the most straight forward of the course, and, as it happens, both my favorite dish of the evening as well as Hannah's.
I liked the flavor combo of the smoky eggplant, salty kalamata olives, and sharp mustard.
The first course was the Garden Plate — "Noma" dirt, carrot, turnip, asparagus, and salsa verde.
Seriously adorable, like a tiny garden patch. As for the dirt ... Noma is a restaurant, and the dirt was a sort of bread crumb topping to the souffle underneath.
Second course: Sunflower Seed Risotto.
The guess at our table was pine nuts, rather than sunflower seeds. It was served with artichoke, celery, and cardoon (according to Food Lover's Companion, a cross between celery and artichoke — this one's new to me).
The third course was Leek Marrow, peasant pappa, tomato, black truffle, arugula flower, and braised onion.
Googling of "peasant pappa," brings up soup made from stale bread. No clue here.
The final course was the Strawberry Cake with hibiscus cream cheese and honey black pepper gelato.
The pretty pink cake had me guessing rhubarb (I'm seeing a lot rhubarb these days) or pomegranate. In any case, I really love the kick of spice in this dessert, which made it a great end to a great meal.
The next No Menu Monday is April 30th. Read more about last Monday's dinner at Memphis Stew.
Images by Hannah Sayle.