Friday, October 24, 2008

From Burgers to Brisket: Enjoying the Best of Beef At Woodfire Grill's White Oak Pastures Dinner

I have had the pleasure of trying White Oak Pastures' ground beef on two different occasions. Both times I cooked it myself, by seasoning the beef, forming into patties, grilling and slapping it on a bun. The burgers were delicious, full of flavor and I loved knowing that it was locally-raised grassfed beef. That's why I was excited to find out that Atlanta's very own Woodfire Grill was hosting a sustainably-raised beef four- course dinner on Thursday, October 23, featuring White Oak Pastures beef.

My beau and I headed to Woodfire Grill last night and right when we walked in we bumped into the man himself, Will Harris, owner of White Oak Pastures. It was really neat to meet him and chat about the dinner. We then sat down in our booth in the newly renovated restaurant and took a look at the prix fixe menu. We decided to go with the wine pairing for each course to really get the full experience.

Our first course (right) was a trio of beef tenderloin including, traditional tartare with organic truffle oil and olives; carpaccio with horseradish emulsion, arugula oil and pink pepper and grilled rare beef with ginger, shaved onion and hot Chile oil. This course was accompanied by a 2004 Marques de Gelida Brut Exclusive Reserva, Cava, Spain. The plate was extremely colorful and the perfect teaser for the courses to come.

The next course (right) was a wood grilled strip loin with Yorkshire pudding, Hakeuri turnips, creamed turnip greens and natural jus. It was accompanied by a 2006 Casa Lapostolle Merlot Rapel, Chile. This course really surprised me. Turnips just didn't sound all to enticing to me, but they were amazing! Not to mention, the meat was cooked to perfection.

Our third and main course (left) was a slow cooked beef brisket with roasted carrot puree, marinated radish, fried pumpkin seeds and smoked chile jus. This dish was accompanied by a 2005 Santa Rita Carmanere Reserve, Rapel Chile. This brisket was so tender and the carrot puree was the perfect accompaniment. Another enjoyable course with beautiful execution.

Lastly, for dessert we had a bittersweet chocolate cake with roasted peanut-chocolate chip ice cream and fried banana sauce. As you can see in the picture, I dug right into this one and forgot to take the photo first. This dessert was accompanied by a 2007 Banfi Roso Regale, Brachetoo D' Acqui, Italy. The ice cream was surprisingly salty but when put with the rich chocolate cake, it was an unforgettable combo. This dessert was the perfect ending to an amazing meal at Woodfire Grill.

Overall, the evening was a fun way to try what both Woodfire Grill and White Oak Pastures have to offer. It's really great to see a restaurant support their local farmers and I thought it was so cool that Will Harris came out for the event. I can't wait to try and cook some of the other cuts of meat myself. I'm sure it won't even compare to Chef Kevin Gillespie's menu, but a girl can try!

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