Thursday, January 7, 2010

Brad Gates Catering and Events

This is not my typical review, because it was my birthday dinner, and it was a catered dinner I had at my house. I wasn’t going to review it at all but then I thought, hey, anyone can hire them as well, and well, the food was so damn good, I needed to share the info. And really, when you think about how much you spend on a nice dinner out, it really isn’t any more expensive per person—so get your closest friends together, pool your money and have a dinner party!

I hired Brad Gates Catering & Events to do my birthday dinner, because he is one of my favorite chefs in Indy, and since leaving Euphoria, has started his own private catering company. And hey, a small dinner party with a few friends at my house sounded pretty good to me right? Someone else cooking and serving but in the comfort of your own home…and it was one of those milestone-type birthdays (damn, I am getting old) so I figured why not?

It worked like this—Brad sent me a sample menu, and I made a couple of small changes to a couple of the courses, mostly based on what I thought my guests would like, but overall, he supplied me with a menu for dinner that sounded amazing and I went with his instincts for seasonal food. It was quite a menu for sure but I couldn’t really say no to any of the courses so we went with what ended up to be a couple of appetizers served before dinner and then a 6 course seated dinner.

The appetizers were amazing- 2 of my favorite things from when Brad worked at Euphoria—the tartares- tuna and beef. He served them in individual portions, the beef on potato chips and the tuna on crispy wontons. The beef was amazing-super fresh (has to be) mixed with the onions, capers, a slice of the cornichon and a part of a fried quail egg on each one and with mustard on the side to put on yourself. Perfect. The tuna was also really good—served with a tomato, onion and avocado mix and horseradish vinaigrette on crispy wontons. I loved the way these were served in individual portions—I sorta thought they would be served communally, but this was even nicer and even though hubby and I argue about how to best mix (or not mix) the ingredients in the beef tartare, this was the perfect solution—someone else did it and did it perfectly—you got a bit of every flavor with each bite.

Ok, obviously, I cannot go into great detail with every course because there were so many and I know I will probably lose you all at some point, but the first course of the seated dinner was certainly one of my favorites—(and coincidentally one of the few I remembered to take a picture of). It was Edgartown bay scallops in a shallot-verjus nage. Wow. These scallops were amazing. It was also one of the ones I was most concerned with because I had a couple of people at the table who didn’t think they liked scallops. But everyone loved these. Everyone. They were super fresh, very sweet and the sauce was perfectly balanced—the right amount of acidic flavor with a touch of butter and the little pieces of shallot. Outstanding.

The next course was also great—skate Meuniere with sage mashed potatoes and hedgehog mushrooms and lemon-thyme pan sauce. This is one of the courses I added in place of something else because I love skate so much. It was also great—the fish was lightly pan fried and crispy and the sauce had just the right amount of lemon. Several people at the table hadn’t had skate before and really liked it.

The next course, which was probably the richest, and thus the one I could eat the least of, was pork cheek risotto. It was risotto, with a nice piece of slow cooked pork as well as roasted cauliflower, cipollinis and Parmigiano Reggiano. It was really good—the risotto was properly cooked (hello! not hard as a rock) and the flavors were totally winter and hearty and everything you look for in such a dish. So rich though. Wow. I could only eat about half. But really tasty.

Our next course was lamb chops with butternut squash puree and roasted Brussels sprouts. The chops were small and tender and had a lot of flavor. They were seasoned with a balsamic reduction and had a slightly sweet taste, which may not be to every one’s taste, but I quite liked them and they were nicely prepared medium rare.

We also had a couple of great cheese boards and a small trio of desserts including a vanilla profiterole, a caramelized banana tart and a molten chocolate cupcake. Of course my favorite was the banana tart—I have loved that banana tart since when Euphoria used to have it. I do have to admit though, a lot of wine was consumed at this dinner, so by the time we got to the last two courses, it became hard to remember all the fine details.

Oh, and let me mention the wine as well—I know usually I don’t get into the wine part of my meals as much—but in this instance, we had our friend Ashley from Cork and Cracker pair wines with each course. Wow. This was amazing—the wines were beautiful and made this dinner extra special. I have included a picture of the wine list that Ashley chose and as you will see, she worked hard on it. Every one of them was great, and I can’t wait to go buy some of them at the shop.

I am telling you, this was from top to bottom one of the best dinners I have had in Indianapolis—and it doesn’t hurt when you have good friends, great wines, and your own music playing (and I even got to use my own china at my request). I am seriously thinking that more small catered dinner parties are certainly in my future.

(P.S. I also tried some of Gates Catering’s “to go” type items—there are several products you can order and have delivered. This was also a great way to have some really good food at home for a reasonable price).

Brad Gates Catering & Events


  1. Sounds great! Thanks for the info, I might have to check out his wild mushroom soup. Was the cooking done in your home, or were items brought in already prepared? And how do I get on the invite list for your next birthday dinner?? I'm a great gift-giver! ;-)

  2. Jessica-
    he cooked some of the items in my house and some of the were sort of pre-prepared I think, and warmed.. I sorta stayed out of the kitchen and enjoyed not having to do the cooking myself so I wasn't paying too much attention though..!

  3. Ok, so now I'm really jealous. I ate your birthday dinner with you vicariously. I'll pay you back with my review of Plumed Horse in Saratoga (right up your alley), which is where Art, Avra and I dined for my birthday last weekend. The abalone was to die for. I have never in my life had abalone that tender. Like mashed potatoes.

    Happy Birthday, again !! afl

  4. Thank you for posting this review, despite your reservations. It is fun to read about something different. Happy Belated Birthday!

  5. We have followed Brad from Wolfgang Puck's to Euphoria (Bugg's Temple)and have also had him privately cater events at our home and he is fabulous. His attention to detail and his teaching style are superb. We are thinking of having friends over for some lessons from Brad--preparing our meal at his direction. We are fortunate to have someone as talented as Chef Gates in Indianapolis.How fun!

  6. I've also enjoyed Brad's cuisine in different spots and have been amazed by the consistency and attention to detail. I'd strongly encourage readers to give Brad Gates Catering a try - you'll definitely be impressed and will want to use them again.

  7. Just had Brad's Valentine dinner delivered for our V-Day and it was excellent as well. I am amazed at how well he can prepare such gourmet things that can just be heated and served. The lobster bisque was amazing!

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