Monday, November 22, 2010

Brad Gates Catering- the Next Dinner Party

It was my BFF’s birthday, and we wanted to do something special, and I had been itching to hire Brad Gates to cater another dinner for us.  So I talked to my friend about putting some items on the menu that she would really enjoy, and planned a dinner.  It is really easy to work with Brad—we tend to communicate via email and sort out a dinner.  This time my friend had requested a couple of things, and then I let Brad come up with the rest (subject to my approval). 
One of the great things about Brad’s business is his enormous love and stock of cheese.  We started with a cheese plate for our hors d’oeuvres.  He does a fabulous job with cheese.  He served us Beehive Barely Buzzed, Mont Enebro, Colston Bassett Stilton, and Forsterkase.  The cheeses were served with wafer thin crackers and fig jam.  It was a great selection of cheeses, and all 7 at the dinner commented on how much they enjoyed them.  The “Barely Buzzed” cheese is a fairly firm cheese with quite a deep flavor. The rind is rubbed with a combination of coffee and lavender which gives the cheese an even nuttier flavor.  It was unique and quite tasty. 
The Mont Enebro was a nice fairly soft goat cheese with the characteristic tanginess that so often goes along with goats.  The Stilton was our blue cheese of the evening, and had the characteristic veining and sharp flavor of a blue.  Stiltons are dryer blues than most.  It tasted amazing with the fig jam.  Finally the Forsterkase is a Swiss cow’s milk cheese that is wrapped in bark—this gave the creamy, slightly stinky cheese a  bit of a woody flavor.  It was also really good.  Ok, I am trying not to go on and on about cheese, because I could, but I want to get to the next parts of the meal.
For our first sit down course, we had one of our (and the BFF’s) perennial Brad favorites, the tuna tartare.  Seriously, I can think of only maybe one other place that can do it as well (although with completely different seasoning). Why is this so hard?  Anyway, he served nice individual portions of the layers of tuna, finely diced sweet onion and tomato, avocado and horseradish-Dijon vinaigrette. The thing is, the layers were layed out individually, but even if you just picked up a couple of pieces of the tuna without the rest, you could taste that it had been nicely seasoned with lemon and salt.  Of course, once you mixed it all together, it was even better.  The only disappointment was that this time it was served with warm pita. I really missed the crunchy seeded wontons we have had in the past. (Hey, I saw some yummy looking seeded crackers at Zest a couple days later that looked like they would be delicious with the tuna).

The next course, and the other one requested by the birthday girl, was something we had had at Euphoria together when Brad was the chef there.  It was sweet potato gnocchi with shaved Brussels sprouts, braised pork shoulder and Parmigiano Reggiano.  This was probably the favorite course of the evening for most.  Little pillows of sweet potato gnocchi (but not overpoweringly sweet) with super tender rich slivers of pork and the Brussels sprouts giving it a little crunch.  And the portion was not overwhelmingly  large, which I appreciated.

The last savory course was tender, juicy wonderful Cook’s Farm bison tenderloin served with caramelized Cipollinis, 3-Grain rice pilaf and pomegranate coulis.  I liked the sweet and tangy nature of the coulis, although others at the table felt it may have been a little too sweet.  The little onions were soft and tasty and while maybe slightly less of the coulis would have been perfect for me (and for others), I thought the flavors were nice together.
Finally, we were served a little warm chocolate-anise truffle cake with candied Anjou pears and Crème Anglaise.  I didn’t get the anise that much, but the little molten chocolate cakes were delicious and rich, and the perfect dessert for the BFF, who LOVES a chocolate molten cake.
The service (which was Brad’s lovely wife Meggin) was stellar.  I love that they work together so well and are efficient and on top of everything, but unobtrusive.  And they are very friendly and fun to have in your house.  And when an issue arose with one of our guests, who as it turns out didn’t eat pork or red meat (bad hostess for not asking!), Brad quickly whipped up a portion of the gnocchi without the pork, and served her a lovely piece of seared tuna in place of the bison.  I was impressed since he obviously wasn’t prepared in advance for this situation (again, bad hostess!).  All in all, it was a top notch meal, and I am so glad we still have Brad available to cook for us, even if he isn’t in a restaurant.   
Brad Gates Catering & Events


  1. Wow... how much would this actually cost?

  2. This particular dinner was $65 per person, plus gratuity. Brad is good at customizing a dinner at many different price points though.