Recently, some friends and I decided to have John Adams cater a dinner for us. In case you are not familiar, John has cheffed at a lot of my favorite restaurants throughout our fine city. I met him at H2O sushi (RIP). He left there to open Bluebeard and eventually also worked at Plow and Anchor and most recently Marrow (RIP as well). And for the moment, he is doing private catering. A friend of mine had used him for a special dinner party she was planning and raved about the food, so several friends and I decided we needed to plan something as well.
I loved the menu from the moment he sent it to me and I was not disappointed. We started with a beautiful salmon tartare with capers, cucumbers and tomato ponzu. It was artfully wrapped with cucumber as well and topped with a Parmesan crisp. It was really light and tasty and reminiscent of those H2O days. I could have eaten a bowl full.
The next course was a Vietnamese pancake (also one of my favorite things). It was a crisp, light crepe filled with shrimp, green papaya, and bean sprouts and topped with crushed peanuts. There was a great tangy lemongrass broth underneath it and the whole dish was full of wonderful acid, one of my favorite flavor profiles. I was impressed watching him whip up individual little pancakes for everyone.
The main course was seared Loup de Mer with roasted sunchokes, chard and a shallot and sunchoke soubise—which is a creamy sauce made with cream as well as the shallots and sunchokes. There was also a red wine jus on top of the soubise. The fish though, that fish was delicious. It had skin on it, but it was seared so well, the skin became the star of the dish. It was so crispy; it just sort of exploded when you bit into it.
The savory courses were definitely the strength—he joked that he’s not really a pastry chef, and we enjoyed the bananoffee pie, but I enjoyed the other things much more. The first three courses were so perfectly executed and balanced, it just made the pie look ordinary. Still tasty, just not as exciting.
I loved having Chef Adams cook for us, and would love to be able to have it more often—am going to have to organize some more dinners. As much as I liked it though, I’d still rather see him in the kitchen of a local restaurant where more people can enjoy his food. I think he is exploring several options and I look forward to see where he turns up. In the meantime though, if you’re looking for a local chef to cater a wonderful dinner, he’s your man.
Chef John Adams