Education & Degustation at Westend Bistro D.C.
Chef de Cuisine Joe Palma of Westend Bistro believes in degustation served with education. In the coming months and on select evenings, fishermen will flood the dining room of Eric Ripert’s Westend Bistro to explain exactly how that fish (yes, that fish) got to the plate. For the price of $85 per person, Chef Palma serves up four courses with wine pairings for a true ocean-to-table experience.
The Fisherman’s Dinner Series consists of three separate sit-down events hosted at Westend Bistro, part of the Ritz Carlton in Washington D.C. During dinner, fisherman from the Chesapeake and New England regions will discuss the sustainability and quality of their catch directly with the diner. After each lively five-minute presentation, Chef Joe Palma will whip up a dish created purposefully to highlight why Westend Bistro purchases their seafood from these fishing companies. Expect an evening of fresh fish, perfectly paired wines and animated discussion with fisherman, distributors and, of course, Chef Joe Palma.
The first ocean-to-table dinner will be held at Westend Bistro on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 7 p.m., and will feature the following menu and fishing crew:
Rappahannock River Oysters of Tappahannock, Va. RrOysters.com
These guys are true oyster folk who supply a variety of flavored oysters and promote aquaculture sustainability with their own nonprofit partnered with the Oyster Recovery Project.
Chef dishes it: Clam Escabeche with pickled onion, Jalapeno piperade sauce and fried capers. Bathed in a tangy yet not overpowering sauce, the sweet and buttery oysters are highlighted by the thinly sliced and stark jalapeno and onion.
Congressional Seafood Company of Jessup, Md. CongressionalSeafood.com
This local company sells a myriad of products to fine dining establishments and gourmet markets in the Washington/Baltimore area. As the tub of sweet and succulent Maryland lump crab meat was passed around the table to taste, it was clear these distributors take their job very seriously.
Chef dishes it: Chesapeake Crab Chowder made with jumbo lump crab, warm Yukon Gold potatoes and lemon aioli. Poured over a portion of sweet crab and tiny cubed potatoes was a creamy and soul-warming broth made from a crab boil with a lemony finish.
Four Seasons Guide Service of Solomans Island, Md. FourSeasonsGuideService.com Whether it is commercial fishing or a guided fishing tour, Captain “Walleye” Pete is your man. Before chowdown, Chef Palma showed us the striped bass this ex-Air Force fishing expert brought in fresh that day.
Chef dishes it: Walleye Pete’s Striped Bass with sautéed dandelion greens, truffled polenta cake and a red wine bernaise. This hearty dish presented a complex of flavors playing off the sweet fluffiness of the fish and bitterness of the greens. The polenta cake is light, creamy and meant to be doused in the red wine sauce.
Sweet Potato Pie with a crisp pecan crust, fried sweet potato chips with lime and a lemon fig emulsion. This happy ending was a marriage of fall flavors brought together by a sugared and spiced Prosecco.
*Note: The menus will change with the fisherman for each separate event.