W.A. Frost and Fancy Dinner Club were made for each other. How could FDC pass up a restaurant that promises “Epicurean Sophistication?” I’m just surprised it took us this long. Meeting #5 of Fancy Dinner Club was a blending of the old vs. the new:
We crossed the river into a new city, meeting in St. Paul for the first time.
The turn-of-the-century building that’s home to W.A. Frost is beautiful, and it makes one long for the days of old, when walking around in a 3-piece suit and bowler hat didn’t look out of place. And when Jews like me weren’t exactly welcome in places like this… Ah, simpler times.
For the third meeting in a row we initiated a new member to the club. Chris couldn’t make it this month so we invited Jane to take his place. Jane is Bradley and Drew’s new roommate, having taken over Matt’s old room (via a 7-month stint by Yaicha). We like to call Jane, “New New Matt.” And I’m going to start calling Matt, “Old Old Jane,” because I think he’ll really enjoy it. If you’re reading this and you know Matt, start calling him “Old Old Jane” for me. I’m sure he’ll love it!
Our agenda for Meeting #5 takes up two-thirds of a page in my word processor:
Baked Potato Gnocchi
cheddar buerre fondue, apples, micro herbs
Steamed Blue Mussels
coconut-green curry broth, cilantro, celery, Fresno chilies, grilled sourdough
Tomme Crayeuse (Haute Savioe, France) Raw cow’s milk. Soft. Cave aged, natural rind. Aroma of fresh grass and hay. Flavors of mushroom and sourdough bread.
Big Holmes (Grantsburg, Wisconsin)
by Mary Falk at Love Tree Farms, goat’s milk, an amazing expression of terroir, coated in wild WI herbs, flavor is herbacious and clean
Robiola Tre Latti (Peidmont, Italy) Mixture of cow, goat and sheep’s milk add to the complexity of this soft cheese, buttery flavor with a piquant finish
Pastrami Spiced Cold Smoked Salmon
whipped horseradish, pumpernickel croutons, pickled red onion, cabbage sprouts
Crispy Wild Acres Duck
brussels sprouts, winter squash puree, corned duck leg, walnut gastrique
Pan Roasted Skate
roasted butternut squash, kale, brown butter pudding
Mexican Chocolate Brownie
lime pudding, hibiscus sorbet, agave nectar, horchata froth, cilantro
Let’s see: it was really hard to split the gnocchi—we each got only three gnocco—but on the plus side, now we all know the singular of gnocchi. Thanks Wikipedia!
Everything was delicious, but there was a clear favorite among my eating companions. The coconut-green curry broth that the mussels came in was so good we had to keep asking for more bread just to make sure there wouldn’t be any left over for the kids in Africa. Old Old Jane was convinced he didn’t like mussels, so we almost didn’t order it, but the dish became the favorite for three of us.
The lone holdout was yours truly. I couldn’t escape my heritage with this meal and I voted for the Pastrami Spiced Cold Smoked Salmon. It had a little bit of lox, a little bit of Passover horseradish, a little bit of pastrami spices, a bit of bread. It was basically just a bagel, deconstructed. But. It. Was. Delicious. Mazel Tov to the chef.