Wish there was a great Indian restaurant in Greenport? While that may not be a reality just yet, Cuvée Restaurant recently held a night of gastronomic surprises when it hosted a pop-up Indian dinner with Mumbai chef Rahul Akerkar.
Akerkar is founder of the Mumbai-based restaurant group Indigo, whose restaurants are known for blending western cuisine with traditional Indian flavors and spices. The public was invited to this special evening and enthusiastically came with an adventurous palate.
“I would say half of the customers have been to India, half are people planning to go,” explained Cuvée chef and owner Deborah Pittorino. “They’re excited about experiencing the flavors. These are intense flavors and every mouthful is a burst of something exotic, completely different and has nothing to do with any Indian food they would have had in New York.”
Here were some of the highlights from the evening.
1. The soup was a revelation
A chilled tomato soup with the Asian herb fenugreek, crispy zucchini and fresh goat cheese ricotta. The soup was mild, creamy, cheesy and refreshing, not what one would usually expect from an Indian dish. The crispy zucchini added a note of intrigue as the taste buds tried to decipher its origin, and the soup never lost its tomato goodness.
2. The first course
Course number one was a tea-grilled fillet of duck, with jaggery, an Indian sugar, in a garam masala. It was served on a wild rice confit with maitake mushroom and a cherry syrah reduction. There’s so much going on in this dish, one almost has to concentrate while eating it. The duck is lean and juicy. The rice is a mix of sweet, fruity and spicy tastes. The cherry reduction perfectly enhances the duck with undertones of cloves and cinnamon.
3. Fresh, fresh fish
Peconic Bay porgies were the catch of the day and the evening’s main course. If you were expecting a mouth full of bones, forget about it. Completely deboned, the flesh of the fish was light and flaky on a bed of quinoa upma, which is a kind of Indian porridge. The dish was then glazed with a sweet and tangy mango curry sauce.
4. The last course
Dessert was a chance to try two Indian goodies. The first, which is called Shrikhand, is a sweet Indian yogurt. The other Halwa, is a sweet paste made by boiling milk, butter, sugar and almonds together. Shrikhand and halwa were served together on a light pastry puff with a sweet rasberry sauce. The taste was sweet, creamy, rich and exotic, yet strangely familiar at the same time. Then it was revealed that carrots were a major part of the recipe. The taste of a familiar vegetable, re-thought as a sweet dessert, was a happy surprise.
5. The vino
Along with the dinner’s specially chosen wine accompaniments, Cuvée also carefully constructed several non-alcoholic beverages that deserved mention all on their own. For the soup starter, a lavendar “Nohito” was served. A delicious blend of lavendar and ginger ale, the taste was fun and refreshing. Another light and delicious concoction was the “Ginger Fizz,” made with ginger, lime and club soda. A perfect accompaniment to the catch of the day.
Cuvée Restaurant at the Greenporter Hotel is located at 326 Front Street in Greenport.
For more information please visit www.greenporterhotel.com