Saturday, October 3, 2009

Recap: Wolfgang Puck / New Holland Dinner

Wow. I'm not going to do justice to this. For one thing, there were a lot of chef-y technical terms like "sabayon," that I don't have a solid grasp of. Plus, I still am apparently still not smart enough to cadge a copy of the menu to aid in the inevitable blog post.

Full Circle Kolsch with


Tempura shrimp with capers

White cheddar potato puff

Crab cake with fresh basil

Sundog Amber with

Pork Two Ways:

Braised pork belly

Pork (and a little duck) sausage with red bell pepper marmalade

Golden Cap Saison with

Mussels and halibut with smoked paprika sabayon

Mad Hatter IPA with

Szechuan lamb chops with shiitakes and napa cabbage

The Poet Oatmeal Stout with

Chocolate insanity

This was wonderful, and no wonder- talking to the various restaurant staff, it was clear that Chef Marc Djolija worked hard on this, trying variations repeatedly until he had it where he wanted it. Sounded like he had some willing guinea pigs, too. This was their first beer dinner; Marc worked with New Holland because they have a good existing relationship, and because he wanted to support a Michigan brewery. My only quibble was that the Sundog was not quite big enough for the pork belly, though it went very nicely with the sausage. We'd had the same dish with Stone's 13th anniversary beer, and that was a better match. Everything else was perfect, with the halibut, mussels, and saison course being my favorite. The Mad Hatter and lambchops, according to Marc the hardest to get right, were also amazing. The dessert (that is not its correct name above,) was really like 3 or 4 desserts: a wafer cookie made of roasted, caramelized cocoa beans on top of a layer of pudding-like chocolate on top of chocolate mousse with caramelized bananas inside, on top of a praline cookie, garnished with hazelnut pralines and caramelized bananas. I am both proud and embarrassed to state that I ate the whole damn thing.

Brett and Isaac from New Holland introduced and explained the beers as each was poured, and Chef Marc explained each dish in a complete but concise manner. We got the distinct feeling that he enjoyed the whole thing as much as we did.

This is a pretty fancy place, and we were waited on hand and foot, yet the dinner cost $40 plus tax and tip- an outstanding value. Check them out at

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