Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dinner in Paradise, January 23

The chefs: Douglas Rodriguez (of the De Rod empire), Paula DeSilva and Thorsten Leighty (of the Eden Roc) and Michael Bloise (of American Noodle Bar).

The setting: Paradise's bucolic bounty in Homestead. The temps were cool, the Schnebly's sparkling wine was fruity and the night had A Midsummer Night's Dream mischevious/romantic vibe.

The host: Paradise owner Gabriele Marewski, exuding pioneer woman charm.

A few things have changed with this season's DIP dinners. There are now five courses instead of six (folks complained that dinner ended too late for the drive back up north) and service is brisk and efficient now they've got an army of Johnson And Wales students tending to the tables. They've also installed a cozy firepit area with benches where guests are encouraged to hang out and sip wine and coffee after dinner.

De Rod kicked things off with a shrimp ceviche topped with a stone crab ice cream. The ice cream was gimmicky but it worked fine (things went downhill for De Rod from there). Paula DeSilva's one dish was flawless - a creamy burrata sourced from Pompano frommagier Vito Volpe and heirloom tomatoes from Teena's Pride.
De Rod then came back with a duck egg dish over a parmsean cream surrounded by arugula and oyster mushrooms dressed with a pine nut vinaigrette. It was heavy and unfocused. And it would have been nice to have a piece of toast or something crunchy to go with the goopy egg.
Grouper by Michael Bloise nicely offset with pickled shrimp Pennsylvania chow-chow and tomato-confit rice.
Thorsten Leighty's meringue pyramid with pomelo (a less-juicy grapefruit) and passion fruit sorbet. Delicious, not too-sweet, balanced and refreshing.


SteveBM said...

Is there really a De-Rod "empire" anymore? Maybe similar to the Eismann "empire"?

sara said...

Good point. However OLA is still going strong, right? Haven't been to the new De Rod Cuba on Ocean yet...