Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Chef Blake at Cafe 37 delivers an exceptional Burgundy wine dinner

Café 37 refers to itself as “combining European influences with the taste of Southern charm [offering] fine dining in a casual, comfortable setting.”

Cafe 37 has a unique setting in an old carriage house
After talking with Chef Blake and dining in Café 37, I have to agree that he hit the nail on the head with that statement.  In Savannah, where history is a part of everyday life – especially as it relates to dining, sometimes that old Southern charm can be a bit annoying.  Blake masterfully weaves his culinary genius and French training into a dining experience that is relaxed but delivers superb flavors on the plate.

I dined with a small group of mostly locals, with a few Europeans thrown in, at an intimate wine dinner featuring the culinary talent of Chef Blake paired with amazing Burgundies from importer Steve Pignatiello.  The result was an evening of conversation, consumption and cosseting.

I want to mention prior to the menu that discussing food with Chef Blake is inspiring.  His encounters in France at the restaurants he worked at involved using only the freshest ingredients.  Often times in the US, our food system has gotten too processed.  Using local ingredients that are not mass produced inspires Chef when he is in the kitchen.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Our first course Shigoku oysters on a bed of salt
The Menu and Wines
Shigoku Oyster with Pickled Cucumber and Caviar
Jean-Luc Joillot Cremant de Bourgogne NV

Seared Foie Gras with Roasted Anjou Pear and Watercress Salad with Applewood Smoked Bacon
Alain Patriarche Meursault Vieilles Vignes 2009

Seared Diver Scallop with Tasso Creamed Corn and Pickled Mustard Seed
Paul Jouard Chassagne-Montrachet 2009

Duck Confit with Hickory Smoked Collard Greens and Cipolini Onion Rings
Parent Pommard Croix Blanche 2006

Assorted Macarons

Seared Diver Scallop with Tasso Creamed Corn
Additional Menu Notes
I also want to point out that the bread was fresh and delicious with the herbed butter set along with it made it difficult to say enough and save room for the meal.  Also placed on the table are Castelvetrano olives, in Chef’s own combination of herbs de Provence, and were another treat to begin the meal.

As a reminder, macarons are a sweet meringue confection and often filled with ganache, buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two cookies.  They look so simple and pretty that you can forget just how incredible these tiny sandwich sweets really are.  They didn’t last long once they hit the table.

The macarons didn't last long...
About Chef Blake Elsinghorst
Chef Blake began his career in Savannah’s favorite restaurants while attending college in the city.  With a desire to hone his craft into art, he left Savannah for Paris.  There he attended Le Cordon Bleu.  His career in France provided Chef Blake the opportunity to work in Michelin 3 star venues.  Blake then returned to the US to show his talents in some of New York’s top restaurants.

From New York, Blake returned to Savannah to make his mark by opening his own restaurant, Café 37.

His vision – “With Café 37, I have brought all of the elements of the restaurants I have worked in around the world together, to evoke the same emotions in a small café here in Savannah, using ingredients with the same integrity, freshness and flavor as I have always used with simple style and delicious results.”

Chef Blake and me after dinner
The End
I can’t wait to return to Savannah and Café 37.  My taste buds want a reunion with Blake’s cuisine!

Contact Information
Café 37
205 E. 37th St.
Savannah, GA 31401
(On the corner of 37th and Abercorn behind the antique store)

Cafe 37 on Urbanspoon