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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

IMG_5340Monday night I attended a tequila dinner at Waban Kitchen, owned and operated by Chef Jeff Fournier. Fournier previously worked at the Linwood Grill, Locke Ober, Excelsior, The Metropolitan Club, and Sophia’s. In 1996 he opened up his first restaurant, 51 Lincoln which has won numerous awards over the years.

IMG_5347Waban Kitchen is located right next to my favorite shoe repair guy that I have been going to for years – little did I know that this gem was just a few doors down. Waban Kitchen in conveniently located just steps away from the Waban stop on the green line.

IMG_5344Not only is Fournier a talented chef, but he is also an artist. Many of his pieces are displayed at Waban Kitchen. He has a website that has not been formally launched yet, but there are a few pieces up for sale: www.jeffreyfournier.com I asked him when he sleeps, and he just laughs.

IMG_5349A great table with seats between the bar and the open kitchen. Waban Kitchen has these types of pairing dinners once a month – check out their website to see what is on tap next.

IMG_5351Guests can see the chefs work in the kitchen from the dining room.

IMG_5362Chef Fournier comes out and thanks everyone for coming – he explains each dish in detail as the dishes are presented.

IMG_5353The bartenders squeezing fresh lime juice for the welcome cocktail.

IMG_5369We start with a tequila cabeza silver margarita. The flavor is smooth and clean, not too sweet with just the right amount of salt.

IMG_5363All the tequilas tonight are made with 100% blue agave – other tequilas, “mixto”, are when 51% of the sugar comes from agave and the rest is made with sugar from another source. Silver tequila is aged up to 59 days as opposed to anejo that has been aged up to a year in small oak barrels or extra anejo that has been aged 3 years + in oak barrels. Tim Murphy is on hand to school us on the tequila choices.

IMG_5370The margarita is paired with a three citrus shrimp and squid ceviche with cilantro, chili, tomato, cucumber and plantain chips. Ceviche is a dish made up of raw seafood that is cured in citrus juices. This dish was made with lemon, lime and orange juice. It was really tasty – bright and acidic with clean and fresh flavors.

IMG_5381The Pierde Almas Mezcal was served straight up. Mezcal generally has a smoky flavor and this is no exception.

IMG_5376The mezcal is paired with traditional chicharrones,  a hearts of palm salad with carrot, red cabbage, jicama, toasted coriander and Mexicana crema. Chicharrones are traditionally made by marinating the pork belly skin on and then frying it. The resulting texture is usually quite tough. Fournier’s version is quite the opposite. They braised the pork belly and fried it with a saison mix. The salad was tart and acidic, really nicely balancing the saltiness and the crisp texture of the pork belly. The Mexicana Crema, similar to sour cream, added a nice creamy texture to the dish.

IMG_5385Next pairing featured the Corzo tequila silver, a really delightful flavor and it was quite smooth.

IMG_5383This was paired with the chicken sancocho, potatoes, tomato, cumin, fried yuca and cilantro. Sancocho is a broth based dish that Fournier also likes to cook for family meals in the kitchen.There was a very generous portion of chicken in the dish which balanced out the salty tomato based soup.

IMG_5390The final dish was paired with the herradura tequila resposado. Resposados have been aged a minimum of 2 months, but less than a year.

IMG_5391The resposado has been pared with the vaca frita, refried pinto beans, rice and salsa verde. The beans have been prepared by Stephen Hoddinott, Chef de Cuisine at Waban Kitchen. He and Chef Fournier have been working together for years now – they are a great pair and work really well together. Vaca Frita is traditionally a fried skirt steak or other tough piece of meat. This dish was tenderized top round marinated with raw garlic, tomato and dredged in oil and then a mixture of corn starch and semolina. At this point, I was stuffed to the gills. I wanted to power through this, but had to take half of it home!

IMG_5397 And finally, for dessert, a tres leches cake with grilled pineapple and smoked pepita salt. This was paired with a herradura tequila anejo. A really wonderful dessert traditionally made by whipping egg whites and folding in the yolks and flour. The condensed milk and cream are poured over the cake while it is still warm to retain the moisture in the cake. It was the perfect dessert – light, creamy, a little sweet mixed with a little salt and smoke (from the grilled pineapple).

The service was excellent, the servers paid attention to detail and were very personable. The meal had a good flow to it and everything went smoothly.

Disclaimer: My dinner was provided compliments of Waban Kitchen, all opinions are my own.

Waban Kitchen

1649 Beacon Street, Waban, MA

http://www.wabankitchen.com

Waban Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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