When we first started planning our Dinner Party at TR Fire Grill, back at the beginning of the year, and settled on May 11 for the date, we thought, “Tra la, it’s May, we’ll just take over the patio.”
The temperature on that Thursday was in the 90s before noon. The patio wasn’t going to work. And TRFG doesn’t have a private indoor space. Where were we going to seat 34 people?
But the TRFG crew went into action and essentially turned the front dining space into a banquet room just for us, with a semicircular table arrangement directly across from the kitchen, where we had a good view of chef and managing partner Jared Campbell and his crew as they prepared the meal. It was just right.
We began the Dinner with Pale Ale Braised Pork Dumplings served with a barbecue broth and fresh avocado slices with a bit of roasted corn and pickled onions. Beverage director Jerry Spoto started us out with the Fire Grill Mai Tai, which featured Dog Island Rum from Winter Park Distilling that Spoto and his staff infuse with pineapple. It’s a delicious Mai Tai (and Spoto showed us how to make it in this episode of On the House.)
We had a double second course with Brussels Sprouts Salad and Jalapeño Soup. I loved the salad, shredded and tossed with dried cherries, bits of apples and crunchy pistachios. The soup was velvety smooth, with a drizzle of spicy chipotle sour cream.
This was paired with Dr. L Riesling from Mosel, Germany (the L stands for Loosen). The wine had a very nice crispness and was moderately dry. It played well with both sprouts and soup.
We scored twice during the main course, as well, with Beef Short Rib and Salmon & Zoodles, one of the Grill’s signature items. The boneless rib was served sitting on a ploof of pureed potatoes infused with a bit of horseradish, a classic flavor pairing that tasted original.
To go with the beef, we were offered Cabernet Sauvignon, Grand Estates, Columbia Crest Winery, Columbia Valley, Washington. It had lovely notes of plum and a bit of chocolate that complemented the port wine mushroom reduction sauce.
The Zoodles are fashioned out of zucchini, shredded to resemble pasta strands and mixed with asparagus, peppers and feta cheese. The salmon was grilled beautifully and topped with a pistachio romesco sauce, a Catalonian specialty. One doesn’t often see salmon served with a sauce, but this one was just right.
For the fish and zoods, Spoto brought out a 2014 Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc from Napa, nice and light with flint and hints of lime.
Chocolate Waffle was the only dessert — we’d gotten used to twos! — but it was all we needed. Topped with vanilla ice cream and sitting in a puddle of mango sauce, the waffle had two tempura bananas leaning on it. Actually, all taken separately it was more like three of four desserts, so I’m good.
A 10-year Tawny Port from Cockburn’s added to the pleasure.
Staff kept things moving along like a breeze. A nice, cool breeze from blessed air conditioning.