Friday, February 3, 2012
Mini Food Review: Artists Point House-made Yukon Gold Potato Gnocchi
For my last visit to Artists Point, I made a conscious effort (EFFORT) to go meatless. I can often be found ordering the largest piece of roast beast a restaurant has to offer-raging carnivore here folks. But for this meal I wanted to try some of the vegetarian options that were available (note: when I say vegetarian, I do not mean vegan-as this dish has dairy.). My entree choice was the House-made Yukon Gold Potato Gnocchi. Let me start by saying there are a few things in this world that I love, but rarely get because it's a tricky dish to prepare and commercial preparation can usually do more harm than good. Gnocchi is one of them. While in theory gnocchi is easy enough-execution is another story. What I am looking for is a light, fluffy, tender (NOT chewy) dumpling that doesn't hit my stomach like a lead pellet. Artists Point gnocchi brings it's A game. Prepared & cooked to perfection, these little gems were flavorful too. Perfect amount of salt & pepper, a light potato flavor more still maintaining the traditional dumpling taste gnocchi should have. As further proof of their deliciousness (and the chef knowing they hit a home run) the sauce is a very light butter sauce. Almost more of a glazing then a full on sauce. This dish is enhanced by a selection of fresh, tender vegetables. English peas, chanterelle mushrooms, heirloom carrots & sweet corn nage** are plentiful in this dish and you really need to get a let a bit of each in each bite.There are also little globs of fresh ricotta throughout this dish, adding a bit of tangy dairy to the plate. Personally I could have done without it, or would have preferred it was seasoned, but I am not a big fan of naked ricotta. The issue is seasoned ricotta would have thrown the balance of the flavors off, so next time I will probably just request it be left out of the dish. There is a slight sweetness to this dish from the carrots, corn & English peas and what I believe is the use of sweet cream butter in the sauce. The mushrooms provide a wonderful earthiness, but being a milder mushroom-it's not overbearing. This dish proves that vegetarian can be nothing short of amazing. And if you're not ready to give up meat entirely, I would suggest sharing this meal as a pasta or even appetizer course, but do give it a chance-you will be pleasantly surprised.
**Sweet corn nage is a fancy word for a method of preparation. Basically it means that the corn was prepared in a broth most likely with shallots, butter & wine (usually white). The broth & corn are then added to a dish.