Memory is a strange thing. And food memory, one's remembrance of not just the first time they tasted something, but the exact taste for the first time, is even stranger.
"As a kid, I didn't eat a lot of fresh vegetables or have exposure to them until I tried them from my grandparents' garden," Chef Ryan McCaskey of Acadia told me while we were filming for the upcoming April 6th Dinner Party. "That was where the learning and eventual epiphany happened. I remember the first time I had a radish and I was blown away. It was so hot!"
Chef also remembers the first time he had a banana and mayonnaise. "I don't know why. I can remember all of these tastes and experiences as if they were yesterday." Pretty handy if one is the Executive Chef of a three-time Michelin Star decorated restaurant and two-time Five Diamond award winner. All that and his restaurant Acadia only opened in 2010.
In addition to Chef's incredible food memory, Acadia does something else that is very special, something that most Michelin Star restaurants don't do, which why I was quick to have him on my show. Acadia's bar is open late and it serves bar food. And what's so special about that? Well, it isn't any ol' bar food. Acadia serves gourmet bar food, with most dishes $16 or under, at the chill-chic front of the house bar.
Now, many restaurants claim to have gourmet bar food, but what they usually mean is French fries in duck fat or a gussied up burger. Not here. Acadia is the real deal. At the bar, one can order Oxtail Agnolotti, Parmesan Broth, Wild Mushrooms, $15, Pork Banh Mi, Daikon, Carrot, Jalapeño, Cilantro, $10, Korean Fried Jidori Chicken, Cole Slaw, Sesame, $12, Potato Wild Garlic Soup, Lentils, Caviar, Black Trumpet Mushroom, Truffle, Celery, $12...well, you get the drift. Although they have burgers, it's not your typical bar menu and it isn't your typical restaurant bar scene. Chic is as chic does and Acadia pulls in an elegant, jet-set crowd that considers both the restaurant and bar fair dining game.
Enjoy the videos below to watch Chef McCaskey work his magic in the kitchen making menu items of Slagel Farm Pork Belly, Grains, Kohlrabi, Smoked Banana Puree with Uni and Slagel Farm Beef Tri-tip over Vegetable Ash, Baby Leek, Garlic, Celery Root Gratin, Tokyo Turnips, with Oxtail Prune Consomme, both of which will be served to the audience at the April 6th Dinner Party. The Dinner Party will also feature Chaz Ebert, international photographer, SANDRO and classical pianist and Beethoven Festival Founder, George Lepauw for an evening of unscripted conversation and extraordinary food, preceded by a reception benefiting Common Threads.