|a la carte|
Monday, November 5, 2012
farewell Coastal At Night
While I'll admit this post is weeks late, it is with great sadness that I write that Coastal At Night is no more. The brainchild of Graeme Ruppel, formerly of Brooklyn Warehouse and Getaway Meat Mongers, Coastal at Night was a sort of pop up dinner joint taking over the Coastal Cafe kitchen each weekend. Guests were offered locally inspired set course menus and a small a la carte. What's even sadder is that we, despite living mere minutes away, not once took advantage of the incredible menus ($35-$45 for a five course menu is a sweet deal!). Instead we stopped by on their very last night to sample some items from the a la carte menu. Well, one item to be specific, the famed chicken n' waffles. After seeing it grace the cover of The Coast, I longed for it to be mine. Apparently it took the restaurant closing to get me in there. Shame on me.
To our surprise, the place wasn't packed although they did sell out of chicken n' waffles. We started the meal with an IPA and the polenta appy, a course on that week's Organic Menu in honor of organic week. Featuring roasted local sweet peppers, a crispy yet meltingly soft polenta cake and some shaved That Dutchman's Old Growler, this dish was awesome. I'm still learning to love polenta and, if it always tasted like this, I'd be all over the cornmeal. Then came the moment we'd been waiting for. And let me tell you, me and that chicken, we had a moment. The first bite-eyes closed-heart warming-mind blown kinda moment. The chicken was so crispy and juicy and seasoned so perfectly that I'd even go so far as to say it was some of the best fried chicken I've ever had. On it's own, the chicken could have easily satisfied my craving but it was all made exponentially better by the perfectly crunchy exterior and soft interior of the waffle all drizzled in sweet maple syrup and crisp julienned apples. And did I forget to mention the apple butter? Oh, the apple butter. Sweet and buttery and fruity. It added a whole world more flavor and I ate every last buttery bite. That's right. Me and butter? We tight.
I left Coastal at Night so extremely satisfied but saddened by the realization that this would be my first and last meal at the hands of Chef Graeme. It was apparent in every locally sourced ingredient, in the artful yet simple plating, in the perfect execution that this guy has mad love for food. How unfortunate that our city, and I'll include my self, didn't embrace such passion. I won't begin to offer an explanation as to why so I'll simply continue to hold out hope for a Coastal at Night revival or, at the very least, a Chicken n' Waffle Pop-Up (wink wink nudge nudge).