Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sunday Suppers at Fin

I love Sundays. I just spent the whole stupid week working like crazy and overdoing the working out early early in the day and worrying and doing yard work and chores and fixing things and paying bills and making lists and eating over the sink and making phone calls to BOA who screwed up again with my billing and they put me on hold forever, as did St. Peters, going to doctors and taking tests and being poked and prodded, then, late into the night, running around protecting the innocent from the forces of evil.

Boys oh boys, do I need something GOOD come Sunday.

So this past weekend I made reservations at Fin - Your Fishmonger, in Guilderland, NY, for Sunday Supper. This was only the second offering of their new once-a-month prix fixe with Executive Chef Gabriel Pollow. Chef put together a creative five courser focused on using sustainable fish, giving up to 12 lucky diners a chance to eat well, try new things, meet one another, relax, and feel special. And we did! We ate well, and we laughed and talked and talked about food with others at the table and sipped our BYO wines and enjoyed the bright afternoon sun streaming in the window for almost three full hours.

Our meal started with cold glasses of strawberry and basil soda - light, refreshing, not too sweet. I'm not big on bubbles but it was truly delicious. Warm garlic and sage scented rolls were passed with dishes of salted herby lemony compound butter. These yeasty rolls were really soft and slightly sweet and practically addictive they were so good.

Chef introduced himself and the meal to come. The first course was Gazpacho, not too spicy (Foodie Friend thought it slightly meh), fresh and cold with some crunch and a bit of finely chopped apple and red onion and not too much salt. Considering it isn't tomato season, this was a bit of an odd beginning in some ways, but it DID taste like the promise of summer in a cup. I loved the lime crema for both the added flavor and presentation.

Next was my favorite dish of the event - Shrimp Ceviche - with homemade blue corn tortillas that were super light and crunchy, even with a bit of liquid in the bottom of the bowl. There was a perfect balance of flavors and textures: shrimp, avocado, and cucumber topped with a bit of olive oil and peppery microgreens. Bright and delightful.

Course three was a Quinoa Salad topped with pan seared grouper. Fin, determining that the original red snapper on the menu wasn't sustainable, substituted the grouper. The keen-wah had a lovely bit of finely chopped veg in there, some shallots and mustard and a bit of olive oil, with a good mound of perfectly cooked crispy string beans on top. This dish was beautiful but Cookie and I somehow didn't care much for the fish. It was a bit metallic tasting, a bit bland, too peppery maybe. I don't generally like grouper, sometimes finding it a bit fishy and a bit greasy, although the sauce did help. This was a generous serving and pretty good, but no "wow" "pow" "zip" "bang" superhero punch to it, if you know what I mean.

Then came a Risotto made with a saffron steelhead salmon stock and vegetables, finished with cream and parmesan. Sorry to say I didn't like it at all. It wasn't served nearly hot enough, I thought it was too salty, and it wasn't creamy like a classic risotto (and actually kinda greasy). OK, also, it was very fishy, and even tasted a bit weird, like plastic or something. No one else at the table really liked this dish very much either. It didn't help at this point we were already quite full and the dish was VERY rich, so we mostly pushed this one aside.

The last course was a wonderful Bizcocho, a dense almond cake with almond cream and berries. Simple and sweet and perfectly considered, it was a great way to wrap up. I wasn't going to eat the whole thing, but I did.

It was a real honor to enjoy such a lovely meal in this humble, neighborly, simple environment. I felt like a part of something, somehow, like family Sunday dinner away from home with new friends. The space was bright and light and and comfortable. I loved the slow, relaxed pace and I left feeling full and happy, ready to take on another night of protecting the innocent and another Monday and another workweek ahead. Chef did a great job. I look forward to returning in the future, but I'll give the rest of you a chance to try it first before I hog another spot.

Dinner was $50/person plus tax and tip.

Zena, Goddess of Fire

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