Monday, December 06, 2010

Demi at Crush

I was quite excited when I read that Daniel Chaustit of Crush was opening a new restaurant....within Crush.

Click to enlarge

Located in the lower level of the Belvedere Square restaurant, by the now-open kitchen, Demi serves small plates. Not really tapas-style dishes - think of it more as a selection of appetizers. That works for me, because I tend to find the appetizer selection in most restaurants to be more enticing than the entrées.

I wanted to celebrate Mr Minx's completion of 50,000 words during NaNoWriMo and thought Demi was a perfect way to do just that. After perusing the short menu, we each chose three dishes.

Fingerling Potato, Romaine, Haricot Vert, Yuzu Caesar Dressing
This was quite unusual - the potatoes were not quite crunchy, nor were they soft, and they had a pleasing spice flavor (Mr Minx likened it to Indian food). The fried potatoes were nicely balanced by the crisp Romaine lettuce and haricots verts, and the Caesar dressing was both sharp and slightly sweet.

Ahi Tuna, Sticky Rice, Sweet Soy, Sriracha Aioli
I don't normally order tuna appetizers, but I was in the mood. This dish, with a surprise hint of orange peel in the tuna's seasoning and a lovely crunchy rice cake bed, was delicate, subtle, and lovely.

Spice-crusted Beef Carpaccio, Truffled Mushroom Emulsion, Pear Salad
This dish was so prettily red and Christmassy! The truffled mushroom emulsion tasted like a rich, earthy mayo and the pear salad, while relatively flavorless, provided a crunchy counterpoint to the melt-in-your-mouth carpaccio. While I loved the tender beef and slightly tangy sauce, I think it would have worked better on toast rounds, because the taste of water crackers is so distractingly distinctive.

Six Minute Egg, Cauliflower, Asparagus, Parmesan, Toast
Who knew that cauliflower purée and eggs would go so well together? Six-minutes is the perfect middle ground between snotty-textured soft-boiled and dry-yolked hard-boiled eggs. Like an over-easy egg, but still in egg form. It was rich and delicious, and I particularly appreciated the Parmesan crisp for its much-needed textural contrast.

Pappardelle, Truffled Ricotta, Confit Tomato, Aleppo Red Pepper Broth
While ordering pasta in restaurants isn't my thing, I loved Mr Minx's pappardelle dish. The sauce was rich and creamy with just the right amount of spiciness, and the fresh-looking tomatoes offered up a buttery confit-ed surprise. I could have eaten a big ol' bowl of this stuff.

Maple-glazed Pork Belly, Hoisin Spaetzle, Snow Peas, Sesame Seed
The slab of pork belly reminded me of a boneless spare rib - tender shreddy-textured meat with a coating of fat and skin. Mmmmm! The crispy little spaetzle were wonderful.

Flourless Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Ice Cream, "Heath Bar"

As a token of the chef's appreciation, we were both brought a dessert. Flourless chocolate cake is always best served warm, while it still has a bit of lightness. This was a classic example of the genre, gussied up with the crunch of buttery toffee bits.

Overall, I thought it was a very good meal - both flavor- and presentation-wise - and I look forward to going back to taste the rest of the menu.

Demi
510 East Belvedere Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21212
443.278.9001
Demi on Urbanspoon
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