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Loring Park's Cafe Lurcat Invites Its New Menu to a Party

Executive Chef Jordan Swiller

When the first of the family-style dishes were placed on the table at the media dinner at Café & Bar Lurcat Thursday (May 23), phones all around the table were whipped out and people started shooting. It reminded me of an old TV Western when a stranger walks into a bar and everyone draws their six-shooter in anticipation of a fight.

Some of us were content just to rearrange the dish slightly before taking our close-up. Others carried the dish to the window to get better lighting or dangled it behind their chair to get a picture with no table clutter; and one pro pulled out her portable flash to better light the dish once the natural light from the windows with the great view of Loring Park started to fade. 

The exclusive dinner with sommelier-curated wine pairings was to introduce Executive Chef Jordan Swiller’s fresh new menu. The normal procedure when a new menu is created is to present it to the owners, along with a wine pairing, said General Manger Michelle Jensen. So in essence, you’re getting the owners’ treatment, she added to the four tables of guests. That would be Richard and Larry D’Amico and partners.

The event started with a social half-hour with several appetizers, including a seafood tower with caviar, crab cakes and Foie Gras Panna Cotta, paired with a French Champagne and a rosé. From there we moved into a private dining room, that’s more intimate than the dining room and quieter than the bar, Jensen said. But put together a bunch of gregarious journalists, bloggers and social media posters with wine pairings and the noise level was on par with more public places. But the setting couldn't have been more beautiful—inside decor and outside nature show—and the food and company more engaging.

Here’s the menu:

First course: Octopus Tonnato (crispy potato, arugula); Scallops Bourguignonne (parsley butter, seasoned breadcrumbs) paired with a 2009 Chablis Premier Cru

Second course: Seared Ahi Tuna (olive, tomato, preserved tuna); Vegetarian Farrotto (a delicious, but not photogenic farro risotto with seasonal vegetables) paired with a Nuits-Saint-Georges, Thibault Liger-Belair, ‘La Charmotte,' Burgundy, France 2014

Third course: Filet Mignon (potato pave, red wine syrup); Snake River Farms Gold Bottom Sirloin (porcini rub, bone marrow, mushroom reduction) paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon, Ladera Vineyards, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California 2014

Dessert was the chef's favorite. And while the custard was delicious, most of us had a hard time keeping our mouths off the accompanying mini-doughnuts. 

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