Appetite: tucking into Chefs Night Off

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Chefs Sarah and Evan Rich (who also happen to be husband and wife), come with a fine dining, creative pedigree cooking in kitchens of the caliber of Coi, Quince and Michael Mina. On August 29th, I attended their first Chefs Night Off pop-up dinner at Radius, and they are also hosting pop-up Fried Chicken Dinner at Rebel Bar (check their Facebook page for dates).

Their four-course, market-fresh dinner was peppered with amuse bouche/bites and palate cleansers between courses that showcased their inventiveness without being fussy.

Though portions were small, by the end, one feels satiated, even healthful as each course is served with a light hand. I was impressed with fine dining complexity in the dishes but with a bustling neighborhood hangout vibe.

After the first amuse bouche of crispy corn fritters dipped in red pepper sauce, and a finish amuse of red pepper gelee (reminiscent of a fruit roll-up strip) dusted with a sweet corn sugar, all dishes worked. My favorites, however, were the tomato gazpacho amuse, tasting of fresh, bright tomato with subtle savory notes, and the 2nd course of watermelon, squid, black olive vinaigrette, crispy onions, punchy with flavor, yet layered and light.

The next Chefs Night Off is Monday, Sept 26 (6-8:30pm - make reservations), at Radius for $60 (no drink or tip included). The menu is as follows, although there will likely again be amuse bouche between courses.

1st: Foie gras mousse, brioche crouton, pole beans, dill
2nd: Carrot soup, gnocchi, brown butter, coriander
3rd: Tomato braised oxtail, charred octopus, potato
4th: Mint semifreddo, chocolate, hazelnut

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