I first met my husband in Europe and he took me to this romantic chateau in Champagne for the weekend. The chateau was gorgeous and the wine was perfect but the French chefs at the hotel had no clue what to do with a vegetarian guest. So they gave me an omelet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while my husband ate fancy culinary creations at every meal. I remember watching him eating a dish served “en papillote” where the food is folded into parchment paper, baked, and served, and thinking, I am never going to get to eat something like that. Who has heard of a vegetarian en papillote dish?
Fast-forward 11 years and I am sitting in 2941 Restaurant’s stunning dining room, eating-you guessed it-my very first en papillotte dish, roasted root vegetables en papillote, with couscous and a duo of spicy sauces. Kids, dreams do come true.
The dish was served as a part of 2941’s new 8-course Meatless Monday vegetarian tasting menu, beginning on October 5 and available every Monday for dinner through the end of December. I sampled each and every one of the dishes on the current menu, and let me tell you: Mondays just became the best day of the week.
The menu opens with elegant beet carpaccio, topped with dollops of meyer lemon sabayon, followed by the silkiest butternut squash veloute you will ever have the pleasure of sampling. Next is a decadent porcini mushroom tartlet, with a mushroom foam, roasted mushrooms and celery. It is divine. Meaty and heady and everything that is good in life.
But alas, the next course manages to be just as decadent; it is a burrata ravioli. I don’t care if you are vegetarian or not, you must try this ravioli. Also, Chef Bertrand Chemel should patent it, as he should the vegetable en papillote, which is the next course. The dish is a gift that you have to open and the present is the wonderful taste of everything inside.
After devouring that, there is a cheese course (with injera chips!) and two decadent dessert courses. Wine pairings, devised by the incomparable sommelier Jonathan Schuyler, are “optional” which really means essential. The menu is offered for $70 (wine pairings are extra) and everyone at the table does not have to partake in the menu (although who wouldn’t want to?!) Chef Bertrand, my only hope is that someday this menu is offered seven days a week!