I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, Chef Bryan Moscatello’s dishes at 701 Restaurant are some of the most beautifully plated dishes I have ever seen. I hesitate to take the first bite because I don’t want to ruin the visual effect, but once I start I can’t stop because everything tastes even better than it looks. Part of the lovely aesthetic of Chef Bryan’s dishes comes from his wild creativity. Recently, he developed a series of game-inspired vegetarian dishes. Say what? Yup, you read that right. Dishes made of vegetables that are devised by Chef Bryan to showcase the flavors of quintessential fall game dishes. Is it crazy or creative you ask? I’m gonna go with crazy creative.
The first of the new dishes that I tried was a salsify confit appetizer, where salsify (an earthy root vegetable) serves as version of duck leg. The salsify is adorned with meaty, chewy shards of chicken of the woods mushrooms and served on a bed of creamy, rich parsley root which brings a sweet, earthy element to the dish. The salsify is cooked so it will melt in your mouth, and a smattering of oyster leaves brings out the mushroom flavor of the dish.
Next up was a wood-roasted celery root, a vegetarian version of rabbit rossini. A tender hunk of celery root is crowned with a rutabaga sformato, which is a savory Italian custard. The sformato has a golden crust and the most earthy, luscious flavor. The celery root and sformato are embellished with shards of black truffle, and the entire tower is drenched in a velvety madeira sauce, thickened with brioche. It is a new level of decadence.
Finally, I turned my attention to applewood smoked yam, a spin on smoked venison loin with toasted spice crust, sheets of endive, sunflower jus and ash, to represent the smoked element of the dish. It’s sweet and smoky, bitter and meaty, earthy and fragrant.
This fall, try figs served with soaked cherries and sponge cake and goat cheese gelato, or passionfruit gelato served on bed of bittersweet chocolate mousse that is so dense you will be satisfied for days.
Important to note: these dishes are not cheap. Appetizers are around $15 and entrees are $23 and they are only available on the dinner menu. Take your parents when they come to town so they can pay, or treat your date/colleague/anyone else you want to impress. Frankly, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t be impressed by this menu.