The email invite promised a night of “inspired tastings hosted by Chef Sherry Yard featuring our local farmers and a curated wine selection,” and it was a great sell. If you ever want people to attend an event, there is really no better way to do so than to mention a James Beard Award Winning chef, food, and alcohol.
Which is how my co-worker and I found ourselves driving out to Bethesda’s new(ish) Pike & Rose development in rush hour to dine al-fresco on City Perch‘s gorgeous outdoor deck, and for the most part, it was entirely worth every second getting stuck at every single light up Wisconsin Avenue.
The problem is, it seemed less like a farmers market dinner and more like a… regular old dinner? Not that the food wasn’t good. It was. Especially the baked goods. But while all the vineyards got top billing with every wine pairing, the three farms, Northern Neck Fruits + Vegetables, Border Springs Farm, and Heritage Farms were all relegated to the bottom of the menu. Which is okay. Menu designs are not that important in the least, but it forecasted a general trend throughout the night. There was very little talk about the farmers markets, and plenty of talk about chef Sherry Yard. I could assume the veggies on my plate were from Northern Neck, but I didn’t actually know. In fact, I don’t know anything about the relationship City Perch has with these farms. Just like our good friend Jon Snow, I knew nothing at all.
I’ll admit I had to google Chef Sherry Yard to determine how excited I should be for four courses of her food. Fortunately, her resume did not disappoint, not only does the Brooklyn-born chef have a James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef (hellooo dessert!), she’s also a Food Network judge, has multiple successful cookbooks and restaurants, and also has baked for celebs at the Academy Awards.
Obviously, baking is Chef Yard’s specialty and the bread service was truly spectacular. Sage infused Parker Rolls, biscuits with a hint of orange, spices, and maple butter, cornbread with whipped goat cheese and wildflower honey, are you drooling yet? The energy was palpable throughout the table as these gorgeous rolls were brought out, I can’t remember a time before that a bread basket brought along that much excitement.
The first three courses that followed were pretty good. A gorgeous fresh heirloom tomato gazapacho, was paired with a dry rose from Maryland’s very own Crow Vineyards. It was followed by a salad of summer melon and fried goat cheese (all goat cheese should be fried) and an incredibly floral (like holy shit this smells exactly like a rose garden) local gewurztraminer. The main course brought either steak or snapper sitting lightly on a bed of smokey, caramelized sweet corn and bacon.
Dessert however, was the real highlight. Just like the bread, this is where Chef Yard really shows off the reason behind all those awards. The menu had originally featured a Cheesecake Parfait, but Chef Yard changed her mind and instead brought out plates of fluffy souffle/ crepe clouds, her riff on a traditional Austrian dessert called kaisershmarrn, floating above some fresh from the farmer’s market (I’m assuming) berries. Accompanying the stupidly delicious dessert was a very sweet Riesling from Elk Run in Maryland. Incredible is an understatement, Chef Yard turned some eggs and milk into straight up magic.
The Farmer’s Market Dinner was part of an ongoing dinner series at City Perch, stay tuned to their website for all the details on upcoming dinners!