Sunday, March 9, 2014

An rises to the challenge

A couple of years ago, I wrote an entry in which I said that Cary's An restaurant still had a long way to go.  I noted that Executive Chef Steven Devereaux Greene had taken over the place but that little had changed to make it more than ordinary.  I also pointed out that he had controlled the kitchen for only a short time, so perhaps he had not yet been able to turn it around.

A few days ago, Chef Greene contacted me after reading that entry and suggested that he had indeed remade An and I should check it out.  Though it was only two days ahead, I suggested Saturday night, and he agreed.

So, last night a group of us showed up at An to try a special tasting menu that he had prepared for us.  With so little notice, the menu was largely dishes from the current or next menu, but that was fine by me; we'd taste the best of what he had on offer.

After a delightful eight-course meal, which you can see here,

Click an image to see a larger version.

I am extremely happy to report that, under Chef Greene's leadership, An rose to the challenge and produced a wonderful, top-drawer meal.  Every single course was delicious and blended a variety of flavors into a delightful whole.

The salmon tartare, for example, was beautiful, subtle, and delicious.

I liked every single bite of every single dish, but I have to show you one more course because it was simply so much fun--and incredibly tasty. 

Called simply "Pork & Bun," this delightful offering will appear on the upcoming spring menu.  Inside the tiny steamer was an absolutely perfect steamed bun.  You opened it, added the sous-vided pork belly and the bits of veggies, and made your own little pork bun.  Fun, and so very tasty. 

It's always a treat to eat such a top-drawer meal.  It's an additional gift to see a talented chef--and make no mistake, Steven Devereaux Greene is a very talented chef--raise a kitchen from ordinary to extraordinary.

I must also note the service team, which I had found sorely lacking in my earlier post.  The servers tonight turned in a very good performance despite our group's large size and three different menu versions (most of us eating anything on offer, but one going vegetarian and one pescetarian).  We may well have received special considerations given the nature of the meal, but regardless the service team demonstrated that An has improved dramatically in this area as well.

I will definitely be going back again and posing the kitchen another tasting menu challenge, next time with plenty of notice.

Well done, Chef Greene and the entire team at An.

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