Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Feast of the Seven Kingdoms

is the name of a special dinner that Chef/Proprietor Sean Fowler of the excellent Raleigh restaurant Mandolin held earlier tonight.  The party occupied all of the larger side of the restaurant; the other portion was closed.  As the title of the special meal implies, Fowler and many of his staff are big fans of The Game of Thrones books and TV series from creator George R.R. Martin.  In a pre-meal presentation, Fowler said that as he was reading the books he paid particular attention to the meals, and he found the cuisines well thought out and interesting.  He was able to base all of the courses in the dinner on dishes from the books.

Click an image to see a larger version.

The first of the eight courses was just a small snack, and it contained crickets, not locusts, because Fowler's team could not readily obtain the latter.

(Sorry for the blurry photo.)  I've never eaten crickets before, so I didn't know what to expect.  What we got was a sweet, crunchy snack that I quite enjoyed.

The octopus and clam dish smelled and tasted of the sea and was delicious.  Fowler's crew prepared the octopus perfectly.

The presentation was also just right, with a good blend of rustic pot and rough-looking (but, again, delicious) chunks of octopus.

Before anyone complains, no, despite what the menu says, Fowler did not serve us actual horse hearts.  The tartar was of beef heart.

Some in our group found the chunks of meat a bit too large, but I thought they were just right.  All agreed it was quite tasty.

The best dish in the meal--a collection in which every course was extremely good--came next:  the lamb-stuffed grape leaves.

From the sauce to the leaf to the incredible mixture of lamb and spices and fruit inside, this dish was perfect.  I have never tasted a stuffed grape leaf as good.  Several of us implored Fowler to put this one on Mandolin's regular menu.

And on the meal went, each course lovely and so very good.  The bacon-wrapped trout:

The beef and barley stew:

The boar, with apples and mushrooms:

The final course, the dessert, was a lovely and tasty simple tart, decorated in flowers.

If Fowler does anything similar again--and now I hope he does--I will most definitely be there.  I encourage you to attend, too--after I buy my tickets, of course.


Dave Drale said...

Dear Mark,
The problem with horse in this country is that the racehorses are so doped up that they're not safe to eat (they probably weren't good for your cat either)and you can't be sure you're getting somebody's pet (which would be fine).
I guess you could ship in pony hearts from Iceland, now that I think about it.

Mark said...

Dave, I appreciate you trying to solve problems. I'm okay with skipping the horse hearts entirely.


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