Catherine Takes a Seat at Andrew Tarlow’s Table

These days, I rarely have time to sit down and read a book. Let’s be honest, I am lucky enough to keep up with meetings, conference calls and only because of The Skimm am I well aware of what’s going on in the news. When I found out that Andrew Tarlow was making a trip to Nashville and partnering with one of my favorite restaurants in town, Rolf and Daughters, I knew this was an event not to be missed. I put aside the magazines, hit pause on the DVR, sat down and read Dinner at the Long Table from cover to cover.

Andrew Tarlow is the “unofficial mayor” of Brooklyn. This restaurateur is single-handedly responsible for transforming the New York borough into the world class dining scene that it is today.  His empire is vast and truly knows no bounds. Consisting of five restaurants ( Marlow and Sons, Diner, Roman’s, Achilles Heel, Reynard, ) a butcher shop (Marlow and Daughters) a bar (The Ides) a bakery ( She Wolf Bakery)  and a hotel (Wythe Hotel), Tarlow has most recently added handcrafted leather bags (Marlow Goods) to his list. I seriously want to know when this man sleeps!  What’s the latest with Tarlow? His Cookbook, Dinner at the Long Table, a collaborative effort penned with Anna Dunn. Dunn is yet another superstar who serves as the editor in chief of the famous Diner Journal, a magazine dedicated to art, literature, and recipes. Oh, and by the way, add that one to his list as well. This man is pure genius. Clearly, I am a huge fan 🙂

It’s no surprise that this “cookbook” reads more like a personal journal or book of short essays exploring family traditions and celebrating those that have shared dinner at the long table with Tarlow from the beginning.

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Tarlow and Rolf and Daughters carefully selected dishes highlighting multiple menus throughout this gorgeous book.

We started with Turnip and Apple, which was a slight variation of the Turnips and Oranges recipe under One Good Goose. This menu focuses on the importance of people and procuring ingredients from local purveyors. The apples were the perfect juxtaposition to the turnips. The heartiness of the dish was balanced out with local watercress and Gruyere cheese. A perfect opener for the evening.

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Anxiously awaiting our next dish, the Eggplant with Bone Marrow Agro Dolce was served from the section I love, you love, we all love bluefish. This menu pays tribute to those who enjoy and find pleasure in highlighting the unsung heroes of the sea. Speechless. I was left speechless after my first bite. This dish was the epitome of agrodolce. The richness of the broth provided balance to the sharp vinaigrette. And the marrow? Melted in my mouth faster than any M&M I’ve ever had.

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Basking in the deliciousness of my first two courses, the Agnolotti in Brodo was served. This dish comes from the Night Before a New Year menu. Dishes concocted for this meal are both elaborate and laborious, as what would be expected on New Year’s Eve. I enjoyed this dish and could taste the amount of effort that went into crafting each piece of pasta. The agnolotti was stuffed with a crumbled pork mixture, lighted covered in brodo and topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Confession: If I weren’t in public, I totally would have had every drop of that brodo. AMAZING!

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Wild Striped Bass with Polenta, Tomato and Mint highlighted in the Agro Dolce menu strives to find the balance between sweet and savory. The bass was placed atop a soft, creamy bed of polenta drizzled with olive oil and garnished with mint. The creaminess of the polenta played very well with the acidity of the fish.

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Ending the meal on a sweet note, we ordered Toasted Rice Ice Cream with Bitter Chocolate.  I could not think of a better conclusion to this flavor filled journey. The ice cream was both delicate and sweet, topped with crisps that provided that extra crunch with each bite. Maybe one of the best ice creams I’ve ever had. And yes, I realize what a strong statement that is.

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Tarlow and Dunn open with the poem, “Eat Sunshine.” This will speak to each person in different ways, but I wanted to share a few of the nuggets that sang to my heart:

  • participate in the timeless
  • never measure
  • make drinks
  • spend your life thinking about dinner
  • game changers
  • remember what you forgot
  • eat with your fingers
  • set off the smoke alarm
  • write a menu for every meal, even the small ones
  • find your heroes

Pour yourself a glass of wine and have a seat at Andrew Tarlow’s table. He truly is a hero and an innovator when it comes to American cuisine. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Catherine Courtney

Nashville is not limited to honky tonks, hipsters and hot chicken. My name is Catherine Courtney and I am Nashville native here to highlight the culinary delights that my hometown has to offer. When I was a little girl, dining out options were limited. Chain restaurants like Captain D’s, Shoney’s and Waffle House (although I do love a good grilled cheese from WH) were the only things my hometown had to offer. Growing up, my family had traditional dinners or “suppers” as we sometimes call them in the south. Most of you all know them as the standard meat and three. And yes- mac and cheese counts as a vegetable in the south. Any time my mom would venture outside the box and try something new, I would whine and say “tell me you aren’t experimenting on me again?” Needless to say, my palate and my outlook on food has evolved. In the last 15 years, I’ve discovered that food and travel are the embers that keep my soul on fire. Both have allowed me to become more mindful and adventurous. I am obsessed with finding the best craft beer and the most unique and creative food a place has to offer, regardless of where it is. Time is our greatest commodity. Why spend it eating mediocre food? It is my hope to share Nashville’s culinary evolution as well as my epicurean adventures throughout the world. Feel free to follow me on social media Instagram: @blonde_voyage_nashville blondevoyagenashville.com

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