UGK spent an succulent sepia-tinted evening, reliving the beaux arts era in one of Richmond VA’s historic homes on March 6th, 2016. UGK: The City Beautiful (804) took its inspiration from the first few decades of the 20th century, recreating the atmosphere and reinventing the classic dishes of the period in The Scott House on the Virginia Commonwealth University campus. Big Band Jazz echoed through the foyer and parlor as the guests were addressed from the main staircase, welcomed to the event, and told a bit about the historic site. After learning about the 100-year-old halls in which they were about to dine, the guests were seated in the dining room for an evening of culinary time travel.
Chef Brice Cunningham (Executive Chef, Tempo Restaurant, Charlottesville, VA) prepared the fabulous meal, drawing on the “classics” of American Restaurant culture in the first part of the 20th century. The meal began with a Chicken Velouté, that was delightfully creamy and aromatic. A lightly oaked chardonnay was called for in pairing with this, one of the five mother sauces of classical cuisine. The D’Autrefois Chardonnay fit the bill perfectly with a light acidity that rounded out the creamy butter of the dish.
The second course was an American classic, Oysters Rockefeller, so named after John D. Rockefeller, the richest man in America at the turn of the century, due to the richness of the sauce. Instead of the typical parsley and butter topping to the dish, Chef Cunningham prepared the iconic plate with Spinach and Onions that had been sautéed in butter. The spinach added an earthy tone to the dish that was layered over the already rich complexity. A course with textures and flavors so complex calls for a wine that is well balanced that is capable of complimenting without overpowering, or taking a back seat to the course. The selection was a Domaine Guenault Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, which had beautiful floral notes to frame the oysters perfectly and let the harmony between the ingredients take center stage.
After being taken to the beginnings of the 20th century with the Oysters Rockefeller, the Benny Goodman faded into Edith Piaf as Chef Cunningham harkened back to his French roots and prepared a Vol au Vent with a shrimp and mushroom filling. One of our guests said the dish reminded her vividly of piping filling into Vol au Vent with her mother in England. From America, to France, to the British Isles, Chef Cunningham then gave a nod to the Irish with a 36-hour sous vide corned beef. This was served with Savoy Cabbage and Butter Roasted Potatoes. The dish was familiar, but delicious, with the salt cure setting off the fruity and sweet qualities of the Domaine de la Presidente Cotes du Rhone perfectly.
The meal was finished with an Apple “Pie” and Vanilla Ice Cream- is there anything more decidedly American? The “Pie” was a beautifully crafted tart, with thinly sliced apple making an intricate “rose” on the plate. The pairing for the dessert was not wine, but a more fun version of coffee. We made the guests an espresso martini with dark roast coffee, Kahlua, and vodka, garnished with the three coffee beans that symbolize happiness, health, and prosperity when floated in Sambuca.
The caffeine certainly had an effect, as was seen by the fact that several of the guests and the chef sat at the end of the table chatting well into the night as the room was cleared out around them. At the end of the night, all we left in the past was an empty stomach, and we took with us our new friends, our happiness, and fond memories of a night well spent.
Check out Tempo Restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tempocville/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/tempocville
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tempocville/
Learn more about the Historic Scott House here: http://www.vcu.edu/scotthouse/
Chef Brice Cunningham grew up in France and Tahiti and began his professional career in Paris under Alain Ducasse, currently recognized as one of the top chefs in the world.
Tempo Restaurant & Bar is the third restaurant, after Fleurie and Petit Pois, that Executive Chef Brice Cunningham has owned. After moving to the United States in 2001, Brice opened Fleurie as co-owner and chef. The modest, yet upscale, fine-dining French restaurant nestled off the (then) sleepy Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, VA, turned out to be a hit, receiving national recognition and acclaim. Brice continued, with his business partner, to open Petit Pois, a more accessible form of Fleurie, but still longed to have a restaurant that spoke to his dynamic background in France, Tahiti, and other world travels.
Tempo showcases French fare with an international twist, offering dishes such as scallops infused with lemongrass, lamb braised in coconut, and foie gras with naschi pear. Both the menu and the atmosphere embrace the savoir vivre of great food, amazing atmosphere and good friends.
“Tempo” is the underlying beat that stays the same no matter the culture from which it comes, and it is in this vein that the carefully thought-out menu and wine list pay tribute to a dynamic mix of bright and international influences, while still being anchored in the tried-and-true art of French culinary tradition.
Oysters Rockefeller with Spinach & Onions
Corned Beef Sous Vide for 36 Hours
With Savoy Cabboage And Potatoes
Vol Au Vent With Shrimp, Mushrooms And Cream
Apple “Pie” And Vanilla Ice Cream
Deautrefois Chardonnay 2014
Domaine Guenault Touraine
Domaine De La President Cotes Du Rhone
Chateau Des Deduits Fleurie 2011