by Liz Miller
In February, Gut Check reported that chef John Griffiths, the former executive chef of Truffles (9202 Clayton Road, Ladue; 314-567-9100) in Ladue, was slated to cook a dinner at the James Beard House in New York City in June. Yesterday Griffiths contacted Gut Check to tip us off to two preview dinners happening locally that will feature his James Beard menu.
On June 10 Griffiths will host a preview dinner at Modesto Tapas Bar and Restaurant (5257 Shaw Avenue; 314-772-8272) and on June 17 at Sidney Street Cafe (2000 Sidney Street; 314-771-5777). Both preview dinners begin with hors d'oeuvres served at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m., with each event limited to 60 guests. Tickets for each dinner are $89 per person -- not including tax and gratuity -- and part of the proceeds from each dinner will support Griffiths and his crew for the event in New York City. Reservations for a spot at either St. Louis preview dinner must be made through Modesto.
"Since I am a chef without a restaurant right now, I am organizing two preview dinners to give me a chance to serve the menu to the St. Louis public," says Griffiths. "This will help us to fine-tune the flavors of the various dishes, as well as the wine pairings for each course. And also it is a chance to give the St Louis public a chance to taste such a unique menu without having to travel to NYC to do so."
As part of his commitment to cook fresh, seasonal, regional cuisine, Griffiths will be including Missouri-based businesses in the six-course, rustic Italian James Beard dinner, including Augusta Winery's (5601 High Street, Augusta; 636-228-4301) 2009 Norton and Montelle Winery's (201 Montelle Drive, Augusta; 888-595-9463) 2010 Dry Vignoles wines.
The official menu Griffiths will serve at both preview dinners and at the James Beard House is after the jump.
The James Beard House Preview Dinner
Passed Hors d'oeuvres Housemade salume Chilled tomato, smoked olive oil Oysters with cucumber tapioca Goat milk ricotta with blueberry mostarda on walnut toast Domane Saint Vincent NV Rose, New Mexico
First Trout crudo Missouri pecans, lemon and trout caviar Quattro Mani "Toh-Kai," Brda, Slovenia 2010
Second Panzanella salad Early summer vegetables Montelle Vineyards, Dry Vignoles, Missouri 2010
Third Casoncelli pasta Ricotta-escarole filling Wild mushroom and charred sweet corn ragu Giacomo Borgogno Dolcetto d'Alba, Piemonte, Italy 2010
Fourth Jones Farm Lamb "Stufato" Fava beans, cipoline onions, mint Augusta Vineyards, Norton, Missouri 2010
Fifth Olive oil shortcake with local blackberries Elio Perrone, "Bigaro" Piemonte, Italy 2011