Spring is just days away and the anticipation has been building here at The Bernards Inn. It has been a long, difficult winter and while snow and ice repeatedly pounded the Northeast, we in the kitchen kept upbeat with visions of our garden and fresh greens “dancing in our heads.” In truth, we began planning our new Spring Menu six weeks ago and our culinary team is pleased to present our new menus.
Creating a new menu is not an easy undertaking and it does not happen overnight. In fact, planning our seasonal menus takes weeks if not months to accomplish. To look out the window upon a scene blanketed in snow makes it that much more challenging. Just as the temperature outside affects a diner’s decision in what they choose to eat, it does the same in the creative process. But as the days get a little longer, the creative juices begin to flow and inspirational ideas begin to blossom.
First is the mental picture, then a quick sketch to visualize what the dish will look like on the plate. The next step is obtaining the products and last is formulating the recipes. Sound simple? Not so fast! There is much that needs to go on behind-the-scenes to achieve perfection in fine dining. Cost has to be figured and the staff needs to be trained. We have to be able to answer important questions:
• Can the recipe be produced in a larger volume without losing any flavors or integrity?
• What can we grow and source from our own garden? (More on our garden in my next blog.)
• Is one cook in the process going to be overwhelmed with too much work?
• Can our purveyors get us the products on a consistent level that meets our standards?
• Will the product be available for the entire season?
• And most importantly-- Will the guests like what we just spent the last six weeks creating?
Needless to say a lot of time and energy goes into a menu change…and we thrive on it!.
If there is one word that best describes spring it is “green.” Asparagus, peas, snap peas, snow peas, fiddle head ferns, lettuces, arugula, spinach, artichokes, and fava beans are all in abundance this time of year. We have tried to utilize all of them on our spring menus.
As for favorites, I will leave that up to you. It all depends on the weather outside and the mood you are in when you are sitting down to eat. If you are looking for something light and refreshing, I would suggest the sashimi or green salad. Something a little richer would be the crab “Benedict” or potato and leek soup. The two appetizers that really capture the season are the grilled asparagus and artichoke salad. As for the entrees, the rabbit and Berkshire pork are truly unique and delicious and the veal is another dish that epitomizes spring. The halibut is the fish entrée that represents spring green and the black sea bass, lobster, and salmon are all light and refreshing in their presentations.
Please don’t forget all the tasty bites on the bar menu. Lobster sliders, a grilled pizza with prosciutto, spinach, asparagus, and Parmesan, Pea tortellini, and Tempura shrimp-- just to name a few. The Piano Bar is a great place to try some of the dishes in smaller portions and enjoy a glass of wine. Happy spring!