The Chef & The Cook - Dualing Menus with Choices for Every Palate

The running joke with my friends is that I rarely leave my ten mile radius on my off time. A trip to Baldwinsville seems so far away (it really isn’t), but we ventured outside our little bubble to visit our friends at The Chef & The Cook on a date night. Chris interviewed Deanna Germano on Episode 5 of WeEatCNY: The Podcast while the restaurant was still in its construction stage. Actually, we ended up sitting at the very table where the conversation took place! It’s wonderful to see how far Deanna and her partners Mark Germano and Jason Jessmore have come in just a few months. 

The rain pre-empted our plans to sit outside on their patio, but being cozy inside on a dismal evening is never a bad thing. We sat down to enjoy our evening tasting with wine pairing and anticipated a culinary feast.

Here are a few of our favorites with photos at the end: 

Course 1: Grilled oyster with fresh turmeric, radish, almond flour and butter on a bed of sesame and a smoked rosemary sprig.

Paired with Opici Champagne, oysters were the perfect way to start our date. I love oysters in any variation and enjoyed the buttery goodness while the scent of rosemary wafted around us. 

Course 2: 

B’ville Cold Greens: sautéed broccoli rabe, pancetta, Asiago, pickled pepper vinaigrette, house made corn naan “croutons”.

I loved hearing Deanna talk about her experience with her food truck at The Boilermaker in Utica, where Utica Greens reign supreme. Her response to “It’s a Utica Thing” are these B’ville Greens that are “fresher and brighter.” I love Utica greens and order them often, so I was pleasantly surprised by the light freshness of this dish. The pickled peppers added an acidic bite that cut through the richness of the Asiago cheese and makes this dish incredibly flavorful amidst the crispness of the broccoli rabe. Paired with a Sileni Sauvignon Blanc that smoothed the sharpness and brought it all together, I would happily eat this every day.

Course 3: Duck Wing with their signature ssam sauce, soy scallion, sweet heat cherry.

We’ve heard how amazing these duck wings are and they definitely have some serious street cred. Paired with one of their signature cocktails, The Dark Knight, the wings had a very pleasant heat to them. While I am not usually a fan of maraschino cherries, the preparation of the cherry stripped everything I don't like about them away.

Course 4: Lobster Salad: sous vide lobster with cucumber, lime, cilantro, and pickled mustard seed.

Paired with Heron Hill Chardonnay, the clean essence of the cucumber and the brightness of the lime complemented the richness of the lobster and had us wanting more. 

Course 5: Our palate cleansing Watermelon Poke was quick marinated in soy, sesame, and chili with sesame seeds, scallions and cilantro.

The pickled red onions and pea shoots took this to another level and it was fresh, clean and flavorful. The Watermelon Mimosa that accompanied it had fresh watermelon purée, a splash of orange, and prosecco.  

Course 6: Prosciutto and Lemon Rissoto with scallion charcoal, charred scallion gel and beet salt. Black summer truffles and pea shoots to garnish and paired with Malbec. 

The layers of flavor in this dish were so finely nuanced that it took a few bites to truly appreciate the complexity of the dish. We loved it! 

Course 7: Ginger carrot purée, roasted fingerling potatoes, and a ribeye from Rosenkrans Farm where the meat is raised, cured and butchered all locally.

We enjoyed one of Mark Germano’s carrot purées at The Longhouse Dinner and were thrilled to have the opportunity to enjoy another one. The purée was light and flavorful, the potatoes were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, and the meat was seared to perfection.  The beef itself was incredible and needed only a light dusting of seasoning before cooking 

Course 8: Ricotta gnudi with ricotta crema and crispy prosciutto paired with house made Limoncello.

The house-made Limoncello was delicious! I love Limoncello, but it’s often too sweet for me and resembles a lemon syrup. This limoncello was tart and fresh, the perfect contrast to the richness of the pasta and crema.

The Chef & The Cook recently debuted a new menu and it’s one to check out. We look forward to visiting again and enjoying a meal.  

Katharine Johnson