On a rainy Saturday evening a couple weeks ago, my husband and I sat down at Café Lurcat, a longtime staple on our list of date night spots. We usually know what to expect—American classics, updated in some interesting way, with a great wine list, all in a prime Fifth Avenue location.
But we were in the mood for something a little different, so our eyes fell to the Voyage menu. As a little background, every three months, Lurcat’s chef, Mike Mueller, curates a menu of selections based on a theme or geographic cuisine to allow guests to explore different taste profiles from around the world. In the past, he’s tackled South American cuisine, and, beginning in October, the Voyage menu will turn to Germany.
Now through September, the Voyage menu is taking on American BBQ. Our server, Kevin, divulged that this had been the chef’s most challenging menu yet, and a lot of research went into crafting its east-meets-west spin. Intrigued, we gave it a go. Jesse started with the Northland beer brat, a homemade brat served with pickled mustard seed (“Texas caviar,” as Kevin described it), tomato jam and an aged cheddar sauce. A hint of sweetness was balanced by the powerful cheddar flavor, and Jesse was grateful that the brat tasted lean as opposed to fatty, as brats tend to be.
As a pescetarian, my choices on the Voyage menu were limited, but I didn’t feel like I missed out at all. I opted for the smoked salmon spread to start, which was served with a strawberry and Meyer lemon jam and some peppers, which I enjoyed most when layered all together on a slice of grilled pumpernickel. It was sweet, spicy, creamy and smoky, all at once. Yum.
Our entrees were delivered by the chef himself, who presented Jesse’s American Pig Plate—Memphis ribs, cheddar grits, Carolina shoulder and jalapeño slaw—along with some insight about the three sauces. The first was a North Carolina vinegar-based chili; the second, sweet South Carolina mustard; and the third, thick, classic Kansas City barbecue.
As an avid griller himself, Jesse was impressed. “There’s an art to barbecuing ribs,” he said. “You’ve got to get the temperature and time right. It’s easy to cook it too fast, too long or too hot. They got it right. It’s falling apart, but not overdone, and they didn’t load up on the sauce to the point that it became overpowering.”
I stayed on the salmon train with barbecued salmon bulgogi, served panko-encrusted with creamy ginger-scallion black rice and Korean barbecue chili, made from a well-balanced blend of cilantro, onion and lime. While not a traditional American barbecue flavor, it was done well and didn’t feel out of place among its counterparts.
We were too full to order dessert—marshmallow ice cream with smoked chocolate soil—ice cream s’mores!—but it just may be the cause of a return trip soon.
Want to try the Voyage menu? We’re partnering with the D’Amico family of restaurants and Café Lurcat to give away a $100 gift card to Lurcat in Naples! Enter to win using the Rafflecopter widget below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
You can also enter through the tab on our Facebook page. The giveaway ends Sept. 3 at 12:00 AM EST. Good luck!