by Donna Cain
We love good food and have fun testing new recipes, dining out ourselves and spending time with guests to help connect them with the perfect dining experience to compliment their stay at the Captain Freeman Inn.
Last night I orchestrated a surprise for my husband Byron’s birthday. I tend to always want to go to our tried and true favorites but Byron likes to try new things, so I decided to make a reservation at a new restaurant on Cape Cod that has created quite a buzz……..the Clean Slate Eatery in West Dennis. Created with a impressive passion, Owner Chef Jason Montigel is filled with wonderful stories about the food he is using that evening, which often is locally sourced. He is full of good information, has a wonderful smile and has learned the technique of creating a balance between letting the guests interact and orchestrating a relaxed and endearing dining experience.
We were pleasantly surprised with the whole evening, including the quality of the food, the presentation and lovely atmosphere. This is not your normal dining experience as this chef owned eatery creates a trendy new environment that Cape Cod gastronomes will surly enjoy. There is one large table formed in an open square so that you can see all the food preparation and can talk comfortably with the guests and chef. There is also a 4 top pub table off to the side and we learned of some small expansion plans to add three more tables.
I was especially taken with a comment made by Chef Jason about the simplicity and joy he likes to share with his guests that includes breaking the bread, enjoying a good glass of wine and eating simply prepared food that is locally sourced. After all good food is all about community, and we loved his refreshing take on farm to table.
Montigel is quite experienced and claims to have most recipes in his head. He creates a new menu each week after he has learned what is fresh and local. His newest thought for next week included using green strawberries from a farm in Brewster that he was going to pickle. The menu includes 6 courses, including a vegetarian option and each course can include wine pairing id desired.
After pouring a glass of sparkling rose we were served one perfectly cold West Dennis oyster with lemon horseradish. I loved the presentation on a large seaweed covered stone. What a wonderful way to start a tasting feast…. The attractive presentation on unique pottery and stone added to the wonderful vibe Montigel as created.
The next course was quite a new twist on flavors and was one of my favorites since I love my carbs and butter! The warm roll was a house made Hawaiian roll with a butter spread that was quite astounding. The chef infused butter was browned, infused with lemon zest and citric acid. This culinary delight can hardly be called butter as the flavors were so unique and paired perfectly with the sweeter roll. These first two courses were a chef’s surprise and were certainly a wonderful way to tease the palette and to beging a wonderful meal.
I often order scallops when dining out and this official first course was a show stopper. one perfectly prepared pan seared day boat scallop with smoked Lucki 7 Pork Belly, Potato Hash with Vermont Maple Syrup Hollandaise. I would have been a perfect camper eating a meal of just these scallops. They truly were delicious.
The next course was not my favorite but I saw many empty plates so I am sure that was a personal preference. The dish included baby kale from our local Chatham Bars Inn Farm. The Kale was charred and creamed with shaved walnuts, beet gel and pickled beets.
My husband is a beef kinda guy but even he loved this fish dish which was served on a striking custom made plate from Scargo Pottery. The dish included butter poached, Cape Abilities Tomato Leaf pesto, Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice Grits, Tomato butter with my favorite- buttermilk fried green tomato croutons. Out of this world delicious!
Always love a palette cleanser and this one was a new take and quite a surprise for the palette including a little vodka.
The meal shifted to heavier reds and my husbands favorite- Hanger Steak from Northeast Family Farms with a Port Poached Vidalia Onion Petals, Mustard Greens, Great Blue Cheese Viaigrette. Needless to say the birthday boy was very happy. The hanger steak was cooked in a 48 hour sous-vide process which is a technically challenging cooking method where a low temperature water bath is used to cook the beef evenly. Once reaching the perfect temperature the beef is char grilled to create the perfect taste the tenderness. This beef was like nothing else I have ever tasted.
The next course included a cloth bound cheddar, capri goat cheese, pickled peppers, raviolo , ritz cracker crumbs with Parmigiano Reggiano Brodo.
Last but not least a wonderful dessert with delicious pour over coffee from our local Snowy Owl Coffee Roasters.
Shown above is the Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding with Ganache, Chantilly Cream and Cherry Sorbet.
Chef Jason runs this extraordinary operation with Andrew Bauerle, chef de cuisine and Bob Boucher, sous chef.
We plan on recommending this wonderful 16 seat restaurant to our guests. Advanced reservations are a must as there is just one seating. We wish Jason all the best in his chef endeavers.