In August 2017, my wife Zoë and I dined at The Restaurant at Meadowood. Two momentous occasions brought us to this revered spot. It was our 8th wedding anniversary, for one. And in May, Meadowood had just begun serving our Lone Mountain Wagyu on their impeccable menu. Both occasions are worthy of celebration, but I'll keep this writeup about the latter.
First, a little backstory. In April, our Director of Sales Reid Martin reached out to Meadowood. Its three Michelin stars among other industry accolades cement its standing as one of the best restaurants in the country. They had been serving Wagyu beef from Japan for some time. We hoped they'd appreciate what we were doing at Lone Mountain. It turns out, the timing was perfect. They had been searching for an American-raised Wagyu with a compelling story for some time. Ours fit the bill. Chef de Cuisine John Hong requested samples for evaluation and really appreciated the Lone Mountain quality. The rest is history.
All the produce served at Meadowood comes from their own magnificent 2.5-acre Garden. Their menu reflects the changing bounty of their harvests. Over the course of the meal, our amazing captain regaled us with details of the menu items as they were served. The wines came with stories of the people producing it, often in special, limited quantities.
It felt as though the team at Meadowood made sure each ingredient was celebrated, along with the people producing them. As COO and co-owner of Lone Mountain Wagyu, I'm intimate with the hard work and demands of this business. Challenges appear with random regularity. Nature's force and whim can turn on a dime. Short cuts present themselves, taunt you into taking up their shiny offer. We're blessed to have a hard-working, resilient team that believes in our brand of excellence.
So it's rewarding beyond words to sit at our table at Meadowood and hear them tell the story of Lone Mountain to us. They celebrated the work we do, not only by speaking to our mission and our story, but also by preparing it to perfection.
Here's a little show-and-tell about our experience. (Literally, #bestmealofmylife!)
The tasting menu included small plates and wine pairings that led up to the pièce de resistance which was our Wagyu, the only protein (so they told us) that is served with a story of its provenance. After our meal, this beautiful little document highlighted the flow of our meal:
The "field peas" was a little wrap made from the nitrogen-fixing legumes they plant in their garden; simply, the peas wrapped in a crepe made of the peas.
Next up was a tiny pair of tacos: shells made of fried squash blossoms, filled with fermented peppers.
Presentation is one of their many strong suits of excellence, as you can see. The next featured ingredient was okra, which apparently has a lovely blossom (didn't know), which they used as a sort of lettuce wrap for the delectable meat of the okra.
There were a few dishes that we couldn't photograph terribly well, either because we dove into enjoying them, or because our limited iPhone photography skills didn't do the dish justice.
This was a divine gnocchi dish of potatoes, pole beans, and their flowers. Once again, the use of flowering elements otherwise tossed off brought a next-level of delicacy.
Our server relished introducing our "foie-vacado" which as you can see is literally a thin cross-section of perfectly ripe avocado with a circle of foie gras where the pit was.
You might not be able to see this, but sunflower petals were pressed into the pasta sheet that became this ravioli and gave it this delicate flavor of the flower.
At home, I make chicken bone broth regularly, so I was delighted to see this samovar of squab broth ushered to the table, its thick gold embellished by the candlelight keeping it warm underneath. The squab was clay-baked and then its breast carved just so and served as a separate dish (not pictured, sadly).
The Wagyu course was dramatic. Out walked our server with this box (closed). He told us that inside the box, our Wagyu was receiving its final stage of preparation. You can see in the image, the marks where the two 2-oz pieces of our Ribeye were situated. Inside the box with our Wagyu, onion tops were lit aflame and left to smoke in the box. At the top of the image, is a head of black garlic which had been dehydrated for literally 30 days at low heat, making for deep caramelization. The Ribeye was getting its smoky flavor on its way to our table. It was then plated.
There's a deep injustice here: no picture can impart the incredible smell and visible tenderness of the perfectly prepared piece of Wagyu. Nor the pinnacle of taste.
I've tasted our Wagyu in a great many circumstances (and I'm blessed to have that opportunity as part of my role in this business), prepared at home or in restaurants across the country. The combination of special circumstances surrounding our presence here and the impeccable labor of love by the team at Meadowood made this a truly unrivaled experience.
There were three dessert courses, but the one I appreciated the most was this take on Bananas Foster with eggplant in place of banana.
I'm not a food blogger by trade, and I didn't go into this experience expecting to be writing about it. Details are missing, and I've described the dishes with about one tenth the eloquence and passion of our array of servers who treated us that night.
After our meal we were treated to a walk-through of the kitchen. What you can't see in this photo is the awe in my face and the entirety of the stations where all the magic happens.
There's a wall of shelves like this where the impeccable collection of ingredients is used and memorialized.
The stone placemat and dried flowers that served as our place setting for the evening.