Tuesday, May 13, 2014

PTown Restaurants' Opening Parties Have Been Fabulous, With More to Come

Charcuterie is a selection of cured meats and sausages, usually
with a variety of cheeses, and is a real specialty at The Crown.
The Central House at The Crown & Anchor started off the week of opening parties in grand style with a 20-foot-long buffet table of Charcuterie.
There were dozens of choices of splendid dry cured meats and specialty cheeses from around the world, along with breads, pickled vegetables, olives, and unusual condiments. I loved the jalapeño jam. Among my favorites were a sweet and a hot coppa, various prosciuttos, and a great Spanish chorizo, which is dry cured, a bit more dense, and has a deeper, heartier flavor than the common variety used in flavoring Portuguese soups and stews.
The staff was circulating through the crowd with trays of various hors d'oeuvres as well. One of my favorites was the house-smoked kielbasa with fingerling potato, aioli and dill. There were giant ripe strawberries, and petit fours of Chef Devon Gilroy's curry cake with coconut glaze. I'm lobbying for this superb cake, with a little bit of heat, to become a permanent part of the season's dessert menu.
My dessert plate, on the cocktail rail that runs the length
of The Red Inn's spectacular deck on the edge of the harbor.
On to round two, at The Red Inn…
With the harbor as a backdrop, you couldn't ask for a more beautiful setting for this dining room full of treats. There were platters of roasted vegetables, and pickled ones, too. There was a wheel of brie baked in a phyllo crust, plates of prosciutto, cheeses, and seafood galore. There were trays heaped with big, plump peel-and-eat shrimp, and two or three varieties of smoked seafood, including a beautiful smoked salmon. In another room there was The Red Inn's famous spicy seafood and penne pasta.
Servers carried plates through the crowd offering oysters, clams and other delights from the sea, including bowls of crawfish Creole served over grits, one of my favorites on their menu. And don't forget about those delectable baby lamb chops.
Out on the deck, dessert included brownies, blondes, and The Red Inn's delicate, delicious bread pudding, with a sauce of Frangelico, vanilla and white chocolate for drizzling. I drizzled my strawberry, too. Once people had eaten, they whiled away the evening on the dance floor The Red Inn builds outdoors for this party every year. This is always a great night.
This plate shows a fraction of Patio's offerings.
Thursday night was a challenge, because that night Patio and Saki were both throwing opening parties, so I had to be careful not to hurt myself on too much great food.
I started at Patio, with chilled jumbo shrimp, and bushels of fresh oysters were being shucked as quickly as the staff could manage.
Patio's party always has a stunning array of great tidbits streaming out of the kitchen. Some of these are menu items converted to hors d'oeuvre-style servings of just a bite or two, so we can taste a bit of everything.
This plate has an oven roasted meatball with parmesan cream and chive oil, seared tuna with black bean sauce, a fried whole belly clam with a lemon aioli, and a tasty sample of Patio's famous lobster grilled cheese. I tasted some wonderful crab cakes, and I can never pass up Patio's chilled gazpacho because it's one of the best I've ever had.
There were so many tempting samples that I had to tear myself away before I had tried them all, because I had more tasting ahead of me that night at Saki's party.
Samples of Saki's award winning sushi.
Saki serves sushi and Asian specialties in a big old barn of a building that was once a church, then a movie house, and then a popular drag performance and theater space. It is now a very chic restaurant and nightspot, and the perfect place to hold a celebration, with terrific food. The lounge area near the cocktail bar has couches and several low tables, making a comfortable place to relax and talk with friends, and food can easily be served there as well.
While the kitchen was turning out favorites like a teriyaki style strip of steak on a skewer, Sushi Chef Goufu and his assistant were turning out beautiful boat-shaped platters of sushi for the crowd to sample. You can watch these two at work behind the sushi bar near the center of the restaurant.
The menu also includes a full list of appetizers and entrées, some Thai and Vietnamese specialties, and, of course, Saki's award winning sushi. In fact, there are over 60 varieties of sushi, sashimi and makimono rolls on the menu. The Beihia, a makimono roll made with fried sweet potato, is one of my favorite vegetarian dishes in Provincetown. The plate above shows a sample of the spicy tuna roll, and another with a shrimp filling and a layer of crunchy tempura crumb rolled inside.
Any party isn't the same without the Hat Sisters.
The famous hat sisters have been attending most of these opening parties, including Saki's. I saw them earlier that evening at Patio, and I've seen them at openings ranging all along Commercial Street, from Tin Pan Alley to
The Red Inn.
There are still a few openings to go, and these two perennial partiers will likely be attending the event at Backstreet restaurant, at 133 Bradford Street, tomorrow night. Don't confuse the place with the Backstreet bar at the Gifford House. This party is finally scheduled for  Wednasday, May 14th, from 5 till 8 PM. It was rescheduled after a licensing snafu changed the original plans for this new restaurant's opening. See you there.

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