The aroma of citrus crusted sea bass plated atop couscous and shaved Brussels wafted through the air of a small wine cellar during a night at the "Chef's Table."
The Wine Bar, an intimate eatery tucked behind The Craft Bar and Wine World at 4424 Commons Drive East Suite D2, is where Chef Seth Davis created a tailor-made, three-course meal Wednesday night for a private party of two. The Chef's Table experience, which was implemented at The Wine Bar in 2016, allows Davis to use his creativity to concoct a unique menu for up to 10 guests.
Those at the private party are served at a wood-carved table inside a private glass wine cellar.
"People love to try new things, and we love to prepare those new things just for them," said Michael Jones, Chef's Table alcohol pairer/organizer. "Our guests love learning about new wines and why we chose to pair them with each dish."
The experience at The Wine Bar begins when customers call Jones to book the special event. During the initial phone call or email, Jones inquires about food allergies, the reason for the occasion and if the host has any special requests for the style of food to be served.
Popular events for the Chef's Table are anniversaries, birthdays and business meetings, Jones said.
The guest information is relayed to the chef, who creates a menu based on those specifications. Davis said he tries to never repeat a menu at The Chef's Table, unless customers come back for a second or third time and really wish for him to recreate a dish.
The completed menu is emailed to the guests for review, where they are then allowed to request substitutions.
Wednesday's guests requested for steamed clams to be substituted for shrimp, which was served in a dish of chorizo, crispy leaks and grilled baguettes. Jones pair the meal with Chateau Romance Bordeaux Blanc, a white wine he said was perfect for cleansing the pallet.
The three-course meal Wednesday was $60 per person, but can reach prices up to $150 for the six course experience. The theme of the night, Davis said, was rustic coastal with a Spanish inspiration.
"People can request any theme they want," Jones said. "We can do a barbecue style or family style. We can even do a beer night and pair that up with our menu. We like to see what's in season, what's local and what's fresh. We'll then make a menu off of that. We're very open."
The chef made several appearances throughout the night to explain each dish, as did Jones to expound upon his wine and cocktail pairings.
The second sea bass course, which also had fresno aioli and frisse salad was pared with Greetings Pinot Gris.
The spicy second course led straight into dessert: lemon cream pie with Grand Marnier macerated berries with a cayenne pepper dust. Jones prepared a smoked classic sour with egg whites as the final alcoholic drink of the night.
In all, the dinner lasted two hours. Jones said the room is reserved, however, for the entire evening.
The restaurant currently hosts about two Chef's Tables per week, but can accommodate one per evening, Jones said. Customers can also book for a lunchtime meal.
"We hope former and new guests come out and experience this for themselves," he said.