When Nicole from All Heart PR emailed to ask if I'd like to join her and some other influential bloggers for an evening at KO Prime, I did not hesitate to respond. I love steak! (And I'm a fan of Ken Oringer's restaurants.)
The dinner was held this past Thursday night. Earlier that day, I found out that Michelle from Fun and Fearless in Beantown and Rachel from Fork It Over, Boston! were also attending the dinner, so we all met for a cocktail at Marliave and sat outside there for a bit before heading to KO Prime. I had the tres curieux, which has St.-Germain, my newest obsession, in it.
Marliave is right down the street from the Nine Zero Hotel where KO Prime is located, so it was the perfect meeting spot.
When we got to KO Prime, Nicole greeted us at the top of the stairs and we met some of the other dinner guests. We were soon seated at a long table all together. While we chatted a bit and got to know each other, our waitress suggested that we order a bottle of red and a bottle of white. She selected wines that would pair well with our dinner.
We started with the white, which was a pinot gris and later switched to the red, which was called Parlay "The Bookmaker." I enjoyed both wines with the dinner.
Our courses began arriving soon after we were settled in with our drinks. We thought we were having a five-course dinner, but it turned out to be nine courses! And rather than being course after course of steak, we were actually taking a "steakcation" and trying some of the other fare Executive Chef Josh Buehler creates for the restaurant. I'll tell you about my favorite course when we get to it, but I was surprised that it actually wasn't a steak course. I'm pretty impressed when a restaurant that is known for steak can actually create other successful dishes too. Here's what we had:
Squash Blossom Crab Rangoon with Duck Sauce
This dish was a lightly battered squash blossom stuffed with a crab rangoon-like filling sitting in a shallow pool of duck sauce. The dish had a slight kick to it, and the flavors melded beautifully.
Heirloom Tomato Salad
This was, without a doubt, my favorite dish. The heirloom tomatoes were drizzled with a tomato-basil vinaigrette and paired with crispy manouri cheese (a soft Greek cheese) and peach and apricot aioli. Saffron threads were the final touch.
The tomatoes were so sweet and fresh, and they're locals! Let's take a closer look at them.
Roasted Jalapeno Beef Tartare
A sweet and spicy (but not too hot) roasted jalapeno and corn salsa complemented a simple beef tartare topped with a tiny, lightly crusted quail egg.
The most striking aspect of this dish for me was how perfectly the egg was poached. I've been to plenty of Boston restaurants seeking the perfect poached eggs in my favorite brunch dish Eggs Benedict, only to find hard, solid, overcooked yolks. This teeny, tiny egg was poached to perfection with a slightly runny yolk that I could eat with the tartare, combining the flavors.
Fricassee of Escargot
Escargot, also known as snails, is not something I've ever eaten before. I'd like to say that this experience intrigued me to try them again, but it did not. I don't know what snails are supposed to taste like because this is the only time I've had them, but I found them rather earthy and slightly rubbery. Their texture was similar to that of an oyster mushroom, though not as tender. I really wanted to like them. They came paired with thumbelina carrots (thumbelina! I love tiny things), mushrooms, salsify, lardons, and brioche. The carrot puree was sweet and balanced, and the brioche broke up the similar textures of the mushrooms and snails. I don't think I'm an escargot convert though.
Seared Striped Bass
The striped bass was served with a summer succotash of okra, corn, fava and wax beans, and pattypan squash mixed with chorizo and tiny cockles. The cockles were sweeter and more tender than clams, and I am huge fan of them after trying them for the first time in this dish. I'm kind of a wimp, so don't go by my opinion alone, but I found this dish incredibly spicy.
This apricot soda refreshed my palate after eating that last spicy dish. It was topped with a yuzu-mint creme fraiche foam. I felt like I was on Top Chef. Have you noticed that the chef contenders use a ton of yuzu? It's as popular as sriracha and harissa are in Top Chef dishes. The yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit that enhances flavor differently than lemons or limes would.
Pork and Beef Duet
Ah! Time for steak... and pork. The dry-rubbed pork loin balanced atop a chanterelle polenta cake, and stewed olives and tomatoes. The olives made the dish very salty and the pork was a little dry, so I don't think I'd have the pork again. The grilled flat iron steak, on the other hand, was served on the rare side (just what this red-meat-lovin' girl loves) with pickled ramps and harissa (made me think of Top Chef again). I'd never had harissa before, but others at the table mentioned that it was on the sweet side and is usually spicier. I didn't mind the lack of heat.
With all the savory dishes behind us, it was time for another palate cleanser. A quenelle of pineapple sorbet in a passion fruit cream sauce on a tiny dish appeared in front of me, and I dug right in (after snapping pictures, of course). The sweet, light sorbet with fresh pineapple chunks hit the spot. And I love the flavor of passion fruit in any dessert really.
Dark Chocolate Marquise
This dark chocolate marquise cake came with buttery popcorn ice cream, caramel sauce, and caramel popcorn. On its own, the buttery popcorn ice cream reminded me of buttered popcorn Jelly Bellys, and I thought that a salted or burnt caramel ice cream would have been a better choice. But when I took a bite of cake, ice cream, popcorn, and caramel sauce all together, I understood the decision. It just worked. For people like me who love the salt and chocolate combo, it's perfect.
I really had a great time, thoroughly enjoyed the food and company, and would return to KO Prime for another meal. Thank you so much to Nicole for inviting me to this wonderful dinner and to KO Prime for hosting us, feeding us, and treating us.
Before we left, I took a picture with Michelle from Fun and Fearless in Beantown. Michelle and I have been attending a lot of events together lately. She's a great dinner companion and writes an entertaining, informative blog. Check it out when you're looking for creative dinner ideas.
Where have you had an amazing dinner lately? What did you have?
Have you been to KO Prime? What did you think of it?