This past weekend we visited one of our favorite pop-up chefs that we spoke about on craveDFW last week, Nicole Van Camp. Nicole is a firecracker chef that we have set sights on to make it big on the Dallas dining scene and she has already taken strides in that direction.
Having worked at Nana (where her husband is sous chef to Anthony Bombaci) and Bolsa, Van Camp has a great insight into top cuisine and possesses a great imagination for local products.
We sat down to last Saturday’s BYOB dinner armed with a few six packs instead of wine because of her suggestion that the mystery dinner might pair well with a few local brews, and brought along some Lagunita’s Little Sumpin’ Ale, which is a wheat and pale malt brew that has a smooth hoppy finish that I was sure would pair with the chef’s offerings.
The pairing was ideal for the amuse which was a truffled cauliflower puree with caramelized Texas shitakes mushrooms, with a sherried antique. The dish was smooth but musky and gave credence to what might lie ahead at this mystery dinner.
We were then served a salad of red-leafed lettuce, Texas grapefruit sections, a grapefruit vinegar, a fennel-bacon Chevre (hand-made by my dinner companion Ali Morgan from Scardello), and toasted pumpkin seeds.
The dish was fresh and whimsical, and especially enjoyed the chevre that will soon be available to the public. We hope to have news on the cheese very soon.
The young chef then sent out a pallet cleanser; a witty cantaloupe and coriander sorbet that had the entire long table sighing and asking for more.
Entrée was a beer braised brisket with succotash of Yukon Gold and red potatoes, sweet white corn, Bright Lights chard, pattypan and “purple” green beans. Van Camp introduced each course with her quiet aplomb, and shared with the crowd that the green beans were indeed purple, but the color washes away with the sauté.
For those unfamiliar, the patty pan are the tiny pâtisson or scalloped button squash. As with all Van Camp’s ingredients, these were locally procured and added a smiling element to the dish.
Van Camp almost always serves a cheese course and this night was no expectation. These cheeses were made available by Scardello and were served with drunken currants, dates and a tomato marmalade.
For dessert she served a deconstructed S’more brownie with graham cracker earth and toasted marshmallow created by Nana pastry chef Jason Wright who assisted Van Camp in the kitchen that night. Although sweet, the dish was brilliantly executed. The toasted marshmallow gave us campfire memories and paired very well with my last beer which was a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA.
The meal was concluded with an aperitif poached pear with champagne.
You may RSVP for the next pop-up this Saturday evening by contacting Nicole Van Camp at email@example.com, text: 214-507-2136 or send a Facebook message:www.facebook.com/nicole.gossling. Please be sure to include any dietary restrictions you may have in your RSVP.