Chef’s Tasting and New Restaurant
Last month we were able to partake in another tasting with friend and chef Jason Hook at the Jamison Publick House. We’ve covered two of his previous tastings, one at the Glasbern Inn and one at the Fern Hall Inn. This tasting was his second at the Jamison Publick House, and just the beginning of what he’s planning for the future.
The dinner started off with piping hot spoonbread served with a trio of butter: white truffle, pumpkin, and smoked sea salt. The white truffle was extremely rich and earthy. Chef Hook excels with truffles, bringing more flavor out than I can recall tasting anywhere else. The pumpkin was fair and the smoked sea salt delivered a savory character.
My favorite two courses were the squab and the venison. The squab, brined in dashi and roasted, was succulent under the spice of curry. The venison was the real winner here, however. A beautiful blood red on the inside, achieved through sous vide and later roasted with pine needles, was simply dripping with excellence after being mopped through a reduction made with local concord grape juice. And the finale, a pumpkin zabaglione with sour cream panna cotta and blueberry preserves, placed delicately beside a pile of graham cracker shavings? Delicious. The only thing I would’ve changed in the meal is the venison tartare. Chef Hook did a riff on his steak tartare with burnt toast ice cream by incorporating venison tartare with Hendrick’s gin ice cream. Having tasted the tartare with just seasoning and compressed apple, I would’ve been more than happy having it as such and the ice cream as a stand-alone dessert. That and I’m a gin hound so a bowl of Hendrick’s gin sounds like heaven.
So then, about the future. Chef Hook is partering with the owners of the Jamison Publick House to open a new restaurant in Upper Milford Township. Details are being finalized at the moment, but what I can tell you is the spot is beautiful. Beginning after the holidays, Hook will host a chef’s tasting-style dinner every Monday until the opening of the restaurant next year. These dinners are designed to allow him to tinker with ideas and menu items for the new concept, H2O Kitchen. The opening menu will feature a 17 course tasting menu as the centerpiece, with veggie and a la carte options as well. Chef/partner Hook will be bringing in Kevin O’Cane, former chef at Four Seasons NY (among other restaurants) to co-chef the restaurant. See the menu at the bottom of the page for a concept of the menu. We’ll keep you posted with updates on H2O Kitchen as they’re available.
The venison tartare being mixed up in the kitchen
The beautiful stone-backed bar at the Jamison Publick House
Wood-slat bar where you can sit and enjoy a cocktail or beer
Dining room at Jamison
First course: spoonbread with a trio of butter
Blue crab with pumpkin mayonaise and quince
From left to right: Stellar Bay oyster, venison tartare with gala apple and gin ice cream, pumpkin mignonette on halibut crudo
Scallop with spaghetti squash, littleneck clam, brown butter
Foie gras with butternut miso and beech mushrooms
Risotto with pumpkin, chantarelle, chestnut toffee
Squab with applewood-smoked bacon, celery root, and curry
Venison with parsnip, brussel sprouts, concord grape sauce
Dining room after dinner
Pumpkin zabaglione, sour cream panna cotta, yuzu/blueberry preserve, graham cracker dust
Below: Concept menu for H2O Kitchen