Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier threw quite a party Sunday night at Arrows in honor of their acclaimed restaurant’s 25th anniversary.
The list of guest chefs was impressive and included their mentor Jeremiah Tower , legendary Bon Appetit editor Barbara Fairchild, and four chefs they competed against on the reality TV show Top Chef Masters - Debbie Gold, executive chef of The American Restaurant in Kansas City; Patricia Yeo, chef/owner of Om Restaurant & Lounge and Moksa in Cambridge, Mass ; Takashi Yagihashi, owner of Takashi Restaurant and Slurping Turtle in Chicago; and Sue Torres, chef/owner of Suenos in New York City.
The evening began with music, a selection of hors d’oeuvres made by the guest chefs and a glass of bubbly in a heated tent on the restaurant’s front lawn. Guests who wanted to see the restaurant’s gardens were given a tour.
Here's an adorable cake that shows Mark and Clark sitting on a hay bale in their garden, surrounded by cute little vegetables:
Before dinner, Gaier and Frasier each said a few words, growing emotional at times, especially when they recalled the lean early years when they were trying to get the restaurant off the ground.
Gaier, usually the quiet one, displayed his sense of humor as he introduced the four chefs from Top Chef Masters, which shot in Las Vegas and gave Gaier and Frasier the boot after just a few episodes. Gaier noted, to much laughter, that all the chefs had met in the desert and “some of us were there longer than others.”
Then Barbara Fairchild said a few words:
Then the chefs got busy in the kitchen.
The first course was from chefs Gaier, Frasier and Lee Frank: Maine lobster en papillote with garden vegetables, crispy noodles, red curry, lobster with noodle salad and fresh green curry:
The second course, from Debbie Gold, was beets with cashew yogurt, cranberry-squash gelee, pumpkin spice:
The third and fourth courses were standouts. Patricia Yeo made pan-roasted steelhead trout, squash noodles and preserved lemon vinaigrette:
Chef Takashi Yagihasi delivered what I considered the best plate of the night: seared Maine scallops with soba gnocchi, king trumpet mushrooms and celery root foam.
The fifth course was duck confit, sweet plantain and goat cheese gordita, pipian, and tomato coulis, prepared by chef Sue Torres.
The dessert course was the creation of chef Jim Dodge: baked local apples, brioche croutons, Eccles cake, lemon-rum curd and Maine Jersey cream.
The evening came to a close at 11 p.m., and everyone went home with satisfied palates, full bellies, and happy memories.
Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.
Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business before turning to journalism more than a decade ago. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs. A newcomer to Portland, she is an online content producer for the Press Herald.
Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or saxelrod [at] pressherald.com.
On Twitter: @susansaxelrod