Dinner is so much more than a meal, it’s a connection. As we all learned during the pandemic, eating and entertaining together is a privilege and goes well beyond the food. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to attend a Chef’s Dinner Event at Sen Restaurant. The evening was a welcome reminder of how much there is to cherish in our community: Discovering new dishes, exploring fresh perspectives, and connecting with new culinary concepts.
The Chef’s Dinners are intended to be educational, explorative, and above all else—tasty. Sen sees these events as “opportunities to let our chef’s creativity come out and manifest in delicious ways!” After two successful Chef’s Dinners this season, Sen is thrilled to invite guests to more events in the future. Seating is limited, so please contact Sen to make your reservation.
Hosted by Jesse Matsuoka, co-owner of Sen, each course and drink was introduced and explicated by their respective brewer, chef, or farmer. Roman Roth, Winemaker at Wolffer Estates, gleefully recanted the anecdotal origins of the collaboration between Sen, Wolffer, and Brooklyn Kura. Learning about Sake from Brooklyn Kura’shead brewmaster and unashamed self-described Sake nerd, was a treat.
I am grateful to the guest who asked the question I’m sure many of the diners were wondering, “is Sake meant to be served hot or cold?” The answer from Jessie, who is Japanese and loves Sake, “Both! Sake is meant to be enjoyed at hot and cold temperatures. When I’m on a hot beach in the summer, I love ice-cold sake. When I’m in a hot tub and it’s snowing out, nothing compares to the heaven of piping hot sake.”
The food and drink menu highlighted the evening’s collaborative motif. First out was the “Sake Martini,” crafted from Wolffer’s Oishii Cider and Kura’s Ginjo-style sake yeast, truly, “capturing, the essence of Japanese Sake and Wolffer’s modern, vibrant cider.” The collaboration continued in the food menu with a dangerously cute grape/Sake popsicle intermezzo course—a smile-raising treat and perfect palate cleanser before the evening’s main entree.
Delicious and delightful, the dining courses were much more than sushi, although the roll was my personal favorite of the night’s offerings. Another treat was mesclun greens with fresh carrots and whipped tofu, which was rich and smooth without overpowering other flavors. Interestingly, the farm manager from Quail Hill Farm Produce explained that cold weather at this time of year makes the “carrots sweeter and the greens become perfectly bitter.”
Just last year an intimate event like this dinner would be impossible due to pandemic restrictions. Sitting at shared tables, shoulder to shoulder with other food & wine lovers, conversations slowly extended past each group to include everyone at the table. Surely, the wine and Sake libations helped loosen the conversation.
I learned from another guest at my table that the chef’s dinner event was delivered to your home during the pandemic. “It was a great way to feel like we were going out to eat during the pandemic. We’d have our tablet plugged in next to us at the dinner table and then Jessie [co-owner of Sen] would talk about what we were enjoying and give instructions on pairing drinks and courses. It was easier to cheat, maybe sneak in a dinner roll or extra cocktail during one of the courses… but we much prefer to go out when we eat out.”
The event was held on the top floor of Sen’s beautiful 3-story building in the heart of Sag Harbor Village—admittedly, from the street, I have enviously stared at the warmly lit perch, wondering if I would ever see inside. Intimate but not at all cramped, the space was the perfect environment for the 6-course tasting menu that required a considerable amount of service. Needless to say, I was not disappointed and now whenever I walk by the building, I will have memory rather than mystery.
For more info, visit Senrestuarant.com || @SenSagHarbor