Dining with us tonight? – Neil Offen

Neil Offen
Neil Offen

Going out to dinner tonight? Welcome, then, to the new world of dining out.

Hello, my name is Neil and I’ll be your server this evening unless you want Bruce because he actually knows how to pronounce quinoa.

Although you’re still just trying to sit down and haven’t decided yet if you’re sitting boy-girl, boy-girl or some other more exotic configuration, would you like something to drink to begin the meal? Our drink menu includes a number of artisanal cocktails that combine ingredients you’ve never heard of in ways you can’t imagine. They also cost prices you won’t believe.

We have a number of specials on our menu tonight and I will now recite them all to you so quickly that you will undoubtedly ask me to repeat them at least two or three times. Then you probably will still forget most of them as soon as I move away and begin ignoring your frantic waving. Please don’t stop me in the middle of the recitation of my list because then I’ll have to go back to the beginning and start again, and who wants that?

Our soup special is a gingered cream of traditional rice balls with sashes of nori — and, no, we don’t know what that means either — with a dollop of shiitake mushroom extract. Traditionally, we use two iis in shiitake but our mushroom chef is considering using three iiis tonight to add some extra umami.

By the way, our umami is locally sourced and humanely harvested.

Tonight’s salad has been grown by local farmers who have never used chemically enhanced hand sanitizers. It includes baby bok choy, several adult boks who are chaperoning, heirloom tomatoes grown from organic looms, and caramelized caramels that have been taken out of their boxes and left to naturally dry and shrivel in the sun.

The special entree tonight is free-range pork belly, which is a boneless cut of fatty meat which five years ago you wouldn’t have touched with a 10-foot pole but now you can’t touch without a couple of $20 bills. The pork belly is fennel-glazed, whipped to a froth, frothed to a whip, steamed, braised, sautéed and roasted for weeks on end over at Pig Sty Farm just down the road.

The road, by the way, is cage-free. The pork belly then was charred by two firemen who have, without GMOs, contained three wildfires in remote places in the state of Utah. Their credentials are available.

The pork belly is served over a pilaf of farro, a grain that no one had heard of three months ago, and accompanied by a relish made from peach compote and day-caught sea bass intestines that have been mixed with salted peanuts that we harvested only after the seventh inning.

For dessert, our pastry chef has concocted a special panna cotta sorbet tiramisu dulce de leche because we’ve run out of English words on the menu.

Would you like to see the regular menu now or are you ready to order? Or would you like a moment to make reservations elsewhere?

Neil Offen can be reached at theneiloffencolumn@yahoo.com. Past columns can be found at www.theneiloffencolumn.wordpress.com.