Opa! This most recent Dinner Lab experience was the most fun we’ve ever had at one of their communal tables. Anthos was a Greek-inspired menu concept served at a cool venue. So nice to share inspired food with interesting people.
The venue was Borrow, a vintage rental furniture business. So we were surrounded by eclectic pieces, and seated at farm tables and old barn doors converted to table tops. Plus it’s amazing what a couple strings of lights will do for the ambiance.
Our party sipped on a pair of bourbon based specialty cocktails, one garnished with fresh rosemary, the other with fresh sage. Tasty and potent. Then it was time to dig in to the five courses offered up by Chef Russ Bodner.
First up was a crisp Greek salad with winter vegetables, red mustard and a red wine vinaigrette. Didn’t taste particularly “Greek” to me, but it was good nonetheless.
Second course was a lightly seared tuna with fennel pollen crust, thassos olives, dehydrated feta and an orange vinaigrette. Not sure why the feta, a dry cheese as it is, was dehydrated. I loved the olives, the tuna was nicely cooked and the portion size was good. But the dressing wasn’t as bold as I would have liked.
The third course was a favorite table-wide. The ricotta dumplings with crab, crispy tobacco onion, spinach and leek. It was Mediterranean comfort food as its best. I liked every element of this dish and gobbled it up.
Just when we thought we’d had the chef’s best…then came the lamb. Fourth course was a slow roasted leg of lamb. Even people the table who don’t eat lamb, liked this lamb. What set it apart of the bulgar trahan and the harissa.
As we bargained for a second helping of the fan favorite, Chef Russ Bodner addressed the crowd, explaining the inspirations behind his menu concept. Of all the chefs we’ve dined with at Dinner Lab, Bodner was by far the most engaged with his diners, going table to table and spending significant time with everyone to gather real feedback.
I dreamt about the decadent dessert that was the fifth and final course, a sticky toffee pudding with a metaxa toffee sauce and mahlepi ice cream. To. Die. For. It was just sweet enough…to make you want to lick the bowl.
This wasn’t necessarily my favorite menu of all the Dinner Lab events we’ve attended. But it was the first time we spent much time talking to the other diners at our table and I really loved that part of it. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with other local food fans, swapping restaurant recommendations and chatting about unrelated life lessons, like “what not to say to your pregnant wife.” It reminded me what the experience is all about. And I can’t wait to dine again