Field Report: Church’s Farm-to-Table Dinner Series
When we visited Allandale Farms with chef Jon Gilman of Church restaurant at the end of April, we got a glimpse at Gilman’s steadfast devotion to local sourcing. Fast forward one month and Church is now featuring prix fixe farm dinner menus for $30 per person; Allandale Farms was on the roster over Memorial Day weekend, so we set forth to experience the latter half of the farm-to-table experience.
As we settled into Church’s lively atmosphere with one of their signature Seven Deadly Sins cocktails (we went with Greed, a gin, elderflower, white pepper, and cucumber concoction) we were already having flashbacks of our Allandale farm tour. The first course was a baby farm green salad of arugula, peppercress, baby red beets, and French Breakfast radishes with toasted green garlic vinaigrette. Four weeks ago, we watched the crew at Allandale plant the greens and radishes that were now on our plate. They were crisp, earthy, and tasted as fresh and alive as anything we’ve ever had.
Monkfish from George’s Bank was the entrée, paired with pappardelle, bok choi, and kale in a flavorful red beet beurre rouge made from Bordeaux wine and beet stock — the eggs in the pasta and the greens were also from Allandale. Even wilted, the bok choi and kale added texture and a subtle crunch to the soft, delicate fish. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t nearly lick our plate clean.
Dessert was crème brulee made with Allandale’s honey — farm manager Jim Buckle’s girlfriend is a beekeeper and oversees the colonies — fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and a sprig of mint. It was rich but not overbearing, with a subtle sweetness that perfectly complemented the berries. Despite being one notch over comfortably full, we were extra satiated by the fact that nearly everything we ate came from a farm a mere five miles down the road.
Church’s farm-to-table series will continue June 9–11th with Butterbrook Farms, June 24–26 with New Beginnings Farm, and June 30–July 2 with Colchester Neighborhood Farm. For reservations, call 617-236-7600; churchofboston.com.