The Fabulous Real Food Nation Supper Club

- January 4, 2012

"...the final course offered the perfect ending notes to a memorable meal. What a way to ring in the New Year!"

As New Year's Eve day dawned, my husband and I were sick and tired of soup, hot tea with lemon and honey, throat lozenges and eucalyptus oil. I came down with the dreaded Santa Fe crud on Christmas Eve, following the farolito walk, and he soon followed. By December 31, I had been nursing my cold for a solid week. It was clear that we wouldn't be able to celebrate the New Year as planned with dinner at the Second Street Brewery and music by Todd and the Fox.

Out of desperation, I reached for the phone and placed a call to Real Food Nation's Supper Club, located just down the road from our home, in the hopes that they might have an opening for us. Jeremy told me that they'd had a cancellation for their five-course New Year's Eve dinner, and they could fit us in for the one and only seating that night at 6:30. I whooped, then coughed, and told my husband we weren't going to spend the last night of the year on the couch with a box Kleenex and a glass of EmergenC.

That evening, we bundled up in some dressy duds, warmed up the car and braved the night air as we drove the ¼ mile to the Supper Club, which opened last year to rave reviews. Although we are regulars at Real Food Nation, the café located just across the parking lot from the Supper Club, we hadn't yet tried this upscale eatery owned by the same people behind Real Food. We had, however, heard rave reviews about the food served by co-chef Kim Müller and chef de cuisine Craig Day, and the restaurant had been on our list for a special occasion. Sick or not….this was a special occasion.

Walking into the Supper Club is like entering the warm and inviting home of a good friend. Beautiful rugs and other art works hang from the wall, and everyone looks relaxed and happy to be there. Jeremy greeted us in the foyer and took our coats before escorting us through the bar, with a view of the open kitchen, and into the intimate dining room, warmed by merry flames from the kiva fireplace. As the place filled up with eager diners, the staff expertly whisked through the room, serving miniature rounds of homemade herb-crusted bread and whole wheat focaccia.

In defiance of our colds, we ordered a glass of Gruet Brut to pair with the amuse, a Humboldt Bay Kumamoto oyster served on the half shell with citrus granita and a daub of prized Ossetra caviar. The briny taste of the ocean from the oyster paired perfectly with the granita and the fine caviar. Next came one of the most divine soups I've ever tasted – a velvety organic carrot soup spiced with coriander that was full of intense flavor.

The second course was equally delicious – a piece of butter poached Maine lobster tail generously sprinkled with Oregon black truffles and served atop agnolotti stuffed with Bellweather Farms Jersey ricotta. The lobster was tender and tasty and the superb truffles accented the flavors of the agnolotti and the lobster meat. 

The main course featured a perfectly roasted Piedmontese beef tenderloin, cooked medium rare and topped with a wild mushroom demi, accompanied by wilted winter greens and a gratin of Yukon Gold potatoes, leeks and bacon. Wow. What. A. Dish. You could cut the meat with a butter knife and the mushroom demi was to die for. The potato gratin may just have been the best gratin I've ever eaten and the wilted greens had a rich, earthy flavor. Each dish perfectly complemented the other.

The fourth course was a cheese plate. But this was no ordinary cheese plate. The Cypress Grove Bermuda Triangle goat cheese from Arcata, Calif. tasted like manna from heaven – creamy, silky and absolutely delicious. The extra mature cheddar from Fiscalini Farmstead in California was full of big flavor, and the Big Woods Blue cheese from Shepherd's Way Farms in Minnesota was killer. The plate included organic fig paste, sea salt and olive oil crackers.

And yet there was more. The fifth and final course, the Supper Club Dessert Trio, left me weak, and not because I was battling the end stages of a cold. These small, sweet treats, created by pastry chef Thomas Vigil, were perfect. Consisting of almond chocolate terrine, caramelized tangerine tart, passionfruit chocolate dome, nougatine dust and chocolate mousse, the final course offered the perfect ending notes to a memorable meal. What a way to ring in the New Year!