A couple of years ago my family and I relocated to the Jersey shore from Chester County, Pennsylvania. I try to live life without regrets, but I definitely regret not attending a farm table dinner at Talula’s Table before moving. You need to make reservations exactly one year in advance of the date you want to attend and need to call at 7am. I don’t know about you, but planning where I’m going to eat dinner a year in advance is not easy. I have heard that it is well worth the advance planning so one day I hope to get there.
In the meantime, I was excited and intrigued to learn about the Super Secret Supper Club (SSSC) at Brownies Squared, a bakery and more located in Mays Landing. Once or twice a month they offer a four or eight course community table dinner. I love anything food related with the word secret in it and I when I found out they were offering a vegetarian SSSC, I was ready to sign up.
I attended with two friends on a Friday night in May. The dinner took place upstairs from the bakery at a community style table where I was amongst eleven guests. We brought our own wine and enjoyed chatting with our fellow diners while the dinner got under way. Chris Groome is a talented and innovative chef who knows what he is doing in the kitchen. He started us off with four amuse-bouches (bite sized tastes) consisting of cauliflower ice cream, asparagus hush puppy, lentil and beet salad and corn bread with passion fruit jam. Each one was bursting with flavor. The cauliflower ice cream was such a nice balance of sweet and savory and probably my favorite, though they were all fabulous.
Then the eight courses started arriving. Chris and his assistant , Jason Holmstrom, plated the food at the head of the table and explained what each one was after it was placed in front of us. The caramelized onion tart with warm brie started us off and was spectacular. The next course, crispy fresh mozzarella slider with tomato reduction, was like a grownup version of fried mozzarella and reminded me of toasted ravioli from my days of living in St. Louis. The coconut cream spinach and toasted almonds was so much lighter than traditional creamed spinach. I would have been happy with just a big bowl of that for dinner and look forward to trying that in my kitchen. The avocado spicy watermelon and jicama salad was the perfect textural blend of creamy and crunchy with fantastic spicy sweetness from the watermelon. For me, the showstopper was the portobello wellington. Vegetarian dishes are frequently less filling than meat dishes, but not this one. Portobello mushrooms gave this such a nice meaty texture that you didn’t even miss or need the meat.
You would think that after an eight course dinner you would be ready to explode, but this was not the case at all. Each course was the perfect size and so full of flavor. Chris Groome is onto something great at Brownies Squared, which is way more than just a bakery. If you are looking for a special and unique culinary experience, attend a super secret supper club dinner or just check out the bakery the next time you pass through Mays Landing.