Sojourn plans to occupy kitchens in small spaces like The Tasting Room, a cozy wine bar on Magazine St., where our dinner was held. The concept is to present a variable tasting menu on a weekly basis to 10-12 guests. Sojourn pops up, creates a magical meal, and then they are gone, updating you via social media as to when and where the next dinner might be. After the dishes I enjoyed during Chef Jeff's first dinner, I hope Sojourn stays around for a while.
The first dish represented a bold and interesting plate of raw radishes surrounding a tarragon and oyster emulsion. The radish is mild in flavor, but very crisp in texture, which paired well with the velvety tarragon puree.
|Pig Ear, Arugula, Herbs, Horseradish|
The second course has ruined every other salad for me. I think I could eat it everyday. Coming from somebody like me, that's a huge statement. The horseradish vinaigrette added just enough kick to the peppery arugula to make a savory salad come to life. The fresh baby carrots added a playfully delightful component and I'm not sure that I can use anything other than salty, crispy pig ear instead of croutons in a salad ever again. This was truly a remarkable dish.
|Chicken Skin, Andouille|
Thin chicken skins with andouille spice gave us a nice salty crisp before the soup course. The plating throughout the dinner was on point. The chicken skins were served on sealed slices of wood that Jeff made from a fallen tree limb.
The soup only worked if you can appreciate celery, so fortunately growing up in Louisiana where celery replaces the carrot in the Holy Trinity of Cajun Cooking, I didn't mind. A strong flavor of celery cut with a slight creaminess made for an earthy, cozy soup.
|Cracker, Brown Butter|
Another snack plated on pieces of a fallen tree limb, this stump held a homemade cracker with a hand-churned brown butter. Simple, sure, but also really well executed and a great bite between the other courses.
|Grains, Smoked Yolk, Scallion|
Blair's favorite dish smelled like coffee and smoke upon arrival. Dehydrated corn puff-esque morsels adorned with a smoked egg yolk crowned a bed of other grains. The smokiness of the yolk made it smell heartier than I expected a grain-focused dish to be. It's important in dinners like these to not fill up too quickly, so I appreciated the lightness of the menu items up to this point.
|Purple Potato, Dill, Fennel|
A warm, crushed purple potato wading in dill oil came out to the table next. Once again Sojourn showed that simplicity can be as delicious as complexity. Sometimes letting ingredients speak for themselves truly allows them to shine.
While we waited for the next course, Chef Jeff brought out some sliced bread with a hand-churned, cultured butter. Thick in consistency, the fresh butter had a hint of bleu cheese in flavor.
|Pork Belly, Fennel, Rutabaga|
I haven't met any pork belly I didn't like. The slow-cooked meat and rendered fat creates a flavorful and punch of pig that nobody can resist. Beautifully plated with charred fennel and rutabaga puree, the fork-tender pork belly gave us a nice savory lead into dessert.
|Apple, Honeydew, Yogurt|
An icy green apple granita sprinkled atop a dollop of homemade yogurt accentuated by medallions of honeydew melon put it's tart foot forward. The ensemble of flavors gracefully walked that fine line between tart and puckering so well that I couldn't stop eating until every drop danced on my taste buds.
|French Butter Pastry|