Sparrows' tongues, snails, ears, butterflies, angel's hair, shells, "little faithful…
Previously, Benninger rolled into Marisol and served up his battery of jabs and hooks in preparing a Marisol-inspired menu that included octopus fritto and seared black cod with Uptown 21 pancetta.
You can read about that battle here.
Bone Crusher nailed Benninger with a roasted beet and beef jerky salad with the fresh rigot that he loves so much at Marisol. The touch of arugula gives it a sharp finish and matches punch for punch Benninger’s previous use of the peppery ingredient.
Taking a cue from a comfort-food memory, Ward then dishes a delicious pot pie with smokey ham hock and pea that jabs at Benninger’s love of the porky product when he’s in the U21 kitchen. That’s followed by a texture contrast of lamb carpaccio, and pickled egg with crispy sunchoke (Jerusalem artichoke) chips and anchovy Parmesan dressing. Terrific.
Whereas Benninger crisped up octopus at Marisol, Ward chicken-fried some sweetbreads and served them with fennel and celery root slaw and a nice red pepper jelly. This made way for another porky U21 dish with a Marisol inflection: braised pork belly and fried spätzle with a spiced apple mostarda.
Ward’s final course echoed Benninger’s burnt mandarin at Marisol: a dark chocolate and burnt orange mousse cake with a white chocolate gelato.
Over the course of these two Wednesday night “chef swaps,” a couple of things became apparent: these two guys can cook and they seemed to have a lot of fun doing it.
It was also apparent that this kind of event can be a good booster for the entire Waterloo Region food scene and is indicative of the kind of cooking and camaraderie that we have going on here — and which needs to be more widely embraced and promoted both inside and outside the region.
The rising tide lifts all boats — to shed the boxing metaphor!
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