As those of you who read BGWFans know, Zachary and I (Nicole) have been reviewing as many culinary events as possible. Yesterday, for the first time, we attended one at Kings Dominion, and here for your consideration are our thoughts about the Tower Tastings on September 28th.
Our adventure began at the Eiffel Tower in the little-used left elevator, which took us up to the (lower) observation deck. There we were greeted by the very charming Chef Paul Maloney, Kings Dominion’s new Executive Chef. He described each of the dishes, which were arranged on a long table. Although there were no tables or chairs — the event was cocktail party-style — everything was relatively easy to eat standing up, and of course the view was fantastic.
The six of us (Evan, Pretzel Kaiser, Tony, Zachary, Zimmy, and me) tried all five advertised and two additional dishes, and enjoyed everything. The comments below are based on the opinions of Tony, Zachary, and me, but we have included everyone’s favorite dish, as well.
Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese Crumbles on Tasting Spoons
Although none of the three of us are huge fans of beets, we all agreed that we enjoyed this dish. The beets were almost sweet and provided a nice counterpoint to the goat cheese. This presentation was lovely, especially with the contrasting colors.
Champagne and Mixed Berry Shooter
Given the components, we expected to love this small shot, and we were not disappointed. The champagne was refreshing and the berries were huge and ripe. Like the Beet Salad, it was also very visually appealing on the table.
Mini Beef Short Rib Slider with Brie and Smoked Tomato Jam
This dish was Evan’s favorite, and Zimmy said he enjoyed it a lot as well. While none of the rest of us disliked the sandwich, we were not very impressed by it either. I tasted mainly bread, and Zachary said he primarily tasted brie on a dinner roll. It may be because we couldn’t taste the tomato jam, but it just wasn’t as interesting as the other dishes.
Although this side dish was not included on the published tasting menu, we decided to include it in our review, because it was universally loved by our group. The flavors were fresh and light and complimented the other food well.
Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus with Balsamic Drizzle
This flavorful and well-balanced asparagus dish was Tony, Zimmy, and my favorite. It is worth noting that neither Tony nor Zimmy are particular fans of that vegetable usually, but they both loved how it tasted with the prosciutto. I have a weakness for balsamic with vegetables, and for me the freshness of the asparagus and flavor combinations really hit the mark.
Pastrami Smoked Salmon on Cornbread Round with Creme Fraiche and Chive
Both Pretzel Kaiser and Zachary chose this smoked salmon dish as their favorite. The cornbread was superb, and the creme fraiche and chive added a light, tangy freshness that paired beautifully with the salmon.
Cheese, Salsa, and Pretzel Crackers
Although from the description this seems like just a standard cocktail party snack, the salsa was really remarkable. The heat and sweet were very well balanced and paired perfectly with the cheese and pretzels. We all enjoyed nibbling on them, while we were chatting and admiring the view.
We hope Kings Dominion continues to offer these kinds of intimate dining experiences. Chef Paul Maloney really seems to be taking the culinary department in an exciting new direction, and we can’t wait to see what his kitchen produces next!