The Culinary Winds Blow Warmly at SirocNovember 9, 2011
By Judith Mazza, Chargée de Presse, Bailliage of Greater Washington, D.C.
A relatively recent addition to downtown Washington, Siroc Restaurant, under the skillful hands of Martin J. Lackovic, Executive Chef and owner, has become a “foodie” favorite. It is known for its Italian-influenced contemporary cuisine and the use of very fresh and seasonal ingredients. Chef Lackovic comes to his career as a chef after realizing that his passion was in the culinary world and not in his previous vocation as a microbiologist. At age 27, he found his passion and the Washington, D.C. Bailliage’s recent event showcased that passion. Named after the warm sirocco winds that reach the coast of Italy from Africa, the cuisine we enjoyed was warm and interesting -- the perfect choice for a mid-fall evening.
A tasting committee consisting of Gastronomique Steven Lustig, Argentier David Burka, Vice Echanson Ellen Kirsh and Vice Conseiller Culinaire, Chef Francois Dionot met in advance at Siroc to pair the wine and make final adjustments to the menu.
This event was one where many members invited honored guests, wanting to share the pleasure of the Chaîne. Jim Wallick, Bailli of New York City, joined us, adding to the atmosphere of fun and frivolity that soon spread throughout the room. Bailli Haar and his wife Xiangnan Su Haar introduced their guests, Jennifer and Scott Frederick, Rachel Weller and Jessica Kramer to the confreres. Vice Echanson Ellen Kirsh “received the award” for the most family members in attendance as she was joined by her husband Tony Clifford, son Alex Clifford and daughter Chef Liz Clifford. We were delighted that new members, Chevalier Pat Carroll and his wife Dame de la Chaîne Julie Carroll, brought their daughter, Heather Carroll. Liz Wheeler, Claudette Ferron and Chef Dan Woodside were guests of Vice Chargée de Presse Judith Mazza, and Chevalier Thomas Walsh and his wife, Kendall Houghton invited Leslie Binns and Phillip Reiman. Chevalier Dany Westerband and his wife, Etsuko invited Marie-Therese Charles to share in the fun. The mix of recent members, long-time members and guests made for a very exciting evening.
We began with a series of passed hors d’oeuvres including hand pulled mozzarella bocconcini filled with oven-roasted cherry tomato and cured black olives, dressed with pesto purée, Brioche croustade brushed with roasted garlic filled with mini Caesar salad, parmesan cheese and house-marinated anchovy and Kobe beef sliders on mini potato roll buns, house-made pickles and home-made ketchup. These were enjoyed with La Marca Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene N.V. Veneto, Italy, which was a particularly wonderful Prosecco, fresh and clean with flavors of ripe citrus. When seated, the amuse buche was a perfectly cooked rigatoni filled with baby spinach, sheep ricotta and herbs in chive butter. It was followed by seared day boat scallops served with braised black lentils, and roasted artichoke hearts with tomato sauce. The Cantina del Taburno Greco Taburno 2010, Campania, Italy was particularly delicious with a fruity nose of apricot, citrus and a bit of minerality. The squid in cappellini served with local baby clams in a white wine thyme sauce was paired with the Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina 2009 Campania, Italy. The crisp acidity was refreshing and was also paired with the third course of red mullet with truffled cauliflower puree, sautéed snow peas, shallots and local wild mushrooms.
As we awaited our fourth course, Bailli Paul Haar arose and made sure that all guests were introduced. The frivolity continued at the tables as we awaited our fourth course of hand-made agnolotti filled with braised bison short ribs, roasted yellow fin potato and Montasio cheese. The Vietti Barbera d’Asti Tre Vigne 2008 Piedmont, Italy was perfect. It was opulent and supple infused with plum and cherry flavors. The final savory course -- Muscovy duck breast, slow smoked pastrami style was served with Taleggio cheese gratin and duck gastrique. The red cabbage, tossed with foie gras was elevated to glory. This dish was paired with the Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino 1997 Tuscany, Italy. The Sangiovese grapes in the Brunello have silky tannins with pure, fresh flavors of ripe plum, Bing cherry and vanilla bean. We sighed with contentment as we sipped the last of the wine and looked forward to dessert.
Bailli Paul Haar presented Chef Martin Lackovic with a beautiful Chaîne plate to thank him for his innovative cuisine as he received the appreciative applause of the confreres. The final course of a ginger poached Bosc pear, almond tart with ginger-red wine reduction and mascarpone gelato was scrumptious. The dessert was accompanied by Allegrini Recioto della Valpolicella 2008 Veneto, Italy. This lovely sweet red wine is made from dried (passito) grapes which are not pressed until the drying process is complete, and then is fermented until reaching the desired balance of alcohol and sweetness. As the evening concluded, Vice Echanson Ellen Kirsh arose to discuss the wine pairings and answer questions while we enjoyed the unctuous homemade chocolates.
The warmth and graciousness of the staff and chef enhanced the experience for all. The culinary winds of Siroc do indeed blow warmly on the confreres of the Bailliage of Greater Washington, D.C.