Thursday, October 20, 2011

Weekend in Roanoke: Lunch at Blue Apron

As a belated birthday celebration for my Dad, we all went to Salem to have lunch at Blue Apron.  My parents have been there on a couple occasions and always with high praises, and I was very excited to finally get to try it for myself.    

Blue Apron has a pretty impressive menu selection, allowing you to choose between an entrĂ©e size or small plate size.  They have the gauntlet of proteins--duck, sea scallops, chicken, lamb, rib-eye--with intriguing accompaniments: sweet apple butter, black olive-garlic toasts, celeriac remoulade, shrimp and jalapeno glacage.  With so many options and such intriguing components, I was very nearly considering flipping a coin to help me decide. 
When the waitress came to take our orders, I went with my gut and ordered the “Butter Braised Maine Lobster” with leak and artichoke fondue and sauce chasseur.  I don’t often get lobster because it is usually outside my budget.  The small plate portion, though, was only $14, which makes it affordable to feel decadent. The dish is the tail and claw meat nestled in a creamy fondue and combine in a dish that is delightfully hedonistic, full of buttery and creamy self-indulgence.  The dish also has a little topping of green to help freshen the flavors, while the sauce chasseur gave further balance of tanginess and sweetness to provide palate polarity to the creaminess and richness. 
Picture of the Pomegranate-glazed Duck taken by my dad. 
Another entree worth noting was the Pomegranate-glazed Magret Duck Breast with wild mushrooms ragout, baby carrots, fig-almond romesco.  The dish had brightness from the carrots and pomegranate, warmth from fig and mushrooms, and texture contrasts between the coarse seeds and nuts with the creamy potatoes.  All of those components combine in a dish worth ordering.   
For dessert, my mom had the Warm Apple Tart Tatin with Vanilla Ice Cream, I had the Lemon-Lavender Shortbread Bar with Toasted Coconut Flakes, and we both had coffee.  The Apple Tart was warm and melty and spicy; every bite makes you think of Fall.  Although her's was great, I was partial to my shortcake.  I like the idea of lavender, but I hardly ever enjoy it in food.  Pairing the lavender with lemon, though, cut the floral pungency of the lavender.  Plus, the sprinkling of confectioner sugar and coconut atop buttery custardy deliciousness also has a marvelous effect. 

So, if you are in the Salem/Roanoke area and are thinking about "authentically modern cocktails and cuisine," then stop by.  You are in for a luscious treat.    

Blue Apron and Red Rooster Bar on Urbanspoon
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