What better way for a restaurant to pay homage to a titanic historical event than with food and wine?
That’s just what Gabrielle’s Restaurant, on Main Street in Centerbrook, has done for the past three years on April 14th, offering up a recreation of the decadent eight-course wine dinner that was the last served to the first-class passengers aboard the infamous R.M.S. Titanic.
It was some 99 years ago now that the largest passenger steamship of its time set sail on its maiden voyage, on April 10, 1912. Four days later, at approximately 11 p.m., it collided with an iceberg. In the early morning hours, of April 15 the “unsinkable” ship sank to its watery grave, in the freezing waters of the Atlantic, leaving only 705 survivors.
The idea to commorate and honor the first class passenger’s last dinner was a collaborative one of both, Gabrielle’s owner, Mauricio Salgar, and the restaurant’s chef, Jason Groten.
The undertaking, no easy task, includes an Edwardian menu steeped in traditional French-style cuisine.
It begins each year with a reception time, at which Canapés au Caviar and Canapés au Pintaniers are served. Guests mingle and are then seated at elegantly dressed tables waiting with bated breath for the first opulent course, which consists of Oysters a la Russe – oysters with a vodka relish of vodka, lemon, horseradish and concasse tomato.
And so begins a night of extravagant, succulent dining including Consommé Olga, Langoustine Thermidor, Mignon de Filet Lili, Granite`, Calvados Glazed Roasted Duck Breast and Oranges en Surprise.
The eighth and final course is the most ostentatious of all, chocolate cigars coupled with 30 year-old Tawny Sandeman. Each course was paired with a carefully chosen wine to compliment the foods.
Chef Groten, who considers himself more versed in “New American” cuisine, effortlessly prepared each course of this lavish dinner (along with his small crew) with ease and perfection, pleasing the palates of all 45 guests in attendance.
“We have come a long way from the first time we did this here,” explains Groten. “I think researching history is always a lot of fun and sharing this with others is great. It is an amazing dinner and I encourage everyone to come and experience history through food.”