As I sat at the bar waiting for my Wednesday night tablemates to arrive, I perused the menu looking for dinner candidates. My eyes were immediately drawn to a menu listing for arugula salad, made with Surryano ham. I recalled reading an article – in Garden and Gun magazine of all places – about this artisanal ham from Virginia. I had made a mental note to order some. It is a classic story of an “aha” moment in business – grandson realizes that granddad’s process for curing Virgina style hams is basically the same process as curing prosciutto, and why can’t we upscale this product? Fast forward a few years and now Surryano hams – made with high fat, hormone free, heritage Berkshire pigs and aged under exacting conditions for up to eighteen months – command top dollar, and are front and center on the country’s best menus, including The Local’s.
|Arugula salad “Wrap” with Surryano Cured Ham|
That one entry that jumped off the page proved to be emblematic of Chef Wesley Dier’s menu – billed as seasonal, local, sustainable, and eclectic American. It is indeed all of the above. Everything about the place is red white and blue, including the wine list, which offers a wonderful collection of American offerings – with nary a bottle of Beaujolais to be found. The menu reminds me of the regional American theme of the Culinary Institute’s American Bounty restaurant. Diners will not be surprised to find out that Chef Dier, who also ran the kitchen at the now shuttered 40 West next door, is a CIA alumnus.