Jason Severs is one of my favorite chefs in Memphis, because he is a whiz at combining simple ingredients in new and delicious ways. He's also committed to supporting local growers, and along those lines, he and his wife, Rebecca, recently hosted their first "Slow Food Wine Dinner" at their Midtown restaurant Bari. The dinner sold out.
I went with four of my friends, and we were all impressed by our meal, served in five courses starting with St. Augustine rock shrimp, poached with thyme, oregano, and lemon and served with black olives and roasted tomato pesto.
All the dinner's ingredients were locally sourced, except for the shrimp and red snapper, which came from the Gulf of Mexico. (In my world, I say food from the closest coast is still local!) The snapper was pan roasted, garnished with micro greens, and served on a bed of chard braised with garlic. I savored every bite and appreciated the smooth and
fruity Tormaresca Neprica served alongside. I looked the wine up later online and found that it was a highly rated "best buy" priced at $10 a bottle. It made me like the wine even more.
I'm not a big dessert eater, especially on the heels of a multi-course meal, but Sever's finish was perfect: vanilla sponge cake, with honey gelato, glazed almonds, and slices of fresh orange.
If you've never attended a wine and dinner pairing, you should treat yourself. It's a lovely way to celebrate, have fun, and support independently owned restaurants.