Dinner at Westminster-Canterbury
Pistachio-crusted halibut and a dreamy dashi broth has me looking forward to retirement. I was recently invited to dine with Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay to try their Wagyu Beef Short Rib and Lobster dish featured at Foodbank’s Taste of Hampton Roads event which received the People’s Choice Award (Read more about the event here). The basis of their dish stemmed from a ‘fire and ice’ concept in which one item is served hot and one item is served chilled.
Unless you or a family member has been a resident at Westminster-Canterbury, you're probably not familiar with their stellar cuisine. I thought the evening would entail their winning dish, maybe an appetizer and some dessert. Little did I know, I was about to undergo a sort of culinary marathon of an eight-course meal. Luckily, I had my husband to accompany me in this grand endeavor.
Once we were greeted by Executive Chef Peter Tseng, our journey began with an earthy amuse-bouche, which is essentially a taste to get your palate started. The nibble was of pistachio-encrusted goat cheese, dried figs, aged balsamic and microgreens atop toasted pumpernickel.
Next up was blackened chicken satay with an aged balsamic glaze and blue cheese crumbles accompanied by a green salad with grapes, strawberries and red onion.
Course three was of macerated blackberries, blueberries and strawberries cascading down halibut encrusted with pistachios over steamed asparagus and orange slices. Chili oil trimmed the plate.
Next was a forest mushroom stew accompanied by gouda mashed potatoes and Dijon-crusted pork with a port wine reduction. The bright green you see is lovely scallion oil. Phenomenal.
The award-winning ‘fire and ice’ dish did not disappoint, either. The ‘fire’ portion of the wagyu—or kobe—short ribs were plated like two pieces of sushi. Pan-seared foie gras rested on each piece then was topped with tri-colored housemade caviar. Chef Peter explained he made the caviar out of the celery, carrot and onion broth used to prepare the short ribs. Surrounding the beef was shredded leek and potato ‘hay’ with truffle demi glace.
The ‘ice’ segment of the dish was a poached lobster martini topped with homemade crème fraîche on a citrusy bed of a carrot, fennel and asparagus slaw.
Next up were thick-cut, juicy tuna pieces atop sautéed vegetables, resting on a bed of the most glorious coconut sweet rice. Once served, Chef Peter saturated the dish in a wonderful, warm, lemon-ginger dashi broth.
By the last course we barely had room, but we managed to make it through a few nibbles of the jerk chicken with pineapple chutney and sweet potato hash before we boxed up the rest to tote home.
But don’t think they let us leave without some sweet treats. We wrapped up the evening with a couple glasses of White Hall Vineyards' Edichi and a platter of crème brûlée, a mini chocolate tart, Irish cream mousse and a lemon blueberry cake. Di-vine.
Chef Peter embraces the farm-to-table movement as he works with local farmers to bring the freshest, in-season ingredients to his dishes. Between each course, we took a break from chomping to soak in the sheer spectacle of the Chesapeake Bay at sunset. The sunset became more and more brilliant shining through the community dining room, which is just one of the four areas where residents and their family members can dine. From the warm service to the full-flavored, innovative dinner, Westminster-Canterbury goes above and beyond to take care of those in their retirement community. Needless to say, we felt right at home.