The Ryland Inn, a beautiful Landmark Hospitality restaurant and event facility, hosted two delightful Farmers and Family Dinners during the month of March. These three-course farm to table dinners are served family-style and hosted by Executive Chef Christopher Albrecht. I had the pleasure of attending their March 26th dinner which showcased Shibumi Farm Mushrooms that were picked just hours before our meals were served. All three delicious dishes, which were made from fresh, local ingredients and paired with wines from Alba Vineyard, incorporated mushrooms (yes, even dessert!). It was the perfect excuse to get out of the house on a Sunday night to make new friends and enjoy a wonderful meal.
The evening began with cocktails and hor d’oeuvres at the Duck Bar while we were serenaded by a wonderful bluegrass trio to set the mood. After a little mingling it was time to take our seats at the beautifully decorated communal style tables, which gave everyone a marvelous opportunity to meet and chat with new faces and even make some friends. We were quickly treated to our first course, Pea Tendril and Baby Arugula Salad, which featured a Mushroom-Sherry Vinaigrette, Mushroom, Ramp and Goat Cheese Tart, Candied rhubarb, Easter egg radishes, and Hemp seed. It was absolutely delectable.
The main course, in keeping with the theme of the night, was a wonderful Mushroom Surf & Turf. We feasted on Smoked Sterling Silver Ranch Beef Sirloin with Grilled Spring Onions, Crab and Hedgehog Mushroom Fondu, Black Trumpet & truffle bordelaise, Whole Roasted Mushrooms, Grilled Asparagus, and Spring Garlic. Each and every plate was left empty after this fantastic course. We couldn’t get it into our mouths fast enough
In between each course Chef Albrecht came out from the kitchen to discuss each dish in great detail, and he went out of his way to say hello to each and every guest and make sure we were all enjoying ourselves. He told us that the evening was “not just a time to eat dinner and chat, but it’s really a time to have a conversation about food.” And converse about food we sure did. We learned all about mushrooms, from growing and cultivating to preparing and cooking them, from Chef Albrecht as well as the evening’s featured guest speakers, Alan Kaufman and Crawford Koeniger from Shibumi Farm.
For dessert we were treated to a Warm Chocolate-Piopino Cake which flawlessly incorporated mushrooms with Coconut-pink peppercorn sorbet with a Fig and Banyuls reduction. This mouthwatering treat was utter perfection.
I know I am not alone in saying that I had the most fabulous time at The Ryland Inn’s Farmers and Family Dinners. Not only was I able to enjoy a delicious three-course farm to table meal with some amazing company and great conversation, but it was also an educational experience with some of the Garden State’s finest food and horticultural experts. If only all Sunday night dinners could be as fantastic as this. For more information and to see when the next dinner is, visit RylandInnNJ.com.