YoungArts Pairings at Ted’s – A Monthly Supper Club Series
Once a month, on a Friday and Saturday evening, the rooftop restaurant in the YoungArts Tower will transform into a contemporary supper club launched as Pairings at Ted’s. IlluminArts and Musimelange will present the monthly themed dinner-and-a-show format, which combines the artistic talents of National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) alumni with fine dining provided by the Starr Catering Group.
My visiting best friend from high school and I were fortunate to have been invited on Halloween weekend to the first of eight Pairings at Ted’s, entitled Melodies of the Macabre. The evening’s musical program would feature “haunting” classics performed by mezzo-soprano Amanda Crider (of IlluminArts and Seraphic Fire), and baritone Gabriel Preisser (of Musimelange) with accompaniment by a small string orchestra.
We entered, from the YoungArts campus free underground parking garage, by elevator to the top floor. The sleek modern Frank Gehry-designed venue, in tones of soft silver and dark wood, feels intimate thanks to the spacious table placements. Video projections on each wall displayed Gothic ink drawings or a forest of leafless winter trees creating a dramatic atmosphere perfect for the spooky holiday.
The Pairings at Ted’s series offers a themed prix-fixe dinner and show, ($95 per person) with a 7pm seating time, or a la carte dining with general admission, ($35). You can also choose to attend the performance only, and sit at the bar, or in the comfy sofa lounge area at the back of the dining room.
At the dining table, we were offered a seasonal Spiced Apple Sangria of Red Wine, Brandy, Apples and Cinnamon or wine by the glass or bottle. We both agreed on the 2012 La Florencia Malbec, and enjoyed its nice jammy, yet sharp, flavor of strong dark fruit and currant.
To start, from the autumnal prix-fixe menu, my friend ordered the Duo of Heirloom Beets with Goat Cheese, Saba (a sweet syrup made from fresh grape juice; also known as vino cotto), and Candied Pumpkin Seeds. The presentation was elegant, but she found the minimal use of greens unfortunately enabled the chèvre to overpower the beetroot.
My Grilled Octopus with Oven Dried Tomatoes and a wonderful tangy Lemon Aioli was excellent. However, the accompanied Gigante Beans were a tasty new-found discovery. These white legumes, popular in Greek cuisine, resemble large Lima beans, but have the creamy texture of Pintos.
Once we spotted OSSO BUCO with Roasted Pumpkin Risotto as a Pairings at Ted’s main course option, there was no other choice for us both. Ossobuco (Italian for “hole in the bone”) is a hearty dish of cross-cut veal shanks that are braised in a broth of vegetables and white wine, and typically accompanied by risotto. We were both disappointed over the lack Roasted Pumpkin present in the Italian rice dish.
However, we were quickly blown-over by the enormous serving of the tenderest veal, with a protruding, and equally massive, marrow-filled bone. The braised Broccoli Rabe and Cipollini Onion were perfection, and the broth, now a rich red pan sauce, was incredible. It could have of taken days to finish our meal, but, we had still dessert ahead. As service was ending soon for the 8:30pm performance, we wrapped it up for home, including the bone for my Min Pin.
At last call, we ordered another glass of the Malbec to enjoy with the performance as well as our dessert tapas. The selection of bite size sweet treats included a Citrus Meringue and Key Lime Tart. But, our mutual favorites were the Chocolate-Caramel Sea Salt Bar and the Raspberry-Custard Tart with an Edible Wildflower that added an awesome savory touch.
Our hour-long musical program featured four Art Songs, a combination of classical music and poetry, and four songs by famed Austrian composer Franz Schubert, including “An Die Musik”.
Each were performed as a duet between accompanist and vocalist. Mezzo-Soprano Amanda Crider was very moving in presenting Ottorino Respighi’s Il Tramonto, a lyrical interpretation of “Sunrise”, a poem written Percy Bysshe Shelley for his wife Mary, (author of Frankenstein).
Baritone Gabriel Preisser entertained us with Edvard Grieg’s In The Hall Of The Mountain King, both vocally and by donning a woman’s long flowing wig as well as the mask of the troll king to represent characters from the Norwegian folk song.
Overall the experience was amazing, and eagerly soon to be repeated.
Upcoming monthly themed Pairings at Ted’s include “A Broadway Thanksgiving” with YoungArts Alumni All-Stars and “Holiday Bonanza” featuring Jazz artist Jake Goldbas and special guests. Later in the spring, the Nu Deco Ensemble and a live DJ fuse classical with EDM (Electronic Dance Music), and Academy Award-winning filmmaker and alumnus Doug Blush presents “20 Feet from Stardom,” his Best Documentary winner that follows the careers of backup singers.
The Pairings at Ted’s series is held at Ted’s at YoungArts restaurant located on the top, seventh floor of the blue-and-white tiled “jewel box” YoungArts Tower (formerly the Bacardi Building) at 2100 Biscayne Boulelvard, in Miami’s Arts + Entertainment District. For more information and to purchase tickets go to http://www.youngarts.org/teds
To learn more about how the National YoungArts Foundation is supporting the next generation of artists, visit youngarts.org