Don't Hate Me Because I'm Monday

In a brilliant move, Blackfish chef Chip Roman turns an industry night off (i.e. Monday) into an opportunity to eat like, well, a chef.

An interior shot of Blackfish in ConshohockenIt’s been a while since I’ve had the pleasure of dining at Conshohocken’s Blackfish, one of my favorite BYOs in the area. Last time I indulged, it was in July at chef Chip Roman’s summer digs in Avalon. (This summer, Blackfish Avalon will become Blackfish Stone Harbor. It’ll be open year-round, making an off-season visit to the Shore all the more worthwhile. More details to come on its opening and exact address …)

With the economy the way it is, my out-of-kitchen dining experiences have been limited to places I’m exploring for work. So I was very excited to get an e-mail today touting Roman’s new Monday Chef Tastings, originally conceived to entice his chef buddies into his restaurant for a relaxing, but gastronomically rich, night off. Roman seems to have gotten a soft spot for us “non-professionals,” and beginning March 16, we’ll have the opportunity to join in the decadence.

Considering regular menu prices, this is a pretty good deal—four courses for $45. Dress that up with a boutique-value wine, of which there seems to be plenty these days, and you’re set for an elegant and affordable night out. For optimum enjoyment, diehard oenophiles might want to call ahead to see what eclectic creations are in store that evening.

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Sea bass at BlackfishRoman’s tastings will focus on a single ingredient each week. To kick things off, the March 16 menu will feature “A Study of Porcini,” with the following dishes:

First Course
Porcini Mushroom Cappuccino

Second Course

Seared Day Boat Scallops: Porcini mushrooms, smoked balsamic

Third Course

Steelhead: Porcini mushrooms, coco beans, red zinfandel

Fourth Course

Chocolate Soup, Chartreuse

Roman recently made the semifinals for James Beard’s “Rising Star Chef of the Year” and “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic,” so rest assured, your trip to Conshy—and Blackfish—will be worth every penny.

And for those who don’t want to be official tasters in Roman’s culinary experiments, the a la carte menu will also be available.

119 Fayette St., Conshohocken; (610) 397-0888,

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In Other Culinary News: A New Gadget

It’s called the Wine Smoother, and it’s a funky-looking magnetic apparatus similar to the metal gizmo that you use to store leftover champagne—except this has a spout and is a bit clunkier. So what’s the point? Its purpose is to smooth the tannins in a freshly opened bottle of wine so you don’t have to wait for the wine to open up. It comes in handy at a BYO, when getting that glass of wine into your system is of the utmost importance.

We tried the device yesterday evening. I have to say, along with the thrill of our forks finding the side of the Wine Smoother as we passed bites of our entrées (yes, it really is that magnetic), we were amazed that it actually helped our bottle along.

The Wine Smoother is particularly effective with younger wines, and since we only tried it for the first time last night, I can’t guarantee it’ll work on every bottle. Personally, I’m buying at least a dozen to stash as hostess gifts. At the very least, it’s a great conversation starter.

Check it out at

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