Spring is in the air and there’s no better time to go to the mountains. That’s just what we did for the Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro Cline Cellars wine dinner. We’ve been fans of ‘The Bear’ for years and, even though their seasonal menu is spectacular, their wine dinners are always top notch. Please note their next dinner is May 2nd and will feature Jarvis Estate Wines (menu below).
Before the dinner, guests enjoyed a Wheatley Vodka cocktail hour accompanied by a generous spread of appetizers. Selections like Biscuits and Compote, Benne Seed Candied Bacon, Charcuterie and Cheese, and one of the best Fried Oysters we’ve had. As the dinner hour approached guests were lead into the banquet area where Chef Shelley Cooper presented six delicious courses that, as she said, touched on all the aspects of her life and career, from the ocean to Memphis, to the Appalachian mountains.
The first dish was a taste of spring. It was a tangy Strawberry Soup with clabbered cream and pistachios. Moving on Shelley presented a scallop beautifully displays on the shell that it arrived at the restaurant in. Topped with dill, capers, lemon, bacon and fresh asparagus.
One of the standout dishes was the fried quail. Guests were in a quandary as to whether to pick it up or eat it with a fork, but after the first bite, most diners agreed to pick it up and dig in as quickly as possible! The quail was accompanied by truffled wild mushrooms, creamy grits, onion gravy and sunflower sprouts.
Next Shelley brought in her Asian travels with a Kentucky-yaki salmon that was rich and balanced well with apples, bok choy and carrots.
This was a big, hearty dinner! The final savory course was a bacon and tomato lamb chop with flavors of olives, spinach and grapes.
Finally, the evening was closed out with a delicious dessert that was salty, sweet and a perfect ending!