Special thanks to the Light Horse crew for enabling our felonies on Wednesday night. Given the value of the food and good times, it felt like we robbed the place.Happy Hour
From a turnout perspective, the staff indicated the bar is the strong suit of the business right now. The intention is to build on that by growing business in the dining room through the refined menu and stellar service.
We had such a blast with seamless logistics, I recommend Light Horse for anyone looking to book a group event. Four steps to success:
- Work with Dave to book your next office or other group gathering. Mon/Tues/Wed is best, less fighting the crowd.
- Start upstairs, bringing small bills for the jukebox, shuffleboard, and skeeball machines.
- Dive into the killer happy hour drink specials and novel small plates.
- Have some of your group stay behind for the dinner menu downstairs, and you’ll be a hero as everyone raves about their good time.
Regarding our event specifically, the staff arranged for the downstairs cocktail menu to be available during happy hour, not their normal practice. Several of us indulged the opportunity, choosing Laid Back, the must-have, local gin-based “fairy water” I raved about in previous posting
. We also whizzed around like six-year-olds, playing the games and jukebox courtesy of Dave getting us started with a few dollar bills.Dinner
Around 6:45, we ventured downstairs. The dining room is a cozy-yet-open space, aiming for refined without being stuffy. Napkins, plateware, glasses, etc., seemed well-suited for the environment. Our ten-top relaxed in quiet comfort, a marked contrast to the engaging carnival we left upstairs at the bar. Acoustics are A Very Big Deal™ to me and I was delighted no noise seemed to bear down from above. (Folks at the other end of the table, closer to the door, what did you hear?)On A Pale Horse:
OK, so I had to weave in the horse theme somewhere. As a gift to our table, and to thank us for not getting injured during a righteously competitive game of skeeball, Dave gave us two bottles of Peter Franus Albariño. At the end of a warm summer day, the twist of a Spanish and Portugese superstar hailing from a Napa Valley vintner was an unexpected and harmonious treat. I was at first worried by the intensely floral nose. However, once followed by hints of citrus, melon and distant mineral, met with bright acidity and lingering finish, I reveled in this keenly pleasant pairing to the evening’s seasonal fare. Wish me luck, I’ll be aiming to find a bottle or two of this small production wine to bring home for waning summer evenings on the patio.Triple Crown
: Ouch! I did it again with the horse theme. Dinner was served family style, in two courses of three plates. Local sourcing and honorable handling of carefully selected ingredients appeared throughout the chef’s selections. Chicken, vegetables, eggs, and other treasures showcased the 20 Amish farms within the Path Valley Farm collective in Pennsylvania. Oysters hailed from Dragon Creek Aqua Farm, on Virginia's Eastern Shore.First Course (see pictures):
Fried oysters, finely shredded pickled cabbage, and a punch of horseradish sauce. Upland cress, melon ball, Idiazabal cheese, mint, and bee pollen salad. Heirloom tomatoes, fresh corn, young arugula.
All ingredients were bright, fresh, honorably presented and nearly instantly inhaled. The oysters struck me as a good option for those new to bivalves---the mildness of Dragon Creek salinity would be a good first foray for anyone who wants to replace oyster apprehension with renewed appreciation. Bee pollen is always a fun flair, and Dave even brought out the bottle for show and tell. The ever-present danger of simple summer produce plates is over seasoning via aggressive vinaigrette, but no such worries here. Simple, mindful, and delightfully refreshing. I especially appreciated how the Spanish cheese interplayed with the faux-Spanish wine, a charmer.Second Course (see pictures):
Ham blade steak, fried egg, corn and tomato gratin. Roasted chicken quarter with confit chicken leg and mixed summer vegetables. Southern style BBQ boneless pork ribs served over sweet and sour braised purple cabbage, hush puppies.
I was fortunate to be sitting with family, so had no problem digging right into the knife-wielding situation for all three dishes. No KMango relatives were harmed in the making of this sharing! The crosshatch marks on the ham caught my eye, an attractive harbinger of good flavor. The pork turned out to be a touch too salty solo, but when paired with the egg yolk or gratin, outstanding. As Weezy noted, fans of the yolk need to strike quickly when the plate is served lest you get left out of the delicious running. (This happened to me at Courdoury a while back
, and I’ve learned my lesson.) As CrescentFish reported, the gratin had great flavor but too much moisture…not that we left any of it behind.
On the outrageously successful moisture front, the roasted chicken, atop unctuous confit chicken and vegetables, struck the perfect balance of rich, yet not overwhelming, nourishing summer fare. Anything confit goes better with an acid-backed wine, and I was again appreciative of our treasured domestic Albariño. I was too full to enjoy anything but a small taste of the BBQ and cabbage, but others reported several compliments and delighted novelty of hands-free, dignified ribbery.
Staff service was telepathically attentive, indulgent, and just darn friendly. Meeting Chef Stein was an added bonus. The evening delivered a solid demonstration of The Light Horse’s A-Game, which, if replicated nightly, will place this venue on the list of Sure Things