(TL;DR alert: This really needs editing and I should find the codes for getting the correct accents in, but I'm posting now anyway.)
We opted not to get the supplement last night because it would have been served in place of the fish course, which was monkfish. The price quoted, however, was $60 per person, rather than $120 per shareable serving. We both enjoyed the monkfish course and felt we made the right decision.
Our bartender - server said that they've changed things so the bar menu is different from the dining room and chef's counter menu, with fewer courses that are also a little bigger. If I understood correctly, this is not just for summer but a permanent change. From what I read on the website about the five course summer bar menu a while ago, I believe it still some form of a subset of the larger menu. My husband could have used a little more food, but I filled up on the courses they served. I like that they are offering this smaller and more gently priced menu at the bar.
Everything was excellent, though I wasn't fond of the flavors of the black chestnut ice cream that was half of the dessert. Maybe it was because the chestnuts had been long fermented. When I picked up actual chestnut flavor, it was okay, but the rest did not sit too well with my taste buds. Otherwise, everything hit all the right notes. The service was exceptionally good, with one oops.
The biggest highlights were the aforementioned Creole Style Blackened Monkfish, on a bed of very rich and creamy Anson MIlls Carolina Gold rice with mussels and a pourover sauce of etouffee; the Summer Charcoal Grill Out course that followed, with Porterhouse Shenandoah Lamb; and, the other half of the dessert: Birch Sticky Toffee Cake..
My husband needed a sharp knife to cut the monkfish but I was okay with a dinner knife. It was a delicious fish (and shellfish) course, though not the only one that involved seafood.
The lamb that arrived next had been pre-cut but left together on the plate. It tasted like it had been cooked outside on a charcoal grill, so truth in advertising. We were encouraged to pick up the lamb bones to get the remaining bit of meat. This was served with two sauces, a mint and parsley chimichurri and a harissa. There was an accompanying side dish (well,, bowl) of favas, English peas, and braised vegetables with delicious saucing courtesy of an herbal and floral nutmeg veloute and smoked creme fraiche and anchovy. I have no idea how they develop these combinations, but it all worked together really well.
The cake was in the form of a biscuit-sized round tart, topped with summer berries. It tasted like gingerbread to me. I don't gravitate towards desserts, but I loved this. We were supposed to go back and forth with the cake and ice cream, I think, but I didn't find that improved the ice cream flavor, so I finished that and then focused on the cake. (My husband was okay with the black chestnut ice cream. That was just me.) Because we were celebrating, we also got an extra dessert that was a chocolate shell-covered ice cream (my husband laughed when I invoked Dairy Queen). There was also a small scoop of something else that might have been ice cream, but there was some marshmallow in there too, I think. I lost track, and I don't have a menu entry for this to remind me.
As far as the rest of the menu, the amuse bouche was a Smoked Tallow Tart with red onion gelee and rosemary. It was cut in the form of a tiny isosceles triangle of cheesecake. There was a nice bit of pastry in the crust that came through. The Maine Uni Arepa, the bite that came next, was the first of three pretty spicy courses. The arepa was the size of a Ritz cracker and then was topped with a sandwich of the other ingredients. The soy sauce emulsion layer of this was incredibly creamy, and we would never have guessed it was soy sauce. The pickled Fresno chili added quite a kick of heat. Next followed what I imagine is a signature dish of the restaurant, as I see photos of it promoted as a sample of the menu: a brownie-sized 150 Layer Lasagna, this served with a Lobster, Blue Crab, and Clam Fra Diavolo sauce. My husband could identify pieces of lobster in the sauce. I just admired the construction project and enjoyed the pasta and sauce. It was spicy but not overwhelmingly so. It was at this point, I realized that we were in a section of the menu that was really bringing the heat. (The monkfish followed.)
Executive summary: The restaurant continues to excel. The 5 course bar menu is a fabulous way to experience the restaurant.