When you work with food, you make friends with other people who work with food. After a proposal from said friends at Bella Luna, we decided to launch a mini-series of periodic chef collaborations, aptly titled “Dinner with Friends".” Our first of these events was held in the private banquet space at Bella Luna and we collaborated with Chef Brian Bogan to create his “Jappalachian” (Japanese-inspired, local ingredients) vision for a dinner using the beautiful wood fired oven. “Kojin” is the Japanese god of kitchen, fire and hearth and worked perfectly to pull it all together.
We started the evening by sending our guests to a nondescript gray door and through the mop closet to enter—afterall a restaurant address is hardly a surprise! Woodfired oysters with miso and a sake-shiso-champagne cocktail were waiting as guests mingled in the beautifully styled space.
The menu featured clever elements like benne seed furikake on top of Carolina Gold sticky rice, a great combo of Southern and Asian. A monochromatic bowl of black ramen and clams with soy-pickled quail eggs was a delight. And the showpiece—whole roasted rockfish—was a stunner. The meal finished up with a play on lemon meringue pie in the form of a yuzu tart with black pepper meringue accompanied by pots of jasmine green tea.
M E N U
miso + shallot + mirin + lemon
radish + pickled shallot + yuzu kosho + black walnuts + seabean gomae
tonkatsu broth + forbidden rice ramen + soy pickled quail egg + littleneck clams
cucumber + cherry tomato + hakurei turnip + daikon radish + matcha vinagrette
green tea + ginger + lemon
rockfish + ginger + scallions + shoyu + carolina gold sticky rice + benne seed furikake
purple sweet potato + hickory mustard
soy-chile cornbread + miso butter
japanese mustard greens
yuzu + black pepper meringue
Photography by Sarah Featherstone.