5/29/2013 11:36:00 AM

Best Thing We Ate: Ballet Russes Buffet at Garden Café

Salmon coulibiac at the Garden Cafe; photo by Rob Shelley/National Gallery of Art
Art, music, dance and food come together at the National Gallery of Art’s Garden Café where acclaimed chef Michel Richard (Central) has crafted a buffet menu of Russian and French bistro classics in honor of the exhibit: "Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes."‏ The serene setting, with its lovely sculpture fountain, is perfect for a museum break or catching up with friends. After settling in, we visited the tempting buffet.


Adorable little blini dabbed with sour cream and caviar, and shot glasses of crimson borscht set a tone of Franco-Russe indulgence. The entrees - beef stroganoff with noodles, and a beautiful salmon coulibiac - are likewise inspired by tradition. We were particularly taken with the picture perfect rendition of the fish classic. Rich puff pastry contrasted with the succulent salmon, and flavorful spinach and egg filing. The celery root remoulade, with a surprise addition of plump raisins, and the lentil salad complemented it perfectly. We didn’t have room for the grilled eggplant dish.

Chef Richard performs his magic with the dessert: Strawberries Romanoff. In his version, the seemingly simple combination of berries and whipped cream gets irresistible depth with brown sugar and crème fraiche. We'll be back to enjoy the multimedia exhibit, again, and the art on the plate.

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