NEWTOWN >> Autumn is here. That means falling leaves, frost on the pumpkin and a new mouthwatering menu at Solstice of Newtown.
Every time the season changes, new items influenced by the season appear on the Solstice menu offering new and delicious choices.
And the autumnal equinox is no exception, bringing with it a menu filled with the abundance of the fall season and all bursting with a harvest of flavors and the freshness of a brisk autumn morning.
The Solstice menu is heavy with the fruits and vegetables of the season, including apples, pears, pumpkins and mushrooms, all adding a unique and flavorful taste to the new season.
“This fall we’re focusing on three different ingredients,” says Executive Chef Jason Audette. “We have pumpkin as a feature. We have mushrooms as a feature. And you’ll see apples and pears used throughout.
“The pumpkin is a little different. It’s not your normal pumpkin,” says Audette. “We’re using something called calabasa pumpkin, a winter squash typically grown in the West Indies, tropical America and the Philippines. When you cut into one for the first time, it smells a lot like cantaloupe. It’s very floral. It has a little more depth of flavor, which means it’s more versatile for us. It blends itself well to sweet dishes and savory as well.”
Mushrooms are another prime ingredient. “We’re using Portobellos. We’re also using oyster mushrooms, Shiitake, Cremini and eventually we’ll get into some Maitake,” said Audette.
“And being from upstate New York, pears and apples, to me that screams fall. In fact my wife and son were just upstate picking apples yesterday. We’re using the stems, the seeds, everything,” said the chef, in their autumn dishes.
“We’re putting pear on top of our Parker House Rolls. When they are three-quarters of the way done, we’re adding shaved pear so you’ll have crispy pear on top of them,” said Audette. “And when they come out of the oven, we drizzle it with some honey and we serve them with cultured ginger butter.”
The Advance, along with other members of the media, had the opportunity to sample a few of the dishes during a virtual press event.
We selected the cremini mushroom soup with poached parsnips, puffed pastry and sherry gastrique; the Brussels and pears salad with a maple sage ricotta and pear cider vinaigrette; and pan roasted salmon with poached parsnips and rutabaga, Brussel sprouts, pomegranate and a cider emulsion.
The mushroom soup was the perfect starter along with the fall fresh Brussels and pears salad, which screams out fall with its blend of flavors and textures.
The main course - the pan roasted salmon - is a delight with the poached parsnips, Brussels and pomegranates accentuating the flavor of the fish and again adding the freshness of the season to the dish.
And for dessert, we dived into a delicious slice of apple bread pudding with an apple compote, Carmel drizzle and salted caramel gelato.
The apple bread pudding was the perfect ending to a deliciously fresh and very seasonal meal. The pudding was light and airy and was a sweet way to cap off the meal.
Another popular dessert choice are the Coffee-Spiced Ricotta Doughnuts with chocolate sauce and Chai tea caramel. They come highly recommended by the chef and by our dinner colleagues.
And speaking of our dining colleagues, they also enjoyed the Red Wine-Poached Pear Caprese starter. It is served with Maple Sage Ricotta, Citrus Compressed Grapes, Walnut Picada and a Pear Cider Vinaigrette.
“The grapes are crazy,” remarked one of the diners.
“They are just grapes that are sliced. We put them in a bag with some lemon juice and honey and cryovac them,” says Audette. “You force the liquid through the grapes when you compress them so that it stays within the grape, but it also doesn’t lose any of its own liquids. It gives the grape that translucent look to them like we’ve done something crazy.”
Our colleagues also sampled and very much enjoyed the Roasted Chicken as their main course. It is served with Sweet Potato Purée, Poached Parsnips and Sherry Chicken Jus.
Also getting a lot of attention from our dinner colleagues was the Caramelized Parsnips side dish served with Smoked Yogurt, Salted Caramel and Pomegranate Chimichurri.
“We have a feeling in the kitchen that’s going to be our number one selling side,” said Audette. “That’s a crowd favorite with the staff so far.”
Another tasty side is the Roasted Cauliflower with Walnut Tahini Vinaigrette and Grated Pecorino.
Other seasonal starters, salads and sides include: Pumpkin Hummus; Beet Waldorf with Blue Cheese Crumbles, Cranberry Gelée, Apple Gelée, Walnut Picada, Red Wine Vinaigrette; and Pear Caprese with Maple Sage Ricotta, Citrus Compressed Grapes, Walnut Picada and Pear Cider Vinaigrette.
Seasonal main courses include roasted bronzino with mushroom duxelle, sherry chicken jus, Brussels sprout romesco and sweet potato puree; mushroom mignon (vegan) with poached parsnips, cauliflower rice and spinach puree; and pumpkin risotto with toasted walnuts, sherry gastrique, fall herbs and apple gelee.
And don’t miss the Solstice Sunday brunch and its biggest seller - chicken and waffles, which changes with the season.
For the fall, the buttermilk fried chicken is served with carrot cake waffles. It’s served with candied carrots, which are cooked down with sugar in orange juice and cinnamon and finished with golden raisins. “That gets dressed over the fried chicken and carrot cake waffle with a hot walnut syrup,” says Audette.
Another seasonal feature are carrot cake waffles - without the chicken - with a cinnamon marshmallow fluff and walnut praline.
Also sure to please is a carrot cake sundae with cream cheese gelato, carrot cake waffle crotons, chai tea caramel with a cinnamon torched fluff on top.
“So the first layer you dig into is a caramelized cinnamon fluff. It’s pretty good. It’s a good brunch dessert for sure,” says Audette.
Brunch also features a cheese and charcuterie board, Solstice salad, beet Waldorf and lobster nicoise, create your own omelet, avocado toast, lobster roll, pumpkin grilled cheese, fall fruits and lots more.
For the full Solstice menu, hours and other information, visit www.dineatsolstice.com