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Quality foods, creative dishes, & an intimate dining experience

Quality foods, creative dishes, & an intimate dining experience | Cape Cod LIFE July 2016

Photograph by Dan Cutrona

Following in succession, the next course features fiddleheads foraged in Hadley, Mass. alongside Anson Mills’ Carolina rice “grits” and Cape Cod spring garlic, and other aromatics. Montigel takes the slow-food movement down to the plates as he had them specially made for the restaurant from the artisans of Scargo Pottery in Dennis. The ceramic pieces are finished with a glaze of Cape Cod black sand.

The chef and his team of two then surround the center table to plate a succulent piece of East Coast halibut with Zatarain’s spices and minted yogurt with braised young carrots.

During the chatter and open discussion, one of the guests, Hyannis restaurant-owner Christian Boutiette, offered his compliments to the chef. “Just build the perfect bite,” Boutiette says, “and boom—your mind is blown.” When presented with one of Montigel’s palate cleansing cocktail “bursts,” developed with the chef’s molecular gastronomy techniques, diner Ted Komenda, a Centerville realtor, also chimed in. “He is like a mad scientist,” Komenda says with a smile.

The next dish served is a Northeast Family Farms-raised steak, which has undergone a 48-hour sous-vide process—a technically challenging cooking method where a low-temperature water bath is used to cook food evenly without overcooking the outside, creating a mouth-watering tenderness. Montigel and his team plate the beef with a Vermont bacon jam, barbecue consommé, and pickled ramps. “It makes me mad at every other steak I have ever had,” says photographer Dan Cutrona—a comment that elicited cheers of agreement across the room.

Next to greet the palate is the following juxtaposition of flavors: a plate of blue cheese from Great Hill Dairy in Marion, and an unusual accompaniment of “noodles” made of Frank’s Red Hot sauce. The dish again highlighted the chef’s ability to create unusual and tasty concoctions from otherwise ordinary ingredients.

The final course of the night brought lavender-almond ice cream alongside the chef’s own backyard rhubarb, and served with a cup of Snowy Owl Coffee. Montigel says he decided to partner with Snowy Owl, a small batch coffee roaster in Brewster, not only because of the company’s high-quality products, but also because of its organic and environmental stewardship.

By the end of the evening the guests are chatting with one another, moving around the room to discuss the meal as if they just saw the latest summer blockbuster. “Can you believe it when . . . ”, “How amazing was it that . . . ” , “ I’m usually so picky, but . . . ”, are the beginnings of some of the diners’ conversations.

Offering a unique farm-to-table experience, Clean Slate Eatery is located at 702 Route 28 in West Dennis. New menus are posted weekly, and reservations are required as seating is limited. For more information, visit, or call 508-292-8817.

A resident of Cotuit, Stefanie Celata is a freelance writer and a fine wine and spirits representative for Baystate Wine & Spirits.

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