I didn't know what to expect when I was invited to dinner at the Crown & Goose to benefit UT Medical Center Cancer Institute, but what we had was great food and drink for a really great cause, specifically the Mobile Mammography Unit, which hits the road early six days a week providing services to women in rural areas. This is a worthy cause.
The Crown & Goose (Knoxville's only gastropub) in the Old City closed for the evening and set up five tasting stations with drinks matched to each station: fruit and cheese, raw bar, outdoor grill, carving table, and dessert. You could visit each station as often as you liked or just pick a station and stay there. I could have stayed at the raw bar all night.
Here's the cheese station.
And right next to it were the fruits.
Very pretty--and tasty. Then we went through the faux phone booth entrance to The Underground, the Crown & Goose's new (and fabulous) raw bar. modeled after London's Underground. Brit Jeffrey Nash and his wife Pat have created a stylish nook in the Underground, a spectacular accompaniment to the Crown & Goose.
If you enter from Central Avenue, you'll come through the speakeasy door. I'm not sure what the regular password is, but I'll let you in on a special one later.
First up were prawns, crab claws, and oysters--unbelievably fresh oysters, different kinds, from different locales. Oh my. Did I mention I could have spent all evening in the raw bar?
The oysters were so fresh I could taste the ocean they came from. And then there was the smoked trout, salmon, and haddock. Tip: Try the haddock.
Here's my plate.
I am not ashamed to say that I went back for seconds.
Then we had some bangers from the grill in the beer garden. They were only serving beer with the bangers, but since I prefer wine, they delivered some--pronto. Thanks, Scott.
I was enjoying the autumn weather in the beer garden, but Bill wanted to try the carving table.
Very sweet of him to bring a sampling.
The prime rib was especially good. The final course, dessert, was served with port. You had your choice of sticky toffee pudding or a chocolate ganache. How to choose?
Both were great. I left Bill, who had already enjoyed a plate of sticky pudding, to finish the small amount of chocolate left on my plate.
Meanwhile, I wandered back to the grill and was offered a roasted oyster with a tomato salad topping. This was not on the menu, but chef Jeffrey Dalejandro was having some fun. I love it when chefs have fun--and love it even more when I'm standing nearby. After being asked by Jeffrey to name this delight, I christened it Oysters Gazpacho.
I'm not sure if they'll add it to the menu (they should!), but rumor has it that if you show up at the Underground's speakeasy door and say "Oysters Gazpacho," they'll not only let you in--they'll roast you some of these oysters.
A great time at the Crown & Goose for UT Medical Center Cancer Institute--that's what we're having.