Monday, February 24, 2014

Munchery Dishes by Chef Bridget Batson

As you know, I'm a fan of Munchery, a meal delivery service in the Bay Area.  The meals are designed to be heated up/finished by you at home, so the quality is much higher than standard restaurant delivery.

Munchery is not just one chef however, there is a fairly large group of chefs who work to create the menu items.  The experience of some of the Munchery chefs is really impressive, and I've been narrowing in on which chefs I most prefer to order from (dishes are always attributed to their chef).

I was really excited to hear that Chef Bridget Batson joined Munchery right before the holidays.  She was executive chef at Claudine and Gitane, and has brought a number of really great sounding menu items to Munchery, with a focus on more seasonal, lighter dishes.

Since I've reviewed Munchery many times before, I'll skip all of the general details, but if you haven't checked it out already, I highly recommend it - perfect for weeknight easy meals, and so, so much better than standard delivery.  If you use my invite link, you'll even get $20 off your first order.
Winter Chicory Salad with dates, wheat berries, ricotta salata. $6.95.
"This is a great combination of bitter winter chicories, sweet dates, wholesome crunchy wheat berries, ricotta salata cheese. Accompanied by a tangy whole grain mustard vinaigrette."

I'd been eating a very heavy diet for a number of days in a row, and really wanted something light and healthy.  I never normally go for salads, but this one did sound particularly tasty.

I really appreciated the assortment of chicories, many different sizes and colors.  They seemed mixed in their freshness levels too however, some were fresh and crisp, but others seemed quite wilted.  This was strange, as I ordered for the early 5-6pm delivery slot, and consumed it within a few minutes of it arriving.

Mixed in with the greens were a few slices of dates, and a sprinkling each of the wheat berries and ricotta salata.  I was really disappointed by how little of each of these components there were.  I was looking forward to the sweetness of the dates, the crunch of the wheatberries, and the salty cheese, but there was too little of any of them to add anything to the salad.

The dressing I didn't like, it was a very thick mustard, not balanced out enough, just like coating my salad in mustard.

This salad really made me sad, as it sounded so fantastic, but failed to deliver.  The $6.95 price was fine.
California Shrimp Cocktail with celery root remoulade & traditional cocktail sauce. $8.95.
"Shrimp are poached in classic Old Bay spices and served with little gem lettuces, celery root remoulade and traditional cocktail sauce. The remoulade is made of shredded celery root, cornichon, capers, crème fraîche, Meyer lemon and tarragon."

This seemed like the perfect sort of dish for Munchery to offer, since it doesn't require reheating.  And ever since the amazing shrimp cocktail from Swan Oyster Depot, I've been craving shrimp cocktail.  So I was really excited for this.

The presentation was good, with the shrimp arranged atop the greens, sauces on the side.  Nothing was jumbled up.

The shrimp however were rather moist, a bit slimy, and a strange texture.  It is hard to explain, they were not chewy or rubbery, which is what most often goes wrong with shrimp, but something was a bit off in their texture, they were actually mushy.  I guess that means they were undercooked?  They certainly had no snap.  They were also inconsistently cleaned, I found some bits of shell on them.

I did really like the lettuce they were served atop, fresh and crisp.  A mix of little gems and some other lettuces, I'm not sure what they were.  I really liked the lettuce in here more than the actual salad I ordered.

The cocktail sauce was fairly standard cocktail sauce, it could have used a bit more zing.  The remoulade was creamy, and had an interesting flavor from the celery root.  I liked the texture from the bits of cornichon and capers, certainly my favorite of the sauces.  There was also a lemon wedge on the side.

The $8.95 price was very reasonable for 8 shrimp, but overall, this was fairly mediocre, and I wouldn't get it again.
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