After seven years in business, Cress Restaurant launches new dual concept

by

Hari Pulapaka
  • Hari Pulapaka
After seven fruitful years, Cress Restaurant's Hari and Jenneffer Pulapaka felt the collective itch to change things up at their highly lauded DeLand restaurant. This past Saturday, that itch was proverbially scratched when the Pulapakas launched the restaurant's new "dual" concept of "Taste Cress" and "Counter Cress" – partly to enhance the dining experience for guests, and partly to alleviate the stresses of restaurant management on themselves.

Jenneffer Pulapaka
  • Jenneffer Pulapaka
Taste Cress, a chef's table experience of sorts, offers guests the choice of three courses ($35, or $50 with wine), five courses ($55/$75 with wine) or chef's tasting menus ($60/$80 with wine). Dishes and wine pairings are served by both Pulapakas (Hari as chef and Jenneffer as sommelier), as well as talented sous-chef Derek Peters.

Derek Peters
  • Derek Peters
Counter Cress, catering to diners without reservations, offers up a menu of Cress favorites from the past seven years.

On Saturday night, we opted for the chef's tasting and left things in the very capable hands of Pulapaka and Peters. I'd recommend you do the same; it proved to be an unquestionable dining highlight of our year. Our meal commenced with an amuse-bouche of cream of grilled bok choy and broccoli, corn pico de gallo and basil, followed by these five courses with wine pairings:

1st Course: pecan-smoked Florida wreckfish, shishito pepper & cashew salsa verde, Napa cabbage and cilantro slaw, spiced walnuts, pickled onions (wine: Les Combs, Colombard, Cotes De Gascogne, France 2013) - PHOTO BY FAIYAZ KARA
  • photo by Faiyaz Kara
  • 1st Course: pecan-smoked Florida wreckfish, shishito pepper & cashew salsa verde, Napa cabbage and cilantro slaw, spiced walnuts, pickled onions (wine: Les Combs, Colombard, Cotes De Gascogne, France 2013)

2nd Course: smoked pasture prime Kurobuta pork rib, chipotle-spiced black beans, watermelon, basil, cucumber (wine: Monte Cepas, Chardonnay, Mendoza, Argentina 2014) - PHOTO BY FAIYAZ KARA
  • photo by Faiyaz Kara
  • 2nd Course: smoked pasture prime Kurobuta pork rib, chipotle-spiced black beans, watermelon, basil, cucumber (wine: Monte Cepas, Chardonnay, Mendoza, Argentina 2014)

3rd Course: pan-roasted Canaveral yellowtail snapper, tomato grits, beurre blanc, crisp okra (wine: Alverdi, Sangiovese, Emilia-Romagna, Italy 2013) - PHOTO BY FAIYAZ KARA
  • photo by Faiyaz Kara
  • 3rd Course: pan-roasted Canaveral yellowtail snapper, tomato grits, beurre blanc, crisp okra (wine: Alverdi, Sangiovese, Emilia-Romagna, Italy 2013)

4th Course: escargots terrine, confit of Seely's Ark rabbit, arugula, pickled onions, grilled bread (wine: Carpineto, Chianti Riserva, Tuscany, Italy 2010) - PHOTO BY FAIYAZ KARA
  • photo by Faiyaz Kara
  • 4th Course: escargots terrine, confit of Seely's Ark rabbit, arugula, pickled onions, grilled bread (wine: Carpineto, Chianti Riserva, Tuscany, Italy 2010)

5th Course: dessert tasting of DeLand pear tart, rum crème anglaise; deconstructed orange-infused vanilla bean crème brûlée; house lemon ricotta tart, Belgian dark chocolate creme, smoked sea salt, wildflower honey (wine: Chicas, Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, San Rafael, CA 2010) - PHOTO BY FAIYAZ KARA
  • photo by Faiyaz Kara
  • 5th Course: dessert tasting of DeLand pear tart, rum crème anglaise; deconstructed orange-infused vanilla bean crème brûlée; house lemon ricotta tart, Belgian dark chocolate creme, smoked sea salt, wildflower honey (wine: Chicas, Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, San Rafael, CA 2010)

To make for a more personal dining experience, the number of seats for Taste Cress has been limited to 20-25. Reservations can be made here.

Cress is open Thursday-Saturday at 5:30 p.m., with a new Sunday brunch starting next Sunday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.




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