The Bel Air Bar and Grill- Written by Don Rose, Photos by Rich Schmitt
On November 17th, the Bel Air Bar and Grill hosted a delightful evening for select media guests to celebrate their new chef (Chris Emerling) and his new menu. His new delicious menu, I can now say, after experiencing a wide variety of items from it.
The night began with some casual conversation and mingling among guests, including a dozen or so members of the media (food bloggers, writers and photographers) as well as the owner of the Bel Air Bar and Grill (Susan Disney Lord), plus others from the restaurant and several folks from their PR firm (Bread and Butter PR). Susan’s fondness for history was evident as she showed us original menus she had on display from years past, like a 1940’s-era menu from when the restaurant was called the Bel-Air Farm House!
With words, wine and cocktails flowing, we sampled the first two food items of the night as the friendly staff passed around tacos (both fish and BBQ) for guests to enjoy. Not only were they delectable, but I found them to be perfect in size and texture. Some other eateries make tacos that are either too small or too hard for my taste, but these were right in the Goldilocks zone.
After a few minutes, everyone sat down at a long table for the remainder of the menu tasting. We met Chef Emerling, who said a few words, then we proceeded to experience a wonderful assortment of delights from his new menu – a sampling of 14 dishes for our palates to explore. These new menu items, served in groups, included: gazpacho soup, farm egg, and burrata… chopped salad (a Bel Air B+G classic that’s been a favorite on the menu for nearly two decades), Waldorf salad, and a tomato+persimmon pairing… grilled salmon and scallop… pan-roasted chicken, slow-braised pork cheeks, and red wine braised short rib… and finally, the dessert trio of lemon tart, coconut-infused chia pudding, and southern short crust tarte with almond filling.
It would be difficult to pick favorites, as I enjoyed all of the items served from Chef Emerling’s new menu. But if I had to choose, I would say the items I liked most were the tacos, the salmon, and the short rib (soft, melt-in-your-mouth goodness), as well as the tasty tarte.
All in all, it was a wonderful evening, which almost felt more like a family Thanksgiving dinner than a media event – that’s how friendly and warm the atmosphere was this past Tuesday at the wonderful Bel Air Bar and Grill.