KMRA Tasting Club offers unique shared dining experiences for the adventurous

Steak Tartare From Kmra Tasting Club

Steak tartare from KMRA Tasting Club. // Photo by Lauren Textor

I had never heard of a tasting club before KMRA Chef and Operator Forrest Wright invited me to one of his events. There’s not much information about the club online, so I momentarily entertained the possibility that this was a gimmick to lure a young, unsuspecting reporter to a hellish murder site.

Blue Algae Cordial From Kmra Tasting Club

Blue algae cordial from KMRA Tasting Club. // Photo by Lauren Textor

Instead, I pulled up to Westside Local on a temperate spring night to meet Wright, who is friendly, attentive, talented, and not at all murderous. 

I sat at a table with four other diners, and we were served glasses of cream sherry and small plates of caviar. Wright instructed us to take the sherry like a tequila shot, using the caviar to substitute salt.

This is just one of many examples of Chef Wright’s inventiveness, which leaves each patron with a new story to tell. 

The six-course evening was a shared experience, meaning that I had to work together with the two other couples at my table to select our top picks from the offerings in each section of the menu. Wright told us that he would take our rankings into account but that he might choose to alter them slightly. 

Uni Toro With Wasabi Green Pesto From Kmra Tasting Club

Uni toro with wasabi green pesto from KMRA Tasting Club. // Photo by Lauren Textor

While we pondered this, we were served blue algae cordials with a rock candy-like garnish. Although this drink wasn’t my favorite, it’s undeniably creative, and it meshes with my personal belief that all garnishes should be edible. 

Soon, we were served our first choice in the umami section: steak tartare with konjac béarnaise foam, crimson mustard, and shallots. The texture of the meat was like butter—unbelievably rich and tender, in contrast with the crunchy toasted bread bites it topped. 

Our next course came from the acidic section. It was listed on the menu as uni toro with wasabi green pesto, onion veil, and miso crisp. This meant nothing to me, but I later discovered that “uni” is sea urchin, “toro” is tuna, and it’s all delicious. The wasabi also cleared my sinuses during peak allergy season. 

Boar Skin Wrapped Rabit Confit With Chamomile Spring Pea Mash Garlic Snapes And Apple Potato Cheddar Gratin From Kmra Tasting Club

Boar skin-wrapped rabbit confit with chamomile spring pea mash, garlic scapes, and apple potato cheddar gratin from KMRA Tasting Club. // Photo by Lauren Textor

The star of the evening, however, could be none other than the savory boar skin-wrapped rabbit confit. When cooked, the garlic scape garnishes appeared like tearing brambles in the woods, allowing me to indulge in imagining that the Fae Folk served me this course. The rabbit ribs used as the dish’s centerpiece reminded me of a gruesome little crown. The boar skin was rich and nutty. I could—and would—eat all this with my bare hands like an animal. I mourned how quickly it was devoured. 

Mango Tart Tatin With Caramel Gelato From Kmra Tasting Club

Mango tart tatin with caramel gelato from KMRA Tasting Club. // Photo by Lauren Textor

While still beautiful, our dessert was much less extravagant than the other dishes. The mango tart tatin was topped with scoops of caramel gelato and crystallized sugar shells. The cubes of mango were juicy and flavorful, easy to mistake for the more traditional apple. The caramel gelato quickly began melting over the warm tart. It felt homey and familiar, and it paired well with our final drink of the night. 

The staff delivered glasses of dandelion burdock rootbeer with vanilla cream. It was sweet and almost nostalgic, reminding me of warm spring days in the sun. 

If you have the chance to visit the high-end KMRA Tasting Club, you’re in for an evening of culinary exploration. As long as you’re open-minded, you’ll walk away with more than a full stomach. 

Categories: Food & Drink