We all know that Aspens Market has a great lunch menu and take-out options. And if you haven’t been to Taco Tuesday, you’re really missing out. But now, you can dine after-hours at a rustic communal table situated between the olive oil aisle and the butcher’s counter. That’s right, folks. Aspens Market and Westside Wine and Spirits are teaming up to offer Market Table Dinners, held at 7:30 p.m. every Thursday.
For $65, you get passed appetizers, a three-course meal and dessert in the intimacy of the closed market (there’s about a 20-person capacity). It’s BYOB, so pick up a bottle of wine or two next door (the staff is really good at helping pair a bottle with the meal). With the 15 percent discount Westside Wine offers — and no corkage fee or restaurant markup — it’s probably a good time to splurge on a bottle you normally wouldn’t buy.
We were lucky enough to score two seats at last week’s dinner, the first of the season (I fully expect these to be packed every week once the word is out). Karen Reid, who runs the store with her husband, Mike, said they wanted to introduce something different with the dinners, something that’s not done in Jackson. (P.S. They are getting quite good at that — while there, I noticed they’ve added a banh mi sandwich to the lunch menu. Finally!)
But back to the dinners. With a reasonable price point and more than enough food, these are great for any occasion. If I hadn’t just celebrated my birthday, I would totally gather 20 friends and buy out the dinner. But it’s also fun to sit with a tableful of strangers and meet new people.
Our passed appetizers began with carne crudo crostini, mushroom duxelle crostini, ham and pineapple skewers and Parmesan prosciutto croquettes. They were all as good as they sound.
For the antipasti course, chef Joel Cox served scallops on celeriac puree with apple and celery leaf salad. How did Cox choose the evening’s menu? Based upon what’s in-season and what’s in the market “to play with,” he said. And with a whole market chock-full of great stuff, one can only imagine what he’ll come up with every week.
The pasta course that followed was so good I could have stopped there (and probably taken my neighbor’s): homemade roasted cauliflower and five-cheese ravioli with brown butter and arugula. Cox made the pasta dough that day (he’s also making fresh pasta twice a week. Aspens Market sells it Tuesdays and Saturdays. Prices start at $6).
Cox then served Robinson Family Farm’s pork two ways: braised pork belly and shank, and roast pork loin with white beans, roasted root vegetables and Brussels sprouts. Dessert was panna cotta with fruit compote.
What are you waiting for? Go call the market now and book your reservation (307) 200-6143. You’ll be happy you did. P.S. You get a free bottle of wine through Dec. 15 with your reservation. And do us a favor? Tell them you read it on Dishing.