A solid charcuterie board is the mark of an excellent restaurant. There’s nothing like sharing one with your friends over drinks, or having one for your entire meal, especially when you know the exhibited meats were made in-house.
Cue the Captial Bar and Grill. The team built an excellent charcuterie program with the help of then-sous chef Travis McConnell, known for his own endeavor with Butcher and Public and now a member of Bentonville Butcher and Deli.
Chef de cuisine Arturo Solis says, “We’ve gotten to the point where we’ve been able to build up our charcuterie program again … we’ve been working off of the reputation and legacy Travis left.”
The boards are a collaboration between Solis and Hotel Butcher Stephen Seals, and include seven to eight items. Solis says of Seals, “He’s very knowledgeable when it comes to cutting meat … we bounce ideas back and forth in collaboration. It’s fun.”
This gives them flexibility to play with the offerings, and to get creative. For instance, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day today, the board includes a corned beef terrine. Cooked in the traditional method, expect a kick at the end, as Solis says, “We added a little bit of brandy to liven it up a little bit.”
Another couple of items Solis has on the board currently include both a duck rillette en gelee as well as a duck terrine. Solis is particularly excited for the rillette, as he says, “I don’t think a lot of people make this particular dish in town – so that’s cool, because it’s kind of unique.”
And the rillette is heavenly – braised duck cooked traditionally and infused in fat with clarified juices. The best part is the addition of honey and vinegar, giving the mouthwatering dish a punch of flavor. While the duck terrine is on the mild side, it’s a solid choice with mustard and pickles.
He laughs and says, “You can tell I had a lot of duck in house.” That’s the beauty of the board, however, as the team can mix it up and work with leftovers or work specifically towards a new idea – like the corned beef terrine.
Things you can almost always find on the board include Seals’ andouille, pork sausage, and country pork pate. The andouille comes with a spicy, cajun flavor profile, while the pork sausage is more balanced with uncured pork belly, fresh herbs and spices.
Don’t pass on the country pork pate, as it is definitely a must-have. Solis explains, “It’s very similar to a pate champagne – it has pistachios, pork, and a lot of cognac.”
Even the breads that come with the board are done by pastry chef Matthew Dunn, and the jams are made in-house, as well.
“It’s fun, charcuterie is fun,” says Solis. “I think it’s nice that we’re doing it in-house here, plus we’re always mixing it up every three to four days.”
Do yourself a favor and head in to try celebrate St. Patrick’s Day before the board undergoes a transformation.