It had been years since we visited Joseph Decuis in Roanoke, so for Jon’s birthday in September, I made reservations and arranged for a tour of the Joseph Decuis Farm. If you’ve never been to the farm, you need to check it out. Joseph Decuis is the only farm to fork restaurant in Northeast Indiana, and it is incredible to see the meticulously designed and cared for gardens and the immaculate stables that house the Wagyu cattle. Aaron Butts, executive chef, showed us around, introduced us to the goats, and talked to us about designing the menu around what’s in season in the garden. It really is an unparalleled operation. The farm is open for tours on some weekends. Check the website for more information.
After touring the farm, Jon and I headed to the restaurant to enjoy a special birthday dinner. We were lucky enough to score the best seat in the house, right in front of the large picture window overlooking picturesque downtown Roanoke. There was a wedding in the rest of the restaurant, which allowed us an opportunity to watch the kitchen staff prepare dinner for 50 guests. The kitchen is located smack dab in the middle of the front dining room, partitioned only by counters and half walls, providing an optimum view for guests. For those who love the culinary arts like us, this is a real treat. The timing of food preparation and watching the well orchestrated kitchen staff was a unique experience.
Jon and I believe food should be shared, so we ordered an assortment of dishes to enjoy together, starting with the Roasted Baby Beet Salad ($10) made with local honey, rosemary, pistachio nuts and shaved manchego cheese. We are fans of beets, but this salad takes them to the next level- it’s a savory sweet treat and was the perfect start to our meal.
Next, we sampled the Charcuterie Board ($18), a selection of premium house cured meats. This was a fun experience. The house cured meats are served with stone ground mustard, fruit, and an assortment of pickled vegetables and greens, providing a salty sweet experience. I had the chance to try headcheese for the first time and liked it. Though it gets a bad rap, when done well, it is considered a delicacy. Head cheese is not a cheese, but a terrine made with flesh from the head of a calf or pig. I know it doesn’t sound good, but if you have a chance to try it at Joseph Decuis, I recommend it. All of the meats are prepared and cured in the restaurant, guaranteeing their quality and freshness.
We chose the Heirloom Tomato Vernale Salad ($11) for our salad course. It’s a seasonal dish made with buffalo mozzarella, fried eggplant, shaved fennel, basil oil, tomato oil, aged balsamic vinegar. The tomatoes were fresh and juicy and paired well with the crunchy fried eggplant. The shaved fennel, oils and vinegar combined for a pleasingly savory taste. Overall, this was a light and refreshing way to transition to our main courses.
For our first main dish, we selected the Pan Seared Red Snapper ($36) with charred eggplant puree, grilled focaccia, homemade chorizo, blistered tomatoes, cipollini onions, and garden squash. Typically known for its delicate flavor and firm texture, the Snapper paired well with the creamy eggplant puree and the spicy homemade chorizo.
Jon and I were most excited to try the famous Wagyu beef, raised on the Jopseph Decuis farm. To learn more about it, check out the website. We ordered the Wagyu Rib Eye (F2 75%) medium rare, and the best way to describe it is: melt-in-your-mouth buttery goodness. The meat is leaner than a prime steak, and we savored each bite. It was served with creamy mashed potatoes and a subtle corn salsa. Absolutely delectable. Though the price will deter us from having this on a regular basis, I recommend you give it a try at least once. It was an incredible experience.
Thank you Aaron and the staff of Joseph Decuis for making Jon’s birthday dinner one we will never forget!