29 Apr 2011

Engaging the Senses at Sensorium

It doesn’t take much to entice me to try something new, especially if it has something to do with food.  So a few weeks ago when I heard about the Sensorium, I was pretty much game without ever quite figuring out what I was in for. What I did know is that there’d be lots of fresh, creative food and we’d be eating in a geodesic dome in the Riverfront.  If that’s not enough to get anyone to sign up, then I don’t know what is.

My husband and I went for the early seating last night, starting off on the lawn with a crisp glass of sangria topped with a fresh sprig of thyme.  Chef Byron Brown, of the nomadic supper club Artisa Kitchen, plays dual roles as executive director and executive chef, bringing diners 12 courses, paired with a full evening of theatrical performance brought to you by an energetic cast of four.  Neighborhood local Jeramie Bellmay, of The Fridge, is artistic director too.

I still am not entirely sure how to describe the evening, except to say it was an entertaining, fun and engaging experience.  The food was delicious: pork belly served on tiny dollhouse chairs, beet gazpacho, seafood trio with a creamy polenta, braised rabbit, little gnocchi pillows … I could go on … and on.  The chef shops daily so the menu changes but, obviously, taste gets plenty of attention here.  And the scent of all the fresh ingredients wafting from the kitchen was heavenly.  At one point our table was overcome by the scent of thyme as it was chopped to garnish the next course.  Visually, well, you are in a geodesic dome, which doesn’t happen very often to me.  The food is visual art in itself, and the performer’s costumes are definitely eye-catching.  There’s one particular segment, during the fish course, that had me mesmerized watching the performer, wearing a giant macrame fish head, float quietly around the room.  Each course was introduced with some sort of song, poem or dance, which makes the traditional “bon appetit” seem a bit bland to me now.  There were also interludes where guests were encouraged to mingle and dance, which was quite manageable since the entire space only has six tables that would fit probably six people each. As for touch, a long, satin ribbon is used to great effect, as are some of the dining implements.

Sensorium runs through Sunday, May 8th, with two seatings nightly.  Tickets can be purchased online.  Remaining available dates, as of this writing, are this evening (4/29) and 5/1, and during the final week from 5/3-8.

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  • Carey

    I’ve been so curious. Thanks for sharing your experience. I think we’ll definitely try to check it out before it’s gone.

  • o

    I’d consider going, but my partner is a picky vegetarian and I’m guessing they don’t do substitutions…

  • Sharee Lawler

    Actually, since the chef shops and designs the menu daily, I’d at least give them a call if you’re interested. I know there was someone at our dinner that had a special request that was accommodated. Vegetarian may not be impossible. Picky, on the other hand …

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