Clifton Inn Restaurant: A New Chef Works His Delicious Magic
A year ago I had dinner at the Clifton, then under the supervision of Tucker Yoder. Mr. Yoder was elsewhere that evening, but I spent several hours at the “chef’s counter” in the kitchen, watching executive sous-chef Jarad Adams work his own delicious magic. Naturally Mr. Adams was meticulous with his food prep, but he was also surprisingly generous with his time for me. Imagine my delight when I returned this year to find Mr. Adams had been promoted to Executive Chef.
On this visit, Mr. Adams’s tasting menu showed the same attention to detail as I remembered, but with a greater sense of adventure — even whimsy. From the amuse bouche (a spoonful of polenta topped with pork belly, apple, and a sprig of fennel) all the way through to the sticky toffee pudding with candied pecans, dates, and caramel ice cream for dessert, I was enchanted.
The tasting menu consists of four courses and varies by the season. My first course was a toss-up between the butternut squash and apple soup and the shaved winter vegetable salad with hazelnuts, black cocoa, and a buttermilk dressing. I had no regrets about my choice of the salad, especially as butternut squash was the foundation of my next course: the most perfectly seared sea scallop I can remember. From there it was onto monkfish with beluga lentils, with Brussels sprout leaves dancing on top.
Mr. Adams knows what he’s doing in the kitchen, and the Clifton — and Charlottesville — is lucky to have him.