Bravo Top Chef Contestant, Chris Viaud, inspires cuisine through the seasons of the year with local ingredients at Greenleaf, including Ansamn, a pop-up concept surrounding Haitian culture. Locally sourced meals at restaurants are all the rave nowadays, as ingredients of such a calibur are fresher, healthier, and tastier. Plus, utilizing local produce is philanthropic as it allows restaurateurs and chefs to showcase seasonal menus while giving back to the local community. Chef Chris Viaud, a contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef season 18, is inspired by the changing seasons of New England and the local area farms, foragers and fishmongers, as they are fundamental to his restaurant.
Greenleaf, located in Milford, New Hampshire, will give you a taste of history prior to a taste of the menu items, as the restaurant lies on the historic Souhegan National Bank, which dates back to 1865. The building was renovated in 1907 by Luther Greenleaf, who the restaurant was named after. The Boston based architect added a variety of elegant renditions to the space, which placed the bank on the map as it became well known across New Hampshire.
The bank’s old vaults were converted into private dining spaces for an intimate dining experience. One of the old vaults located in the kitchen is reserved as the pantry. Original blueprints of the bank by Greenleaf himself are mounted on the walls, including an authentic aerial shot of Milford that was once in the bank. The decor is simple and light, but personalized with art created by Viaud’s family members. Most importantly for the restaurant’s extravagance are the beautiful tall glass windows providing expansive views as well as high ceilings, giving you a fancy ballroom feel.
Now that you’ve walked through history and are sitting down in the elegant space, the time to look over what the ever changing menu has in store for the evening. At times, certain dishes are removed for seasonality… such as the Greenleaf Burger. The burger was once removed from the menu to make room for a new dish, however, due to its popularity, customers insisted it stay on the menu for good. The Greenleaf burger is made from Northeast Family Farms Tenderloin and Brookford Farm Pork topped with a housemade bacon jam, cheddar cheese, pickles, dijon aioli, on a housemade seeded brioche bun. Of course, a burger isn’t complete without sides; options include savory hand cut fries or a side salad. Other popular items are:
The Roasted Cauliflower is a meat free small plate topped with pickled fennel,toasted sunflower Seeds and sage aioli. This small plate is ideal to order prior to your main course; it’s light while managing to reach a rich and nutty flavor thanks to the crisp golden brown edges.
The Roasted Salmon is packed with flavor, paired with toasted grains, quinoa, beets, juicy blood oranges, and a charred shallot aioli. A savory and tart taste goes a long way with this dish thanks to the blend of blood oranges and quinoa. The fattiness of the salmon gives the dish a balanced and delectable taste with the bonus of a high nutritional value.
Hand Cut Tagliatelle
The Hand Cut Tagliatelle will make your pasta dreams come true as this dish. Parsnips, arugula pesto, squash, brussel sprouts, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese add the perfect substance to cover the thick noodles . You can’t go wrong with a pasta dish containing cruciferous vegetables and the iconic pesto sauce we love to slather on pasta dishes.
Of course, a nightcap is a must. Each cocktail at Greenleaf is crafted by Beverage Director, Jillian Bernat. When it comes to inspiration she pulls from all sorts of methods and ingredients. The most popular cocktail is the “Pam & Eric”, which isn’t on the current menu, but take note as it will certainly make a comeback. This special cocktail is made up of Hornitos Plata Tequila, Ancho Reyes, housemade roasted pineapple, bourbon vanilla syrup and lemon. This cocktail’s name is derived from a review Bernat read where a guest referred to her as Pam and her coworker Gregg as Eric.
In addition to Greenleaf, Viaud is also the proud owner of Ansanm; a weekly pick-up-only meal service run by the chef and his family. At Ansanm, Viaud celebrates his Haitian culture while highlighting French and Caribbean influences in every monthly-changing menu.
Beginning next month, Viaud will be relaunching his monthly dinner series titled Ansanm Sunday Dinner, which is a ticketed evening that will take place in Greenleaf and allows the community to come together to enjoy the pop-up’s cuisine alongside Viaud and his family. | www.greenleafmilford.com