Montage and Pendry Chefs Serve a Taste of What’s to Come

Kathleen Horner

Montage and Pendry Hotel Chefs Xavier Salomon and Matt Dahlkemper gave Punta Mita’s Gourmet & Golf XII a taste of what’s to come when these two resort properties open on property. The new resorts will bring a total of eight new restaurants to Punta Mita. Asked when that might be, Chef Salomon estimated two and a half years.

I feel a bit like the pestering kid in the back seat of the car who can’t wait to reach a promised  destination. Are we there yet?

This will be worth the wait. Chefs Salomon and Dahlkemper served one of three luncheon menus offered at Kupuri Beach Club during the event. Their selections, called “Kupuri Street Beach Food,” showcased local ingredients in French and Asian and Korean street food flavors. The two chefs presented two dishes each; all four were extraordinary re-imaginings of familiar dishes, simply named but not simply conceived.

Salomon, a French Master Chef, served “Tuna Nicoise,” a bowl of tender, thick slices of grill-seared bluefin tuna in a light vinaigrette with a peeled Yukon potato. His “Chocolate Clam” (so named for its shell color) was diced with a mildly-spiced chorizo, spooned on the half-shell, cooked over a grill and garnished with micro-sprouts. Dahlkemper, who previously worked with (Top Chef) Tom Colicchio, served “Korean Fried Chicken:” a bowl of chicken tender pieces in a honey/ginger gochujang sauce, with a sprinkle of white sesame seeds. It’s a popular menu item, but I’ve never had it better. His «Pork Belly Char Siu» was pleasingly not-too-fatty pork belly in a sticky char siu sauce glaze with beet added for color.

Expert sommelier Ariel Morales paired each dish with Mexican wines, among these he poured Katrilier, a Malbec blend from Guanajuato. The label is a celebration of Day of the Dead; the taste is alive, bold, and smooth.

At Saturday night’s American Express Closing and Prizegiving Dinner, Chef Salomon presented a “Portobello Carpaccio” with a champagne vinaigrette, and “Lobster Risotto”—creamy Arborio rice with chunks of local langostino. Chef Dahlkemper served his “Striped Bass with Tom Kha” (a tangy but mildly sweet sauce inspired by Thai soup of coconut milk with lime and lemongrass), and a Kampachi Crudo with Nam Prik, a spicy chili sauce.

Chefs Salomon and Dahlkemper were among some 14 chefs participating in Punta Mita’s Gourmet & Golf XII. The flavors they brought to the event make two-plus years seem like a long wait, but what a culinary adventure awaits!