The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - 54

local dining

SHARI DRAGOVICH is a freelance writer whose work appears in regional
magazines throughout the Southeast. Her favorite pursuits include all things story,
all things community and all things wine. She, along with her husband and five
teenaged kids, think it a beautiful gift to call Roanoke home.

NATE
SLOAN

POTATOES AIOLI

"Our goal is to take an ingredient and try to present it at its
best," explains Sloan.
For example, if sunchokes (a root vegetable) are in season,
Sloan and his team will first look to see what other vegetables
are related to the sunchoke-in the aster family. Then they build
a dish that features several ingredients from the same family,
creating layers of flavor and hitting all five senses in the process.
In this way, the "lowly vegetable," as Sloan calls it, can rise to
the status traditionally reserved for proteins.
"We don't just think in terms of, 'What sides do I want
around my beef ?'" says Sloan. "We're more into, 'How can we
take a carrot and make it great? How can we take some root
vegetable like a sunchoke that most people have never even had
and make it the crescendo of the meal?'"
Because of the importance of seasonality, Bloom's menu
changes often. Equally important when building a Bloom menu
is the aesthetics and balance of any given dish. While Bloom's
menu isn't a "tasting" menu, where items are meant to build
upon one another, Sloan and his chefs do seek to create balance
within offerings.
Sloan also works closely with his wine purveyors to offer
excellent wine pairings. Since the menu changes often, so does
the wine selection.
Eating at Bloom is an experience in fullness. By this, I don't
just mean gastronomically, though there is that. It begins with

FLOUNDER

SUNCHOKE WITH SUNFLOWER
AND PARSLEY-ALMOND MOSS

Bloom's seasonal, locally sourced food concept. It's proven
throughout every menu item: layers of flavor and texture,
structural soundness and playfulness. It's given expression in
Bloom's "modern American" cuisine style, hearkening to the
melting pot nature of our country's immigrant heritage.
Most importantly, there is the fullness of Bloom's community.
It's evident in everything from the local foods to guests'
interactions with the menu and wait staff.
Even the kitchen's open and central location in the restaurant
expresses the power of community. Like a home gathering where
everyone ends up in the kitchen, at Bloom the social space and
kitchen space are one in the same.
When my husband and I dined at Bloom we enjoyed all
the fullness mentioned above. We ate Mediterranean dishes
reimagined Bloom-style: baba goodness, a play on a traditional
baba ganoush dish; and a dolmas dish using grilled, then
steamed cabbage (instead of grape leaves) stuffed with quinoa.
We feasted on the most beautiful and delicious cheese and
charcuterie tray, made more special because we selected the
meats and cheeses ourselves. I took great delight in selecting
wines from Bloom's splendid wine list.
Sloan says he wants the dining experience at Bloom to give
people a sense of time and place. This is an idea born out of
farm life. And under Sloan's nurturing care, it is finding full
expression in the heart of a Roanoke city neighborhood. I

FIND BLOOM AT: 1109 Main St SW, Roanoke, VA 24015 * 540-566-3891 * Call to request a reservation
HOURS OF OPERATION: Mon - Tues: Closed, Wed - Thurs: 5 p.m. - 10 p.m., Fri - Sun: 5 p.m. - 11 p.m.

54

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

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The Roanoker - January/February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - January/February 2020

The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - Intro
The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - Cover1
The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - Cover2
The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - 3
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