Chef Tim Creehan's Symphony of Flavors: A Three-Hour Culinary Tour at Cuvee 30A - 30A


Chef Tim Creehan’s Symphony of Flavors: A Three-Hour Culinary Tour at Cuvee 30A

By: Carrie Honaker | Posted May 24, 2024

In the collection of shops at 30 Avenue, Cuvee 30A presents an unassuming exterior that belies the luxurious experience inside. The wine bottle chandelier hits you first with its colorful array of inverted bottles lighting a table behind the host stand. That’s where the story begins unfolding.

The chandelier is made from bottles of early Cuvee 30A customers—each label is signed and dated by the diner and then chef and owner Tim Creehan had the chandelier built around them. Now customers who have come here since the beginning can point to their bottle and return to that dinner long ago.

As Media and Marketing Director Rob Hasker says, “It’s like the dollar bill hanging in bars, but better.”

Creehan designed the interior, including the curved wall of wine bottles separating the dining room from the bar. A trip to Vegas inspired his vision for the wall he now refers to as the “Grape Wall of Cuvee.”

The Chef’s Table, just around the corner and open to the kitchen, provides dinner and a show as the delicately orchestrated action of cooks, servers, and expediter come together. There is no separation for the diner, you become part of the narrative. 

Creehan makes his way around the kitchen, talking to servers and staff. He started the Chef’s Table in Spring of 2017 and it still represents one of his core philosophies: give people choices. His tasting experience lends ultimate flexibility to the diner—they select five appetizers and three entrees, all served in individual-sized portions with the elegance and deft preparation of full-sized dishes.

The three-hour tasting starts in the wine room at a table crafted from recycled wine boxes. Selections of mimosa cheddar, Maytag bleu, pecorino, and goat’s milk cheeses crowd the board alongside a dollop of peach marmalade. Sarah, our vivacious server, also brings the beverage menu and explains the pairing options. Unlike traditional paired tastings, Creehan wanted to extend the flexibility of the food options to the beverages. You must spend a minimum of $150, but it can include bourbon, beer, glasses of wine, or even bottles that can be taken home.

Cuvee 30A is the only Level 2 Wine Spectator Award winner in the area and one of just 1,411 in the country—finding something you love is not hard.

The dishes start arriving as we return to our seats, beginning with diver scallops, perfectly seared, resting atop a blueberry sauce and garnished with a pickled watermelon and pineapple salad. Next up is the fried green tomato. A warm slice of brie and tender crawfish tails rest atop and a beautifully balanced sauce with notes of Crystal hot sauce dots the plate. Locally sourced greens make the base of a crisp salad topped with dainty cherry tomatoes and Maytag blue cheese. 

Sarah guides us through the wine list as we move through courses. Venison topped with crispy tobacco onions pairs with the red blend she suggests while the Halpern’s Center Cut Filet served with jalapeno potato gratin blends well with a Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon.

Everything sings with deft seasoning, but Creehan shares his favorite is the duck. The story of this dish goes back to the time before internet, before Food Network, and before cooking became cool. Invited to cook in Hong Kong for two weeks, Creehan gobbled up Peking Duck. Wanting to figure out how to bring this flavor bomb back to the States, he made the rounds to every shop selling Peking Duck in Hong Kong, sampling and taking notes. 

When he returned he set about recreating it. The hardest part proved to be finding the correct species of duck. He landed on Maple Leaf Farms and never looked back. As Creehan moved around, the duck fell off the menu, but eight years ago he resurrected it for New Year’s Eve. He only made 12 and they sold out quickly with customers lobbying for its permanent spot on the menu. 

When asked about the allure, he said, “It’s a dish of the flavors of the dish, natural, unadulterated, so you really taste the quality of the duck.” 

The show wraps with coffee service, but it is not just your typical cup. Sarah brings out a contraption that looks like an ancient still. She shares the brewing technique hails from Belgium as she lights the fire under the silver carafe. The fire heats the water and pushes it into the hurricane glass filled with awaiting grounds. They hydrate and once brewed, extract back to the carafe for pouring. 

As Sarah fills the cups, the dessert sampler complete with a lit sparkler, arrives. There is white chocolate banana cream pie, key lime pie, flourless chocolate sin cake, and more. I beeline for the simple crepe filled with decadent Valhrona chocolate. 

The coffee, the crepe, they are the perfect finish to my tour of taste at Cuvee 30A. Except Creehan is not finished with me. Each customer from the chef’s table leaves with a special souvenir, a cork from one of their bottles stamped with Cuvee 30A, and the date made into a key chain on site. Sarah delivers the memento to me, a lasting reminder of a meal well spent.

All of this pageantry takes effort and when asked what keeps a veteran like Creehan coming to the kitchen every day, he shared, “It’s never the same. Every day in this business is different and I love that. You can’t do this work if you are not happy. The day I wake up, pick up my keys, and think I have to go to the restaurant again, I’m done.”

To learn more, visit Cuvee 30A or follow their updates on Facebook


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Carrie Honaker is a Florida-based freelance writer who is not sure where she will land next, but it will involve messy eating, a spicy Tempranillo, and finding the local dive bar. Her work has been featured in Wine Enthusiast, Bon Appetit, and others. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @writeonhonaker.