Doc Magrogan’s VIP Party, held to showcase the talents of Chef Karen Weinstein, brought a burgeoning crowd to the East Gay Street restaurant on February 7. While tempting free specialty cocktails were offered at the bar, the real treat consisted of feasting on trays of hors d’oeuvres that were whisked through the busy space by the friendly, professional staff. With each tray brought forth, it was fun to watch the eyes of partygoers pop as they reached in for yet another delectable bite.

The Smoked Fish Dip on a Crisp Cucumber round was a perfect harmony of the smoky, almost bacon-like flavor of the fish paired with crisp cucumber. The Lobster Summer Rolls were served with a Mango dipping sauce that added just the right amount of sweetness to each bite.

Servers worked their way through the crowd, providing offerings of such delectable treats as Orange-Sesame Shrimp Skewers served with a spicy aioli, with skewers standing straight out of a pineapple. The Wasabi Pea Crusted Tuna was served on a wonton with Wasabi Soy Glaze, providing a silky sushi taste with crunch. Mouth-size versions of Doc’s famous Crab Cakes disappeared from the trays quickly.

We had arrived just early enough to grab the last two seats at the bar, where we sampled two cocktails served up for this special event. The Cape Codder, which is Pearl Vodka, muddled cranberries, cranberry juice and served with a splash of soda, was mild but delicious. The Gay Street Lemonade—made with Pearl Vodka, St. Germaine Elderflower, lemon juice, simple syrup, mint, and served with a twist—proved to be a drink we’ll be craving this summer.

Dave Magrogran took to the microphone and welcomed the happy crowd, noting his favorite items on the new menu include the salmon, the lobster rolls, and the wood grilled ahi tuna. He explained that with Chef Karen Weinstein at the helm in the kitchen, they are proud to offer healthy and sustainable items on the menu.

“If you haven’t tried the salmon yet, it’s the Skuna Bay Salmon, its the best salmon you’re going to have in your life. It’s the official salmon of the James Beard House.” Dave graciously thanked his staff for their patience in going through four days of training to launch this new menu, and then reminded folks about the upstairs back bar, where he joked there was a little more breathing room. An excellent time was had by all.

The special menu launch was also a reception benefiting the Chester County SPCA, with the $20 donation going to help the local shelter.

To learn more about Doc Magrogan’s new healthy, sustainable seafood menu, visit our recent tasting feature here. Find Doc Magrogan’s of West Chester at 117 E. Gay St. in West Chester.

Food photographs credited to Nathan Garber; interior collage by Nina Lea Photography; Chef Karen photo courtesy of Doc Magrogan’s.