We did the tasting menu for four with my parentw, who had brought a couple of special bottles of wine which were accommodated for a reasonable corkage fee while I decided to try the chef/sommelier pairing.
The bison first course was incredibly flavorful, and the paired sparkling pinot was an interesting choice. The start of a theme for the evening, the pairing didn’t so much compliment the dish as it did stand on its own as an event unto itself. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends on perspective, but I enjoyed the sparkling as much as I did the dish. The meat was meaty. So was the sparkling pinot.
Next came an English Pea Soup. And I’m just going to say it: Best. Pea. Soup. Ever. Whether it was the ricotta or the tarragon cream I can’t say, but the dish was delicious. The Italian pairing was, as I put it, ‘inoffensive,’ and did not get in the way of the incredible dish.
The grouper with globe artichoke was lovely and generous. The largest dish of the night, it was tender and flavorful, although my mother thought the dish would have worked better with a more flakey fish. I had no complaints. The paired Gemischter, with a tart start and sweetish finish continued the theme of the wine competing with, rather than complimenting, the dish.
Next was seared tuna au poivre with a Rhone Syrah. We called this the bacon course. Bacon under the tuna. Bacon wine. And, as we all know, everything is better with bacon. But is there such a thing as too much of a good thing? Both the dish and the wine were over the top. Together they were decadent. Again, not that I’m complaining.
The lamb course was the pairing of the evening. The Italian red had just enough acid to clear the palate of the cream under the lamb. I can’t recall the grapes, but the wine was called Iacco, and for the first time in the meal I felt like the chef and sommelier really hit a home run with the pairing.
Neither the rose opera cake nor the dessert wine was cloying, making them both gratifying.
Ultimately, the food was fantastic. The pairings…well, ran the gamut from a perfect complement to the food to overwhelming the food.
Beyond the food and pairings, the service was impeccable. The atmosphere is modern urban, but slightly form over function. The chairs, while lovely, are a little too low. There are rectangular four tops that are intimate but also circular four tops where diners are quite far away from each other. Because the restaurant is attached to a hotel, there was a mix of dressy locals (ourselves included) as well as tourists dressed in everything from ties to sweatshirt.
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