I lived in Germany for 23 years and used to visit Alsace 2-3 times a month. It is one of my favorite places. So, when Petit Louis announced a 4 course Alsatian Wine Dinner, we had to go. First, I want to say that Pettit Louis is one of my favorite restaurants, but this dinner was not one of their finer moments. The only thing Alsatian about this dinner was the wine and their pairings were somewhat strange and non-traditional. The aperitif wine was a Cremant d’Alsace from Lucien Albrecht and Gruyere cheese gougeres. My first glass tasted cooked with a slightly sherry flavor. The second glass was fine. The gougeres were good, but a few came out too late and were cold. The first course was a onion tart (a traditional dish in France and Germany at this time of the year). The portion was huge. It was like getting a huge slice of pizza. However, the tart recipe was NOTHING like anything from Alsace or Germany. This dish usually consists of a pie pastry filled with carmelized onions, smoked bacon and a crème fresch custard. This one was the same color as pumpkin pie and tasted like it. Weird! They paired a sweet Chasselas and a dry Muscat from Zind-Humbrecht. Also strange. The Alsatians normally drink either a neuer wine or a Pinot Gris with this. The second course was Choucroute Garni with Pork Shoulder, small pieces of bacon that they incorrectly called lardons, boiled potatoes and German bratwurst and beef wurst. They brought it out in a huge paella pan (WTF!) and served it from there. Some of it arrived cold rather than hot. The cabbage was not Alsatian Choucroute. It was a mildly sour brown colored (braised in beer maybe?) German sauerkraut. Choucroute is supposed to be braised in either Riesling or Cremant and is very mild. The meats are normally a smoked pork chop on the bone, speck (thickly sliced smoked pork belly on the bone), potatoes and smoked sausages that are distinctly different those found in Germany. They served bowls of Dijon Mustard, which was more like a very mild Dijon Style. Their mustard was definitely not the authentic Dijon mustard. Dijon Mustard is very spicy. Too bad. Alsatians normally drink Riesling with this. One of the wines served was a Riesling and the other was a fat Pinot Gris, formerly called Tokay d’Alsace. Both were decanted for some unknown reason. Age should not have dictated any need for decanting. Neither paired well with the dish, since this was Sauerkraut not Choucroute! Beer was more appropriate. A large protion and lots of leftovers that few took home. The 3d course was an Alsatian Muenster cheese course, reportedly. Muenster is located west of Turckheim and produces some of the stinkiest cheese in the world. This one was so mild and too young, as well as being pasteurized. Big Disappointment! Miss the stink. A gewuerztraminer was served that paired well because the cheese was VERY mild. They served a Kugelhopf for dessert with coffee crème anglaise that was nice and relatively authentic. We drank a shot of Trimbach Mirabelle Brandy. The food was good, but definitely NOT Alsatian.
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