Back by popular demand, Chef Todd Christensen has created another mouth-watering menu for your dining pleasure, and Wine Director David O’Connor has selected wines to match. This week’s selections feature a twist on Clam Chowder with Argentina’s signature white wine, a duo of entrees with a spectacular California syrah, and a decadent take on Grilled Cheese” with a traditional Italian favorite, Moscato D’Asti.
The dinner is available from 6:00-9:00 pm, Monday June 14-Thursday, June 17. Call for reservations at 995-4111.
“Chowder Gone Wrong”
White wine steamed baby clams on New England chowder potato puree
Garlic and red wine sautéed baby clams on Manhattan chowder potato puree
La Yunta Torrontes, Famatina Valley, La Rioja, Argentina 2009
Poppy seed and cumin crusted halibut with a raspberry-toasted pepita compound butter on sweet pea pancake with sautéed mushrooms
Bison London broil with wilted arugula and horseradish mashed potato
Steele “Stymie” Reserve Syrah, Lake County, California 2006
White chocolate laced mascarpone and coconut jam stuffed in macadamia brioche, grilled golden with honey-lime ice cream
Saracco Moscato D’Asti, Piedmont, Italy 2009
Managing Partner and Wine Director, David O’Connor, tells us a little bit about this weeks pairing…
For the first course, Chef Todd creates a side-by-side presentation of the two classic clam chowders; New England and Manhattan. The shellfish and starchy potato components took me to a fruity white wine with firm acidity. A Torrontes emerged as the natural choice. While most people associate Argentina with Malbec, Torrontes is the white grape of Argentina, grown virtually no where else. Originally brought over by Spanish missionaries in the 18th century, Torrontes can be described as a cross between Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. Floral and aromatic, it displays citrus and peach aromas with a nice level of acidity to help cut through the richness of the dish and cleanse the palate.
For the second course, I sought a wine that would be versatile enough to match both dishes and their strong flavors. I wanted a Syrah, with its characteristic fruity bold elements, but I didn’t want to overpower the halibut. Steele Stymie is one of my favorite wines of all time, but at its customary price, it wasn’t an option for this dinner. I worked for Jed Steele during my 3 year hiatus from Buck’s, so I gave him a call. After some wheeling and dealing (and begging and pleading), we found a way to bring the wine in specially for this dinner.
Jed Steele’s wines are well-known in this area, and his two Stymie Reserve wines are the jewels in the considerable crown of Jed’s long, illustrious career. After fermentation has finished and aging has progressed for about a year, Jed selects the best of the best from the Merlot and Syrah lots to receive another year and a half of barrel aging for the Stymie wines. Typically, this is only about 500 6-packs of each. Named for a race horse on whom Jed’s father placed a winning wager back in the 40′s, Stymie exemplifies the cream of the crop of Jed’s wines. The dark berry, chocolate and pepper notes accentuate the cumin, raspberry and mushrooms in the halibut dish, while the bison and horseradish complement the roasted meat characteristics of the Syrah. This is a truly special wine.
In keeping with Todd’s style of upending culinary stereotypes, the dessert is a take on an old favorite, grilled cheese. This dish is pure fun, and I wanted a wine to match that lightheartedness. Moscato D’Asti is such a great summer wine, and a refreshing way to end a meal. It’s slightly sweet, slightly effervescent, with flavors of honeysuckle, pears and peaches. There’s nice acidity to be a foil for the mascarpone, and the white chocolate, coconut and macadamia nut fit in with the wine’s flavor profile perfectly. Paolo Saracco is generally recognized as the best Moscato producer in the Piedmont. He holds the wine in tank until it’s ordered to retain maximum vibrance and freshness.
We thank you for being our guests. I hope you can find a chance to come in this week and enjoy Todd’s handiwork.