VISITED: 2/17/07, Saturday @ 6:00pm
AMBIENCE: Cozy and inviting – loved the tea lights in the wine racks. The music was a little loud when we arrived, but management must have taken note because it got turned down within 5 minutes of our entrance.
SERVICE: Annette was very kind, knowledgeable and efficient. Our experience was spot on, although we did notice the server at the next table over suggested the duck done medium (gasp!!) :o)
PRICE: ~ $190 for two (Think wine)
(Bibb Lettuce & Heart of Palm Salad, oranges, avocado, pine nuts & basil-walnut vinaigrette) – I found this salad to be blah…, plain and lacking any character. . I didn’t taste ANY vinaigrette on it, nor were the oranges bright enough to carry the flavor. It just needed a little zip (squeeze fresh oranges on it, add the vinaigrette). That being said, the BF liked it, but he usually can eat a salad sans dressing/vinaigrette. I do enjoy the flavors of the components of the salad, but I prefer that they are enhanced by a little vinaigrette or light dressing.
(Shrimp And Chicken Pot Stickers with black soy vinaigrette & crispy wontons) – The best part of this dish was the crispy wontons. They came mixed with the black soy vinaigrette and were placed on top of the pot stickers. Warm, crunchy yumminess. The pot stickers themselves were disappointing – there was not a hint of shrimp to be found. The cooking process was off and the result was a soft, smooshy lump of chicken paste wrapped in pastry. Tasted more like a bad version of a chicken dumpling that you would find floating in soup.
(Mahi Mahi) - This was the special of the evening, served with red pepper sauce on a bed of asparagus risotto. This was the kicker of the night. Served “right out of the pan” hot, we actually had to wait for it to cool off (This is a great thing, in my opinion). I hate bell peppers, but this sauce was splendid. The fish was pan fried beautifully - lightly crispy on the outside, but perfectly tender, juicy and flakey on the inside. Although the asparagus risotto was fit to be eaten, it was spectacular with the red pepper sauce. I drug my fish around the plate picking up risotto and sauce with every bite. The intermingling of the flavors was heavenly.
(Cheese Course) – Chenel’s Chevere, Humboldt Fog Blue – we ate these with the basket of bread and champagne flight. It was satisfying to finally find a basket of bread that hadn’t been warmed to cover the staleness of the offering. The fruit pumpernickel here was fantastic. We couldn’t stop eating it. I am not sure where it comes from, but I guess I should have asked!! The cheeses, cool and creamy were devoured - smeared on bread, eaten in chunks and swallowed with champagne. What a wonderful way to end an evening.
(Flight # 7 – Garden of Zin)
Spelletich Cellars “Alviso Vineyard” 2002, Napa Valley, Ca – A little too fruity for my palate. Would not order again.
Green & Red “Chilies Mill Vineyard” 2003, Napa Valley, Ca – Very lovely, smooth yet peppery. Nice round mouth feel.
Hendry “Block 7” 2004, Napa Valley, Ca – By far my favorite of the three – extremely full body, long finish and rich full flavors carried this one. YUM!!
(Flight # 12 – Pinot Envy)
San Simeon 2003, Monterey, Ca – Ah, could take it or leave it. Not my version of pinot.
Van Duzer “Estate” 2004, Willamette, Or – Extremely complex and round. I loved the mouth-feel on this. Fantastic.
Marimar Torres Estate “Don Miguel Vineyard” Christina Selection 2003, Russian River Valley, Ca – Seemed to lack the body and fullness I enjoy so much. Seemed a little simple, but maybe because my taste came after the Van Duzer?
(Flight # 13 – Back Packing Through Europe)
Zabrin, Garnacha de Fuego “Old Vines” 2005, Calatayud, Spain – Very fruity, but a little simple – extremely great wine for the price of $7.00/bottle.
Cantine Salento, Rosa del Golfo 2004. Alezio, Italy – Lovely dry, rich wine with hints of chocolate and cherry. Favorite of the three.
Chateau Carignana “Prima” 1999, Côtes de Bordeaux, France – This was the BF’s flight, so I only got one taste of this one – he said it was a little too rich for his blood as he likes his wines more dry and acidic.
(Flight # 5 – Any Time is the Right Time for Bubbles)
Gloria Ferrer, Blanc de Blanc 2003, Carneros, Ca – Simple, not my favorite, but nice with the cheese.
J Rose N.V., Russian River, Ca – Very nice pairing with cheeses, lots of Pinot left and finishes very creamy.
G.H. Mumm “Cordon Rouge” Brut N.V., Reims, France – again, very creamy, but this one starts a little earlier. Rich and full of earthy flavors. Very nice.
San Simeon Petite Syrah 2002, Monterey, Ca – It was a little concerning that this “Wine Bar” listed Petite Syrah under the Syrah section of the wine list. Now, I know, I know… picky, picky, but Petite Syrah is not Syrah (unless we are in France). :o) It is hard enough to keep Syrah, Sirah, Petite Syrah and Shiraz straight! Wine bar proprietors, sommeliers, and winemakers shouldn’t make it more opaque. We don’t need the extra confusion. Anyhow, the wine was great. Dry and full of body.
Chateau Rieussec, Sauternes 1998 Bordeaux, France – Very nice for the price. Smoky and fruity with a long finish.
Overall, we had a enjoyable time tasting wines. This would be a wonderful place on the cooler days of summer to be out on the patio sipping wine. I look forward to trying again, and hope the appetizers are a little more up to snuff. Will go again.