I've read that some reviewers (Michael Bauer) hadn't considered this a food place as much as a wine venue, but that he'd changed his mine after revisiting. i know not many people on this site respect Bauer, but I was wondering how people felt about Cav lately (i only found older postings.)
I went for the first time last week. We started out with the Sampling of Three from the charcuterie menu: Foie gras, pig trotters, and boar country pate. The foie gras pot de creme with cubes of jellied Riesling was the least impressive of the three - which says a lot. The foie gras was creamy and was a nice - tho standard - pairing with the sweetness of the Riesling. The boar pate was hearty, dense, and perfectly spiced. The accompaniments were homemade pickled vegetables - in particular, i loved a little tart, dilled cauliflower. But the pig trotters stole the show. I've had them before but here they were sort of carmelized, so they had a crispier, chewy texture, and were infused with garlic.
Next were three cheeses (Brillat Savarin, Abbaye de Belloc and St. Maure) with a wonderful spicy peanut brittle, jelly, slivered dates, hazelnuts, and other little accompaniments. this was such a treat from the standard date bread. They have a good selection of cheeses, about 15 or so, and the portions were quite good-sized.
That was going to be enough, but we let ourselves be talked into the squab over scrapple. This was my next favorite item - a very tender, satiny, pinkish breast of squab sitting on what to me semed like a slightly grainy/gamey version of a polenta cake. another good contrast, and my first exposure to scrapple. i can't for the life of me remember what the ingredients in this particular scrapple was made with, but i want to say it was veal, and the bartender took pains to describe the chef's take on this dish.
We tasted several wines. You can get half glasses for between $3.00 - $3.75, and they were generous with their pours. I stuck to whites - tried a Turkish Cankaya, which was bone dry but a little light for me. I also had a Muller-Thurgau, something I've always found I can depend on to go well with food. I had a glass of my usual favorite, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. But the best was a Spanish Torrontes Terra Buena, described as spicy, lychee, melon & citrus. When I first smelled it, I thought it was going to be too sweet. The nose was heavy and floral, syrupy even, and you could really pick out the lychee. But it was wonderful, fruity but not sweet at all. I'm going to try to hunt this one down. We also shared an aperitif, a Jerez Fino Elcano from Spain, which was a light-tasting sherry, but still complex and just as described, with notes of toasted almonds and hazelnut.
I'm wondering how other people's experience compares to this. I tried Maverick a few days later, and wasn't anywhere near as pleased.