Restaurants & Bars 1

Chef's Table and Limelight [Fresno]

PolarBear | Apr 11, 200611:54 PM

Couple of weeks ago was the start of a hound's delight. First was a winemaker's dinner on the patio at the Chef's Table in Fig Garden Village. This type of event is well beyond my dining budget (190/pp excl t/t), but thanks to a dear friend's wife's scheduling snafu, I was forced to step up.

The vintner is O'Shaughnessy (Catherine, iirc) who buys grapes from vineyards around Napa, and we were fortunate to sit with her young winemaker Sean Capiaux (a CSU Fresno alumnus) who also had one of his bottlings featured on the menu.

The menu and wine pairings:

Spring Asparagus Soup - rock shrimp, creme fraiche, Agrumato Oil
2005 Groth Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

Warm Salad of Duck Confit - frisee, dried cranberry salad, toasted walnut pesto, sherry vinaigrette
2004 Capiaux Pinot Noir "Gary's Vineyard"

Mahi Mahi Filet - Fava bean ravioli, candied shallots, port wine reduction
2003 O'Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon "Mt. Veeder"

Prime Beef Wellington - Applewood bacon, wild mushrooms, Bloomsdale spinach, Bordelaise sauce
2002 O'Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon "Howell Mtn."

Tropical Fruit Panna Cotta
2004 Bera Moscato D'Asti

In a nutshell, the soup was divine, great depth of flavor without masking the rock shrimp. The salad was a little strange, having more of a crab cake consistency and only the final bite having that rich fatty duck taste. The young winemaker, my pal and I all commented about the wine pairing with the Mahi Mahi, wondering how one would go about pulling this combination together, but the first bites with the port reduction answered that question. The Wellington was perfect, all flavors able to come to the front and be recognized. Unfortunately, the event was about a half hour or more late in beginning, so we requested our two desserts to go (home to our ladies, since we're both off sugar) and didn't get to sample the moscato. Lady PB pronounced the somewhat melted, then frozen, then micro'd briefly sweet treat to be excellent.

The Chef's Table is a splurge place but I'd have to place it in the top three for our area.


Two nights later we reserved a table for eight for my SIL's BD dinner at the Limelight (NW Shaw & Palm).

We've enjoyed this place for many years, back when it was located off the Clinton Ave. exit on Hwy 99, but somehow lately it escapes our culinary radar. Our previously mentioned hound friends treat us occasionally to their monthly (weekly?) New England lobster feast, but this time it was the beef that stood out. I ordered the Prime Rib (24.95), a huge thick cut, well marbled, that was out of this world. Up til now I'd resigned myself to the occasional Tahoe Joe's Nebraska rib-eye, NO MORE! Ordered with a side of straight horseradish, it was ecstatic, even had enough left over for another meal (and I'm not a light eater). My BIL ordered the more expensive filet and though pleased with it, wished he'd opted for the rib.

We started with the fried calamari and chicken wings apps, both cooked to perfection with no hint of grease, and great dipping sauces. Lady PB had the lamb which she pronounced very good. Sorry but I've forgotten a couple of the other entrees, but everyone left a very happy camper. I tried to Google the contact info but for some reason none of the permutations I tried got any results, call 411 for the phone number. You can find cheaper prime rib in town, but for a few dollars more my go to place is now the Limelight.

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