Our 10th wedding anniversary dinner at Bar Charlie last Saturday night was a smashing success, not to mention the most expensive meal we've ever eaten and that includes Urasawa. Since we had just the right amount of money specifically stashed away for special occasion dining purposes, we won't even feel the pain when the AMEX bill comes! $250 per person for food, $100 per person for pairings (basically, half-pairings). One of the pairings was non-alcoholic, and a few were cocktails instead of wine which suits us just fine. In fact, the Restaurant Charlie bartender has concocted some amazing cocktails and we will definitely be returning for drinks, a lot faster than we will return to eat at Bar Charlie, not through lack of desire but through lack of justifying another $900 dinner. We absolutely loved the atmosphere and the interaction with Chef Hiro, Sous Chef Sergio, our server (Kathy, I think), the pastry chef whose name I didn't get, and everyone else. What a great evening. Besides me and my husband, there was one other person at Bar Charlie. I have no idea how they can continue to make a go of it, which is sad.
Anyway, I'll just list the courses and the pairings and attach some pictures. I'll keep my comments to a minimum, since I'm not great at reviews.
1. Shime Saba with Concord Grape & Celery, paired with 2004 Schramsberg "Blanc de Noirs" Sonoma, CA . Normally I'm not a big celery fan but the treatment here gave it a fresh, clean taste without any of the unpleasant stringy texture (since all the strings were removed). Picture #1.
2. Japanese Snapper with Olives and Citrus
3. Fanny Bay Oyster with Horseradish, Hops Amazake & Razor Clams, paired with 2006 Bosteels "Deus Brut De Flanders" Prestige Cuvee Ale, Belgium. This was the only dish that I didn't absolutely love. Texturally, it just didn't do it for me. On the other hand, the pairing was incredible. It was described as a beer champagne, sorry that I didn't get all the details of how it was made, other than I think it was Belgian beer aged using the Champagne method. You can tell that I'm not really much of a wine person.
4. Spanish Bluefin Chu-toro with Watermelon, Pine Nuts and Mint. Picture #2. Perfection.
5. Spanish Bluefin Tuna Tartare, Seaweed and Daikon. Picture #3. Perfection squared. This dish had a lot more components, which are not listed on the menu I took home. Olives. Yuzu gelee. Scallop.
Now I will continue as a "reply" so I can add more pictures as I write.