Pacific Grove was the first stop on our recent Wine & Dine trip to the Monterey Peninsula. It was Monday, which meant The White House and Max's were closed, so we chose to have a simple meal at Passionfish.
I know most people have the fish at Passionfish, and so have we, but this time we approached things a little differently. Since their wine list is priced just above retail, we decided it would be a great idea to get a deal on one of Gary Pisoni's delicious, but very expensive Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noirs. Besides, my husband was craving a crisp roast duck, the perfect partner for pinot, so how could he resist?
I started with the baked gorgonzola and curried chutney salad. The ying/yang of the salty cheese and sweet chutney worked well. My husband loved his salad with large pieces of crisp sauteed proscuitto, goat cheese and figs.
He's somewhat of a duck "expert", having ordered it so often, and he raved about this duck confit for its crispness and flavor. In keeping with the dark meat meal here, I had the braised lamb shank, which was already taken off the bone, resting on a bed of spaetzle and roasted vegetables. Delicious and as tender a lamb as I can remember. The only problem was that the "sauce" was absorbed by the noodles. Not to worry, our resourceful server brought me a small pitcher of very flavorful lamb jus to dunk the lamb in. Wow...btw, the Pisoni pinot was full-bodied and concentrated with a long finish--very good.
After this rich meal, there was no room for dessert, but as a treat, our server brought us complimentary tastes of Bonny Doon's "Bouteille Call" a Syrah port with Framboise, which was excellent. Bouteille means bottle in French and is pronounced boo-tay. "Boo-tay call", say it fast and you'll get the joke. I just love the crazy names Randall Graham gives his wines.
As I've mentioned, we were impressed with the service and special attention we received this time, even though the house was nearly full. I also like the new wine cellar they have added at the entrance, which gives the restaurant a nicer ambiance.