My fiance and I went to Preston's wine dinner last night at Spoonbar. We went because we have been long-time fans of Preston, but were pleasantly surprised by how great the food was and how pleasant their private dining room was. A few of the reviews we had read had said the food was a little inconsistent, but everything we had was at least tasty, and at least one course (the halibut ravioli) was really excellent.
Especially for a large private dining party, the service was very friendly and attentive. There were a few mistakes--my waiter spilled some wine on the table and I have a goose egg where another waiter brained me with his elbow in the back of my head while clearing the table behind me. I realize, though, that serving big parties is stressful and overall the service was still very good. I was particularly impressed with the timing of the dishes, even for a group of about 50.
First Course: Cirtus-cured swordfish, cucumbers, shaved fennel, radish and lemon with beet foam
Pairing: Preston 2010 Sauvignon Blanc
This course was light and crisp and the sauvignon blanc had a salinity that was a seamless and interesting pairing.
Second Course: California halibut ravioli, fava beans, fresh English peas, and basil
Pairing: Preston 2009 Roussanne
This course was remarkable. The pasta itself was fresh and perfectly cooked--tender but not mushy. The shredded halibut filling had a meatiness to it that I wouldn't normally expect from fish, and the flavor of halibut and the fava beans was perfect with the slight petrol flavor from the roussanne. Really excellent.
Third Course: Roasted Sonoma duck breast with mustard greens, and spiced strawberry chutney
Pairings: Preston 2009 Barbera; Preston 2009 GSM
The skin on my duck breast could have been slightly crispier, but the strawberry chutney was a perfect pairing with the GSM was excellent. The mustard greens were fresh and flavorful and added a nice bitterness to the very sweet strawberry chutney. The barbera was a good wine, but did not really shine here, and seemed a little bit throw in.
Fourth Course: Slow-cooked beef shortribs with horseradish potatoes and thumbalina carrots and artichoke
Pairing: 2009 L. Preston
The shortribs were perfectly cooked but they were too lean (grass fed maybe?). The artichoke was great, but the carrots boring. The cold potato salad didn't match well with the shortribs, and something warmer would have been better. The L. Preston was great and very nice with this warming dish.
Dessert: Yogurt Berry Plate with Brown sugar meringues
The meringues were airy with chewy centers and a wonderful brown sugar sweetness. The berries were fine but not excellent, with the exception of the raspberries which were delicious. Though a tasty dessert, something a little heavier, (maybe a foam cake?) would have been more satisfying.
At a total price of $59, I thought this meal was an excellent deal. Most of the dishes were well executed, but the entire meal was a little low on carbs, so I left wanting just a little bit more. Even just some bread or rolls would have made a big difference.
Since we were there for a fixed menu wine dinner, we also didn't get to try any of the cocktails but the bar looked very happening and many people in the lounge were carrying around very intriguing looking cocktails.
219 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448