April 29, 2013

A turkey by Curry

Pin It

The MNSC boys were overdue for a gathering after a near two-month break, and eagerly anticipated tonight's dinner.  Four of us would be upgrading to four-handle this year, and the Ox was the first to kick off the celebrations.  It's been nearly two years since I first tried out Amuse Bouche, and I was pretty happy to have occasion to return.

After a pretty big lunch that kept the hunger pangs at bay, I was pretty glad to discover that the menu wasn't set tonight.  We had the flexibility to order à la carte, and most of us ended up keeping it relatively light.  Funny that all of us ended up ordering the same two dishes to start, and half of us had the same main course... Guess it did turn into a set menu after all...

We started with some jamón ibérico Lampiño de bellota from Juan Pedro Domecq, which has been aged for 42 months.  A nice way to start, but personally I found that jamón doesn't go well with Champagne... or Chardonnay for that matter.

Our amuse bouche was salmon marinated with dill, honey, mustard and black pepper. Not bad.

Mesclun salad with home-made black truffle vinaigrette - pretty "healthy" way to start the meal, but I guess none of us wanted to eat that much... And a little greens never hurt anybody...

Tuscan artisanal pasta with black truffle and chicken gravy - it's not hard to see why this dish would be tasty and popular... just take a look at the black specks covering the pasta.  Inhaled this in a couple of minutes.  I did ask the waiter for the name of the pasta.  He didn't know and insisted that it is just handmade "artisanal" pasta... No shit, Sherlock... I can see that it's artisanal, but Italians don't make a pasta without putting a name on it, just like Russians don't take a dump, son, without a plan... He was just too lazy to ask or find out.  A quick search on the internet led me to believe it's likely to be casarecce.

Roasted Iberico pork loin and slow cooked Hokkaido pork belly with baby spinach and black truffle - interesting to have two different types of pork in one dish, and they couldn't have been more different.

The Iberico was, sad to say, a little on the tough side.  Not entirely dry, but I wouldn't exactly call it succulent.  I guess that's what you get with the loin... I tried to spread a little apple sauce on top to enhance the flavors a little.

It doesn't take a genius to realize that I'd enjoy the pork belly a helluva lot more... The thing just yielded to my knife like a pat of butter... and yes, boys and girls, fat is what gives meat its flavor.  That's why pork belly is so yummy.  I do have to say, though, that the baby spinach at the bottom was pretty yummy, too!

I was too full to have dessert, but ended up nibbling on some Mimolette and young Comté, enjoying the sweetness and soft texture for a change.

The Ox put together a totally kick-ass line-up of wines... We were pretty blown away by how well all of these wines tasted, especially from a vintage that was overlooked and written off.  It just shows that condition and provenance matter so much, especially when it comes to older wines.

1973 Dom Pérignon Œnotheque, disgorged Spring 1999 - nose of Chinese licorice, toasted nuts, ripe, a little savory, toasty and yeasty, almost like sourdough.  Good acidity balance on the palate.  Due to late disgorgement this didn't taste like a 40-year old Champagne, but as it's more than a decade since disgorgement, it wasn't really "fresh", either.  Beautiful.

Flight 1:
1961 Ducru-Beaucaillou - opened and decanted 10 minutes before serving.  Very smoky and minty nose.  Grilled meats, saddle, black tea with a sweet fruit core.  A little metallic with some soy sauce at the end.  Smooth and medium-light bodied.  An elegant and lovely wine.  96 points.  Sourced from Altaya.

1973 Ducru-Beaucaillou - opened and decanted 10 minutes before serving.  Funky nose with pine forest.  A little chalky?  A little stinky, with animal notes.  Lighter than the '61.  91 points.

1982 Ducru-Beaucaillou - opened and decanted 1 hour before serving.  Color was noticeably darker.  Nose was very smoky but a little closed at first.  Ripe, stewed fruits, grilled meats.  94points.  Sourced from Altaya.  While the condition of the wine was impeccable, we all agreed that this bottle was not representative of what the wine should taste like.  The bottle I drank a day earlier was noticeably better.

Flight 2:
1973 Mouton-Rothschild - opened and decanted 30 minutes before serving.  Floral and sweet nose, with cassis, a little smoke, farmy, and later a little chalky.  93 points.

1982 Mouton-Rothschild - opened and decanted 2 hours before serving.  Toasty, smoky, more concentrated than the '73.  A powerful wine but very well-balanced.  94 points.

1986 Mouton-Rothschild - opened and decanted 2 hours before serving.  A little bit of burnt rubber at the beginning.  Acidity clearly higher despite being the youngest of the flight.  A little pine needle on the nose.  92 points.

Flight 3:
1973 Petrus - opened and decanted 1 hour before serving.  Very smoky, minty, more concentrated and powerful than the previous 2 flights.  Nose of black fruits, a little chalky, green pepper.  Very open and enjoyable. 96 points.

1989 Petrus - opened and decanted 2½ hours before serving.  Smoky, a little sharp, a little ripe.  Nose was a little too closed to enjoy now.  93 points.

1973 Yquem - honey, apricot, marmalade and acetone.  Very sweet on the palate but with enough acidity there.  Another lovely wine.

We had an incredible performance tonight by Curry Jayer, who quickly identified all 3 wines in Flight 2.  Never before in MNSC's decade-old blind-tasting history had anyone been able to get all 3 wines in the same flight - a tripe-strike.  Very impressive!

Finally, a big "Thank You" to the Ox for his generosity.


gary s said...

Looks like the pasta you had is pici, or pinci as called in Montalcino.

Peech said...

Hi Gary, I know it looks like pici, but my limited experience with pici is that it is normally not cut open, like what I had. The picture i took isn't the best, but it you look carefully from the end of the pasta it is curled like like an "S"… Is that still pici?

gary s said...

I am not sure Peech. since they mentioned Tuscan pasta I immediately thought that was pici, but it doesn't look like its hand rolled and with the end like that, I am not 100% sure.

Peech said...

Yeah casarecce fits the shape but was originally from Sicily... Oh well whatever


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map