March 9, 2016

Death by beef

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A group of us had the privilege to be invited to dinner at Neighborhood tonight.  We were all friends with Chef David Lai, and he decided to host a dinner centered on some delicious beef.  You see, David was in Germany recently and had enjoyed beef from a local breed, and he decided to bring some back and share with his friends.

I arrived to find the back room of the restaurant half-occupied by friends, and as more of us arrived, we eventually settled on separate tables for boys and girls.  I guess the conversations were likely to be very different!

First came the charcuterie platter.  Yes, I went straight for the lardo... and was surprised that the air-dried beef was particular tasty with rich flavors.

After some more bread and butter, the main event arrived.

"Casina Asturiana" ribeye - if I recall correctly, the animal is around 8 years old, and this was dry-aged for about 50 days.  This acted as the "control" so we could compare the flavors of the two types of beef.  I absolutely love this!  Older cattle just have deeper, richer flavors, and the extended dry-aging really made the meat more tender and imparted that wonderful blue cheese flavor.  And this was cooked perfectly.

Bavarian Simmental - this was the star of the evening... and looks like we've got a T-bone here somewhere, dry-aged for about 50 days.  Unfortunately, the kitchen overcooked this... and promptly got a dressing down from David.  I do have to say, though, that the aging didn't produce the same kind of flavor as the Spanish Casina Asturiana... except just around the bones.  The flavors were much milder in the middle.

Besides all the beef, we also got a few sides, such as this very creamy mashed potato...

...and of course these awesome taters.  Soooo delicious.

But hey, we gotta balance things out with some salad, right?  Even if there was lardon and croûtons...

We were completely stuffed... especially since the girls sent over the bulk of their pan of Simmental over to us.  Then David decided to send us way too many portions of their famous chocolate palette...  Sooo good, but sooo rich.

There was plenty of wine with this crowd in the house, and I got to taste a few...

2004 Bollinger La Grande Année - a little toasty, with some ripeness and a slightly bitter finish.

2007 Henri Abelé Sourire de Reims - tons of toasty oak and a little pungent.  Lighter on the palate.

1997 Mauro Veglio Barolo Castelletto - sweet fruit, dried herbs, very fragrant nose.

2000 Guado al Tasso - nose of sweet fruit and very fragrant.

2000 Fisher Cabernet Sauvignon Lamb Vineyard - opened 1½ hours earlier.  A little smoky and oaky at first, and sweet fruit came out later.

As usual, we finished with the delicious canelés.  There was a minor episode when someone's hand got slapped for taking one too many of these, but we don't gossip about such things...

When it came time to settle our bill, David told us that there was "nothing to settle".  He simply wanted to treat us to the special beef he had brought back.  This was, of course, way too generous of him... and while we are all on very good terms with him, we don't take advantage of our friends.  So we decided to leave a reasonably generous tip, just to make up for a part of their lost revenue tonight.  Many thanks to David for this special treat!

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