April 8, 2017

Californian and French TOAST

Pin It

The Prince of Napa is back in town, and a few weeks ago he invited me to join a "casual BYOB dinner".  When I asked him what the theme for the evening was, I was told there was no theme... BUT someone was apparently planning on bringing a 1997 Abreu.  Well, I know that my friend often drinks with people who pop open bottles of Jayer, DRC, and old Bordeaux First Growths without a second thought... but c'mon!  1997 Abreu is not a casual bottle for most of us mere mortals.

Anyway, I decided to bring something appropriate to match, and showed up tonight at Elite Dining (優粵閣).  This space used to be Guo Fu Lou (國福樓), back when they had a macaron.  Apparently it is now run by Elite Concepts, who also runs Nanhai No. 1 (南海一號) right downstairs.  Given that I'm not a fan of either that establishment nor sister restaurant Ye Shanghai (夜上海), I wasn't particularly excited about the food we'd be having tonight.

The menu was preset for our little group in the private room, and the restaurant was kind enough to provide each of us with a few glasses.  But with the hodgepodge of wines tonight, I was constantly rinsing my glasses with water before switching to the next bottle...

Jelly fish head mixed with white pepper (白胡椒海蜇頭) - honestly, I didn't taste any white pepper...

Crispy pork belly (脆皮燒肉) - below average.  Yes, the crackling was OK, but the pork belly was on the lean side.

Deep-fried spare ribs with honey and chili sauce (密椒欖角骨) - not bad, and the combination of flavors was a little unusual.

Crispy suckling pig (招牌乳豬全體, 手撕二度) - what's not to like about having a whole roast suckling pig at the table?!

The crackling was thin and crispy.

And the plate of shredded meat was fantastic.  Tender, fatty, tasty.

Stir-fried prawns with egg white (水晶蛋白蝦球) - this was OK.  Flavors of the egg white were on the light side.

Scrambled eggs with vermicelli and crabmeat (鮮蟹肉炒桂花銀絲) - this was OK.

Steamed giant grouper (清蒸沙巴龍躉) - the fish wasn't the prettiest-looking when it came to our table...

...but it was OK, if slightly overdone.

Stewed chicken with "Shaoxing" wine in clay pot (陳年花雕鮮雞) - this was OK.  Naturally the chicken didn't have much flavor of its own.

Simmered banboo fungus with vegetables (上湯竹笙扒菜膽) - this was pretty standard.  The hearts of the mustard greens were tender.

Fried rice with crabmeat, conpoy and egg white (瑤柱蛋白炒飯) -not bad.

Almond cream (生磨杏仁茶) - reasonable and middle-of-the-road in terms of flavors and texture.

Chrysanthemum with ginger juice jello (菊花薑汁糕)

Crispy egg pastry glazed with honey (金絲脆麻花) - what's not to like about crispy, deep-fried dough?  I wish I got more of this.  In fact, I wish I had half the plate to myself.

The Prince of Napa, not surprisingly, bitched about his disappointment regarding the food - calling it one of the worst dinners he's ever had in Hong Kong.  Well... I didn't find the food to be anything to write home about, but I've had far worse.  Although to be fair, I probably wouldn't go back...

Aaaaaaaand then there were the wines.  The 11 of us ended up with 15 bottles, and would have been 16 had someone not left behind her 2000 Colgin Tychson Hill in a taxi before showing up at dinner.  Lots of wine + high proportion of alcoholic Californians = TOAST.

2008 de Fieuzal - a little more oxidized and caramelized than expected.  A little pungent, perhaps sulfur, with a little flint.

2012 Lavinia Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Nuits par DRC - leaner with nice acidity, flinty.  Pretty good.

2014 Arista Chardonnay Banfield Vineyard - nice acidity here along with some ripeness.  Pretty fruity and oaky.

2001 Henri Boillot Meursault 1er Cru Les Genevrières - corked, showing wet cardboard and sweet grass.

1988 Palmer - supposedly sourced from one of the owners of the château, but didn't come with a Mähler-Besse label.  Still plenty of fruit here, with smoky nose and grilled meats.  Elegant and beautiful.  Arguably my favorite wine of the evening.

1983 Léoville Las-Cases - classic claret but a little more muted, showing a little smoke.  Soft on the palate.

2000 Petrolo Torrione - a little stewed and cooked.  Pretty sweet with a little black olive.

1998 Vogüé Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru - pretty nice.  A little eucalyptus, some leather and sweet fruit. Drinking very well.

2010 Marcassin Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard - much sweeter and lots of fruit, and showing beautifully.  The alcohol was a little high a singeing the hair in my nostrils...

2014 Arista Pinot Noir Toboni Vineyard - very sweet and fruity, showing strawberries.  A lot like Marcassin, which isn't a surprise considering the whole winemaking team came from there...

1997 Shafer Hillside Select - I carried this back from Shafer in 2000 and have been waiting to open this.  Much, much smoother than I had expected.  Smoky nose with a hint of vanilla, but overall much leaner than I would have guessed.

1997 Abreu Madrona Ranch - a hint of cork here, showing sweet grass and cardboard.  Shame.

1996 Araujo Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard - pretty cooked, with a lot of black olives.

2006 York Creek Cabernet Sauvignon - sweet but a little cooked.
2012 Grace Vineyard Deep Blue - nose was very sweet, a lot like US pinot.  A little cooked, too, with some savory notes like black olives.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map