October 25, 2021

Wine Nazi in the hood

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We're back for another gathering, and this time I wanted to go back to my beloved Neighborhood because, well, as much as I love the food there, I just haven't been there as much as I would like. Now that the restaurant has been able to operate as a Type C restaurant under the government classification, it's a little easier to gather with bigger groups.

As usual, I left it up to the Man in White T-shirt to figure out the menu for us. My last minute request for a pasta dish on account of it being World Pasta Day today, alas, could not be accommodated due to the amount of food already coming our way.

Smoked Pacific saury - pretty awesome to be starting with this.  The saury is in season and very fatty.  The smokiness worked very well with the fatty fish, as it gives depth to the flavors from the fat.  Not sure why the fish in the middle was missing both the head and the tail, though...

We got some anchoïade to go with our fish, but in reality this was best on the sourdough.  I couldn't stop myself from eating more bread, as I just wanted to eat as much anchoïade as I could.

Poached artichoke / liver pate / truffle - it's been some time since I last had artichoke, and it's a favorite ingredient here.

Putting the truffled liver pâté on the artichoke is a great way to eat the crunchy flower bud.

Flounder / bottarga / cucumber flower - the flounder carpaccio cam with butter lettuce and cucumber flowers, seasoned with bottarga shavings. Very light and clean flavors overall, and a refreshing change from the first two dishes.

Sea urchin / caviar / tomato - I was not a fan at all. The sea urchin from Iceland weren't sweet like the Japanese ones I've grown accustomed to enjoying. These had very, very strong flavors of iodine and tasted like hospital disinfectant. I understand that the tomato broth was meant to help neutralize the strong flavors with its fruity acidity, and it did help, but in the end it wasn't enough. Simply hard to swallow, and only one of us managed to finish the serving...

Squab(?) Pigeon(?) / figs / fig jam - I had seen Mr. White T-shirt post about this on social media, and he introduced it as his "so-called four-hands" collaboration with Da Jam. I was a little confused as to whether we were getting squab (per the social media posts) or pigeon (as introduced), but whatever...

I loved the spices on the bird, especially the cardamom. I thought the sweetness of the fig jam worked very well with the bird, the slices of figs added a different layer, and having the bird roasted in fig leaves was also a nice touch.

Porcini mushrooms - always love to have fresh porcini. I didn't actually have any, but I think I spotted some lardo underneath the chestnut leaves...

90 day dry aged local porterhouse / taters - I have been hearing about someone dry-aging "local" beef in town, and finally got the chance to try it. I absolutely love beef that has gone through extended aging, where the fat and tendons start to acquire some blue cheese-like flavors. This was very, very good. Of course, for me the highlight of this particular preparation is the delicious taters, and that amazing sauce on the lettuce! I'd love to have this again on my next visit.

Japanese snow crab paella - so this was the reason why I couldn't have pasta tonight. When I arrived, I saw the boss busily working on extracting meat from crab legs. This was certainly very special.

The "paella" here is often on the wet side, and there was hardly any socarrat tonight. That, however, did not detract from how tasty this thing was.

White truffle cannoli - WOW! These were fantastic! The cannoli shells came from Holy Cannoli, and this is the special edition featuring white truffle. Slurp!


OK... so... I was totally a "wine Nazi" for tonight. When we were discussing wine themes, I insisted that there should be "no chardonnay and no pinot (noir)" - even to the point of banning Champagne. This presented a slightly challenge to the Candidate since those are her preferred varietals. Thankfully everyone stuck to the rules...

2003 Chapoutier Ermitage De L'Orée - a little ripe on the nose, and definitely ripe and alcoholic on the palate, but not too oxidized as I had feared. A little sweetness and some bitterness on the palate. Almost a little tropical.

2010 Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 30 - fragrant and open, with leather and eucalyptus notes. Concentrated, pure syrah, with toasty and a little savory notes.

2010 Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 60 - more concentrated than the 30, a lot more minty, more meaty and more animal notes. Definitely the bigger wine with more potential.

2007 Henri Bonneau Châteauneuf-du-Pape - served more than 1½ hours after opening. Still very fresh with eucalyptus, with a surprising amount of vanilla and coconut butter. Surprising because I always thought Henri Bonneau never used new oak barrels, and I certainly didn't see any during my visit in 2011.

1999 Bryant Family - opened and decanted some 3½ hours prior to serving, back in bottle 1 hour later, decanted again 1½ hours before serving. Pretty soft on the palate, silky but concentrated. 30 minutes after first pour this was really beautiful, and 1½ hours after first pour became very smoky with tobacco notes.

2018 Pierre Martin Sancerre Les Culs de Beaujeu - fresh, flinty, and tropical.

Too much food as usual - although I am told the kitchen was already being very restrained - and certainly too much wine. Not bad for a Monday!

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