Here I’m, continuing to report on my food and wine adventures in Portugal (here are the first and second posts from the series). Well, I guess “adventures” is really too much of a word for simply excellent food and wine experiences, but “adventures” put the things in the right prospective, isn’t it? Never mind, let’s just talk about food and wine.
On the first night we ended up at the small place called Restaurante Nova Europa. The place looked very authentic in the sense that they had a hard time to find an English menu, and our server spoke practically no English - that didn’t prevent us from having a very good dinner. Most of the people at the table ordered some version of the local fish called Bacalhau, which is a cod. It was offered in different variations – mine had a lot of potatoes:
And as I often ignore food and wine pairing rules, the wine was red:
As most of the wines from Douro, this 2010 Evel Tinto Douro, this wine is made from the “classic set” of Portuguese grapes – Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz a Tinta Barroca. The same grapes are also used as a foundation for most of the Port wines, which are made in exact same Douro region. Good body, good depth, not necessarily spectacular but easy to drink and pleasant.
Now I would like to mention two of the very local products. First one is beer. I’m not sure how many different beers are produced in Portugal (I’m positive though that US microbrewery revolution didn’t take any roots in Portugal so far). The beer is called Super Bock, it comes in lager, stout and few other versions, and it is produced in the area just outside of Porto – according to Wikipedia. I only tried the stout, which was dark, rich, smooth and creamy. I have to mention though that it is somewhat dangerous to rely on my opinion about beer – for the most of the time I prefer dark beer and on contrary to many of my friends, I don’t find Guinness bitter. And here is the picture for you – the picture was taken by my friend Kfir, not by me – but he was using my camera, so I guess I have some rights to it…
Next item to bring to your attention is a local sandwich (supposedly it is Porto’s specialty) called Francesinha. This sandwich is made out of two slices of crust-less bread with various meats (or even veggies) in between – we saw it on the menu in most of the restaurants in Porto, and it can come with steak, white meat, various ham cuts and so on. The sandwich is completely covered by melted cheese (top and all sides), and it is served with the secret sauce which is supposed to be some combination of tomato sauce and beer. I had a steak version and it was very tasty. Believe it or not, but I’m not always carrying my camera to the restaurant, so Francesinha is probably the only dish I regret not taking my picture of – but someone thankfully did on Wikipedia, so below is the picture for you, courtesy of Wikipedia:
And then there was Cufra. Pardon my little drama here, and let me explain. We saw the restaurant while walking by, checked it out on the web, and it looked appealing enough. Service staff spoke not too much of English, but the menu was possible to understand, so we all ended up with decent food – but the wine was more memorable. For the white we had 2011 Castello D’Alba from Douro, a blend of Codega do Larinho, Rabigato and Viosinho – very typical blend for Douro white wine, all indigenous grapes (Wine Centurions, take note!). The wine was very nice, with good acidity and somewhat similar to New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, only with less of grapefruit.
Then we had a bootle of 2009 Quinta do Cardo Selecção do Enólogo Beiras DOC, a blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca, produced by Quinta do Cardo. The wine was nothing short of being spectacular – with the exception of vintage port, during the whole week I only had one other red wine which was on the same level or may be even a touch higher – but I will talk about it in another post. Dense and concentrated, with dark fruit, plums and blueberries on the palate, all very round with the hint of smokiness. The wine was so good for the money (€14, in a restaurant!) that I even got two bottles right in the restaurant to take them back home.
When we went to the same restaurant second time, about a week later, the menu was quite different, and the wine were too. But – one of the reasons for the second visit was the desire to try the crab dish we saw someone ordering during the first time. Considering that Porto is located right on the cross of ocean and the Douro river, it is rather expected that fish and seafood should be very good – and this dish didn’t disappoint (hope you will find the below picture being enough of the proof):
I can’t say the same about wines – there was different 2009 Quinta do Cardo wine on the list (about €4 cheaper), and while it was not bad, it was not anywhere as good as the first one. All in all, if you are in Porto and if you will be in the area, Cufra is well worth visiting.
Last place I want to mention (but not least by all means) is a restaurant called Rabelos. Just to give you some prospective, Rabelos are actually flat bottom boats which were used to transport barrels of Port from the wineries to the Port house cellars for aging. Nowadays the wine is transported by the tanker trucks, and Rabelos are only used to move tourists around.
Anyway, the restaurant is actually located in Vila Nova de Gaia, a town which houses all the port cellars across the river from Porto. It is located very close to the bridge which connects Porto and Gaia, right along the boardwalk in a place which in general should be considered a tourist trap. But it was no tourist trap at all. The service was outstanding, and we got great recommendations and had great experience overall.
One of the starters was local feta cheese, dusted with Parmesan and slightly roasted with olive oil (take a note – I think it should be as easy to make it at home as it is delicious, and as a very least I’m going to try it…).
Then we had beef carpaccio and shrimp salad – the pictures don’t do justice to those dishes, but both were delicious
Next we had two dishes made from Bacalhau in different styles – one was baked with cheese sauce and one was grilled – both were outstanding:
Again ignoring the pairing rules, we went with the red wine called 2010 Borges Quinta da Soalheira Douro Red, a blend of classic Douro red grapes, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca and Tinto Cão, made by Vinhos Borges. The wine had medium body, good acidity, nice red fruit on the palate, well balanced – perfect for every day drinking, considering you can find it.
For the desert, we had lemon cake (paired with white Port) and chocolate cake paired with simple tawny. Below are a few pictures – the first one is taken by me ( boring, sigh), and then two others taken by Kfir – I will need to learn how to really use my own camera…
And of course nobody can leave the restaurant without coffee, right?
That’s all, we are done for today folks. Sorry for all the pictures, hope you found them at least moderately entertaining. Until the next time – cheers!
This is not the first time I’m writing a happy post about one of my favorite restaurants, The Capital Grille – here are the links to the previous two posts, from 2010 and from 2011. This post will not be an exception – we had a great time [again].
Everybody in the family like steaks (okay, the oldest used to love steak – now she is trying to become a vegetarian) – but most of the time we make it at home. However, in August, we have a happy occasion, our wedding anniversary, which gives us a good reason to go to a restaurant – but this is not the only reason to visit Capital Grille. Two more reasons: Generous Pour program and Stamford Restaurant Week. I guess we are simply lucky, as The Capital Grille runs their special wine program, called Generous Pour, from July until the beginning of September – for $25, you can taste 9 different wines, specially selected by the Master Sommelier George Milotes. And The Capital Grille usually participates in Stamford Restaurant week, which typically runs for two weeks before the Labor Day- at participating restaurants, you can have a full dinner for about $30 per person! Do I need to give you any more reasons? I thought so.
As I usually do with the restaurant posts, I will give you mostly pictures and then of course all of my notes on the wines, which were quite good overall.
We had calamari as our shared appetizer (one of the kids’ favorite foods) – I don’t have a picture for you, but they were delicious. Then for the main course, we had 3 different kinds of steak. Kids opted for Fillet Mignon:
I had Kona-rubbed sirloin strip:
And my wife went for Tornedos – a cut of beef I can never remember, so here is the link for you if you need to know exactly what it is:
All the steaks were masterfully prepared and came also with the tasty sides, like creamy spinach, garlicky mashed potatoes and wild mushrooms – as empty plates look extremely unappetizing in the pictures, I will spare you that sight, but believe me the plates were clean.
Let’s talk about the wines now, and we will finish your [drooling?] session with the dessert.
The wine program was presented exactly in the order below, and wine was always available throughout the entire course – I should mention that we had great service.
Here are my notes on the nine wines we had:
NV Lunetta Sparkling Rose, Trentino, Italy – very nice, crisp, tiny fizz, strawberries, hint of cranberries, good acidity. Refreshing. Drinkability: 7+
2009 Gary Ferrel Chardonnay, Carneros – Beautiful, touch of sweetness, butter and vanilla on the nose, same on the palate with additional hint of peach. Very balanced. Perfectly complemented spicy calamari. Drinkability: 8+
2008/09 Simčič Rebula, Roriska Brda, Slovenia – Earth and lemon on the nose, literally not a touch of fruit. Beautiful and hard to describe on the palate, very pronounced “just ripe” strawberries (more of a wild strawberries). Perfect acidity, touch of salt and savory undertones. Drinkability: 8-
2009 Chateau du Pin, Bordeaux, France – Limited fruit expression on the nose. Nice cherries, soft, good acidity on the palate, tannins unnoticeable (should have more). This wine didn’t exhibit a sense of place – not the Bordeaux wine I would expect. Interestingly enough, it didn’t work with steak – probably due to lack of tannins. This wine was drinkable, but not memorable at all. My least favorite in the entire lineup. Drinkability: 7
2007 Villa Mt Eden Pinot Noir Reserve, Russian River Valley – Amazing. Pinot Noir at the next level. Nose of a Pinot, with earthiness, smokiness, spices, cedar box. More of the same on the palate with the addition of ripe dark plums. In a blind tasting, I could possibly confuse this wine with the Rioja. Worked perfectly with the steak. Best of tasting. Drinkability: 9-
2007 Conn Creek Anthology Napa Valley – Beautiful classic Cabernet Sauvignon – cassis, eucalyptus, touch of blueberries, soft tannins. Perfectly drinkable now, but will improve with time. Drinkability: 8
2008 Ferrari-Carano Mountain Reserve, Alexander Valley – Nice progression from the previous wine. If Anthology was a delicate Cab, this wine was in-your-face California Cabernet. Blueberry jam on the nose (but no alcohol burn!), very fruit forward – in a good sense. Beautifully balanced, dark fruit on the palate, dark chocolate and herbs. Drinkability: 8+
2009 Falesco Assini Rosso, Umbria – Beautiful toned down read wine, black cherries, perfect acidity, noticeable profile of herbs and spices, very complex. Drinkability: 8
2006 Kanu Kia Ora Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa – Light and effervescent, without overpowering sweetness. Apricot pit and apricot notes, very good acidity. Paired very well with cheesecake. Drinkability: 7+
And now – the dessert! In general, I’m somewhat indifferent to the cheesecake – yes, it is nice, but it would be one of my last choices in the restaurant. Except the Cheesecake in The Capital Grille – if you never had one, go to The Capital Grille near you, skip the steak and just order the cheesecake – it will be a divine experience. Okay, fine, don’t skip the steak, because it is really good – but whatever you do, leave some room for cheesecake. As they usually say, picture worth a thousand words:
That’s all I have for you, folks – sorry you had to live vicariously through this post, but you really shouldn’t – here is a link to The Capital Grille web site, find one near you. Cheers!
I like sequels, Well, in the movies – sometimes, not so much. But when it comes to the writing, whatever you forgot to say in the first part, you can say in the second, and feel good about it, claiming that this was the intent from the get go.
What I didn’t mention in the first post about great tasting of Georges Duboeuf 2011 Beaujolais portfolio is that red Beaujolais make one of the best red wines for summer – they are typically light in alcohol (if you noticed, 13% ABV was the most for all wines mentioned in the first post), and they also taste the best when they are slightly chilled. Considering how hot this summer is across pretty much the whole US territory, I hope this will help you to find a good red wine for the hot day, because sometimes it just have to be red.
In the first post, I described a self-guided part of tasting. That tasting was followed by the lunch, both of which (tasting and the lunch) taking place at db Bistro Modern, one of the restaurants of the famous chef Daniel Boulud.
Georges Duboeuf opened the event with presentation of 2011 vintage. Here is my best effort transcript of what he said (remember, I’m not a professional journalist, I’m only pretending): “2011 was a great year. Budding started in April, then flowering started in June, and then harvest started August 22nd and lasted for two weeks. Some areas experienced periods of drought. Overall, grapes reached very good level of ripeness. 2005 and 2009 (considered best in a very long time) were good, but 2011 might be even a little bit better than 2009. Throughout the vintage, there are lots of black cherry and earthy notes.”
After Georges Duboeuf’s presentation, the first dish was served – “Legumes du Marche” – Young Garden Vegetables, Fromage Blanc Dressing, Lavender Honey Vinaigarette.
This dish was paired with 2011 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages, and it worked together very well by wine complementing soft and earthy flavors of the vegetables.
Next, Frank Duboeuf presented two white wines, Macon-Villages and Pouilly-Fuisse (please see detailed note below). He said that 2011 was equally good year for both whites and the reds, which is a very rare situation. I didn’t take the detailed notes though, as I was preoccupied with parallel discussion at the table and delicious pairing of wine and food ( bad journalism : ( )
White wines were served with the next course, Seafood Risotto – Black Sea Bass, Scallops, Squids, Cockles, Fennel, Tomato Confit “Fumet” Emulsion.
Pouilly-Fuisse worked perfectly well with risotto, which was a unique experience for me. Creaminess of risotto cancelled out some sharpness of the chardonnay, creating next level of experience.
For the next course, Georges Duboeuf presented two red wines, Morgon and Julienas. He described Morgon as having “violet, cassis, kirsch on the nose, same flavors on the palate. A lot of structure. This wine will age very well”. Regarding Julienas, he said that “it is a very special wine, it has great personality. 2011 was a lot like 2009. This particular wine had the biggest success over the last 5-6 years. It was very critical to expand the vineyard (by 4 acres) for the success of this wine. This is a very noble wine with great aging potential. The wine was bottled a week before, right before the event”.
These two reds accompanied the last course of the meal – Duo of Beef – Braised Short Ribs, Beef Tenderloin, Spring Vegetables, Sauce Bordelaise.
I have to tell that while both food and wine were delicious in its own right, they didn’t work together, so the pairing was not successful by not elevating the whole meal to the next level. But I also have to admit that both food and wine really didn’t bother each other too much – they were really two absolutely parallel experiences without a merge or a collision (which is often the case when wine and food don’t work together).
And then…there was a dessert, which was delicious and not paired with any wines (I also have no idea how this little cookies should be called, but it was very hard to stop eating them).
Here are the detailed notes for the wines:
2011 Georges Duboeuf Macon-Villages Domaine Les Chenevieres, Maconnaise, France (100% Chardonnay, SRP: $13.99, 12.5% ABV, 5000 cases produced) – Very nice, hint of hazelnut and citrus on the nose, good fruit, good balance, good acidity, hint of white apples, touch of vanilla and touch of oak on the palate. (Drinkability: 7+)
2011 Georges Duboeuf Pouilly-Fuisse Domaine Beranger, Maconnaise, France (100% Chardonnay, SRP: $17.99, 13% ABV, 3500 cases produced, 1200 imported) – this wine comes from the best area, the actual town of Pouilly-Fuisse. This wine had more pronounced chardonnay qualities than the previous wine – vanilla, touch of citrus and oak notes, excellent balance. (Drinkability: 8- )
2011 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages, Beaujolais, France (100% Gamay, SRP: $9.99, 12.5% ABV) – very nice, good balance, a little tartness on the palate, but good overall. (Drinkability: 7)
2011 Georges Duboeuf Morgon, Domaine Jean Descombes, Beaujolais, France (100% Gamay, SRP: $15.99, 13% ABV) – good acidity, fresh fruit, light, soft, a bit too grapey to be great – but should improve with time. (Drinkability: 7)
2011 Georges Duboeuf Julienas Chateau des Capitans, Beaujolais, France (100% Gamay, SRP: $18.99, 14% ABV) – excellent depth, good power, good body, excellent balance. (Drinkability: 8)
All in all, it was one great event, both in the information and experience. Summer is still on, my friends – go find a bottle of Beaujolais to kick it off after a long day. And make an extra effort to find one of Georges Duboeuf wines – it will well worth it. Cheers!
I always admired Mario Batali as an Iron Chef, and after visiting his flagship restaurant, Babbo in New York City, I fell in love with his cooking (tasting menu at Babbo is probably one of my biggest ever epicurean highlights). Thus when we decided to stop by Casa Mono for lunch after attending Michael Skurnik wine tasting (blog post to follow) in New York City, I was one happy camper.
Never mind 100+ wines we tasted right before, we had to have some wine with lunch, right? Casa Mono sports an excellent wine list, focused on Spanish wines as one could anticipate. After tasting lots of young, big and dense red wines, we wanted to drink wine which would be easy enough to drink, but still the one which would complement the variety of Tapas offerings. Our choice was 2001 Lopez de Heredia Vina Gravonia, a white Rioja wine. Rioja wines are some of my favorite overall, but additionally, I think white Rioja is some of the most amazing white wines when it comes to aging – I had 18 years old Vina Gravona which was fresh and beautiful (you can find notes here). This 11 years old wine, 2001 Vina Gravonia, was just perfect – medium body, good acidity and minerality, good amount of fruit without being fruit forward, with hints of eucalyptus and anise. Very well rounded wine which paired perfectly with variety of the tapas dishes we had.
So for the food, as usual, it would be mostly a photo report. We were absolutely delighted with all of our choices, so without long overdue, here is the happy report.
Duck Egg with Moyama was one of the first tapas to arrive. Chicken eggs are boring – this is what I want for my breakfast!
Sweetbreads with Fennel Al Mono – delicious and perfectly executed in the small bites format:
Cod Cheeks Pil Pil with Pickled Chiles – I almost forgot to take a picture. The texture and flavor profile of this dish – with garlic, savory broth and chiles, it was “more bread, please” kind of dish – not a drop of that delicious liquid can be lost!
Potatas Bravas in the perfect tangy sauce:
And the Skirt Steak with Onion Marmelada – meat perfectly done, and very tasty in combination with the caramelized onions:
Do you think we skipped the dessert? Ha, of course not! Here it is:
Deep Fried Bay Leaves with Burnt Vanilla Custard – who would’ve thought that you can deep fry a bay leaf??? But it was delicious, and paired perfectly with the custard:
And last but not least, Orange Infused Bread Pudding with Horchata Ice Cream – the orange infusion makes this bread pudding feel absolutely the lightest and literally effervescent:
This was a great food experience, and I can only conclude with the words of the Iron Chef show host – Thank you for the wonderful meal, Chef Mario Batali!
I love tasting food. Tasting menus, wine tasting flights, tasting events are definitely my favorite way to experience food and wine. When I’m in the restaurant which offers tasting menu, when affordable, I would always go for one.
Last year in Miami we went to the Sra. Martinez restaurant, we took the tasting menu, and it was a great experience – I wrote a blog post about it, which was titled “Fiesta Gastronomique“. The tasting menu which we took had about 10 different dishes, all brought to the table one by one, by the different people, given all the explanations about the food, in a perfectly orchestrated performance – hence the “Fiesta” in the title.
This year we went to another restaurant of the same chef, Michelle Bernstein (she owns Sra. Martinez), called Michy’s (we even saw chef for a few minutes talking to the customers). Same as last time, we decided to go for the tasting menu. There were two tasting options available – one with addition of the cold appetizers and one without. When we asked for advice as to which one would be recommended, our waiter told us that unless we are very hungry, he suggests taking the shorter menu – boy, were we happy with his recommendation as dinner progressed.
I assume by now you wondering why the post’s title leaves only Gastronimique and removes Fiesta from this experience? We had an amazing food – but it was presented in a different style. We still had all the explanations, yes, but the food was arriving all together in the family style setting – first three appetizers, then three entrees and then two desserts – all exquisite, great tasting food – but Fiesta was not there – it was rather quiet and relaxing gourmet dinner. Don’t get me wrong – I highly recommend Michy’s and would gladly come back, and in case you are in Miami – don’t miss it, I’m just doing my best to convey the experience we had.
Anyway, let me entice you with some pictures and some additional notes. First, let’s start with wine. The wine list looks very good, with lots of different selections (it has more of a world-wide flare, where wine list at Sra. Martinez had decidedly bigger selection of Spanish wines). We ended up drinking 2009 Sicoris Costers del Segre DO, which is a blend of Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Merlot and Syrah. The wine have good fruit, medium to full body, a little sharpness on the edges but with good overall balance of fruit, tannins and acidity (Drinkability: 7+).
Our first appetizer course consisted of three different dishes. The first one, called Squash Blossoms with creamy polenta, was the best, simply incredible in the balance of taste and texture:
Foie Gras with Stuffed Pancake was also very good:
And then Beets Salad (how did they know I’m a sucker for a beets salad?):
Next three entrees showed up. First, Homemade Fettuccine with Carbonara Sauce – delicious:
Next, Slow Cooked Short Ribs – out of this world! These short ribs were cooked for 6 to 8 hours, and it was showing. Also, they perfectly paired with Sicoris wine, which was an added bonus:
Last, but not the least entree was Snapper in Malaysian Sauce – tasty dish, and very large in size, so once again we were very happy with the fact that we took shorter version of the tasting menu:
Now, the dessert course included two dishes. First one was Brioche Bread Pudding – it was good, but not my favorite:
And the last dessert, Baked Apple Pie, was another “to die for” experience – probably the best Apple Pie I ever had:
All in all, it was a great experience – great food, great wine, outstanding service (impeccable is the right word). Thank you for the wonderful meal, Chef Michelle Bernstein! [Ahh, watching too much Iron Chef...] Cheers!
I have a special fascinations with man made things which last through time. I remember looking almost in awe at the stone in London which had guarding rail around it and little plaque declaring that this stone was laid there in 1012 (I might be off by a few years, but you got the idea). On another occasion ( about 20 years ago, very shortly after I came to US), I was visiting Metropolitan Museum in New York, and I saw a large structure in one of the rooms which resembled Egypt Pyramid, actually bearing the age of many thousands years. I couldn’t help myself not to put a hand on the wall and touch those thousands of years – the very next second extremely loud and angry voice came out with the words “Don’t touch the Temple!”.
Wine holds special place for me when it comes to its relationship with wine (here is an earlier post on that subject). While in Miami, I was able to literally touch upon wine and time once again (only touch, not taste). We went for a dinner to the restaurant called The Forge, located in North Miami Beach. This restaurant is a landmark on its own, being in existence sine 1920s. But the object of particular interest is their wine cellar, located on the lower floor.
From the first look you take on those bottles, the only thing you can say is “wow”. Then you say it again and again, as you walk around that spacious cellar, beautifully appointed in mahogany. Inside the cellar there is a separate gated section which holds owner’s private collection. That collection has a full line of Chateau Lafite, starting from 1822! The collection is curated by the Chateau Lafite itself, and recently the bottles were re-corked and toppled off with 1982 Chateau Lafite, which was deemed “good enough” for that purpose.
Leaving owner’s collection aside, the main cellar holds so many jewels that any oenophile will tremble in the knees just walking around. Here are few pictures I would like to share with you.
Here is close up on the label, in case you can’t see well enough on the previous picture:
Mouton Rothschild Artistic series ( don’t know if picture is good enough for you to see, but it is Chagal and Picasso labels):
Domaine Romanee Conti, of course:
Look at this beauty – 1957 Petrus!
The cellar holds quite a few large format bottles:
And here are couple of general views ( note that cellar is available for private parties…):
And one more:
We did pretty good with the wine – 2006 Stella Maris Red Wine from Washington state was nice, round wine, with good red and black fruit both on the nose and the palate, good acidity, medium to full body. Overall, while wine list appears to be a huge book, split into countries and styles of wine, it is not easy to find something interesting and affordable at the same time. Of course, you will be gladly served that 1957 Petrus for about $45,000, so if you plan to celebrate something that special, can I please (did I say “pleeease”?) get an invitation?
Talking about the food, for the appetizers we ordered Salmon Croquets and Roaster Cauliflower florets. The Cauliflower was probably one of the tastiest I ever had, but the salmon croquets were on the mushy side. Here is the picture:
Then we had two steaks, and while the place is considered to be a steakhouse, they were just average, not memorable at all (I would gladly take instead Capital Grille steak at any time). Here are two pictures -
New York Strip:
And “steak and eggs”, steak was encrusted with coffee and pan-seared:
The dessert somewhat compensated for the entrees, though, as it was the best souffle I ever had – chocolate grand marnier souffle:
All in all, it was a great and very memorable visit. If you have an expense account, your possibilities are endless at The Forge. If you are like me, coming for the great “wine and time” experience, you might have better luck with fish. Cheers!
To tell you the truth, in my previous visits to Israel I was a bit skeptical when it would come to sushi – this can be understood considering that I live in close proximity to New York city. After visiting Yakimono I’m a believer – yes, you can find world-class Japanese food in Israel.
We all decided to go for the tasting menu, which seemed to be much more logical choice versus trying to pick a dish from a very long list. Before I will present you with the photo report of that tasting menu, let me mention the wines. For the white, we had 2010 Yarden Gewurztraminer, fresh, with the floral nose and very delicate palate (not overpowering or sweet, as gewurztraminers get sometimes). This wine had notes of white apples and grapefruit on the palate, but was quite balanced at the same time, and worked as great compliment to spicy dishes. For the red, we had 2008 Chateau Golan Royal Reserve Syrah, which was probably the best wine I had during entire trip, and definitely the most interesting. This wine had a nose of Gorgonzola cheese, and very nice and soft palate, with good peppery notes, hint of smoke and ripe and round black fruit, good acidity and nice overall balance.
Now, let me present you with the tasting menu in pictures. First, here is the tasting menu itself:
Here is Sashimi Salad, as tasty as it was colorful:
Next was Jumbo shrimp (it was really Jumbo!):
Salmon balls – also take a look at the tiny morsels you see there – those are mushrooms, and I have to admit, they were some of the most flavorful bits of food imaginable:
then sushi plate, which included 4 different kinds (yellowtail, eel, shrimp and salmon and avocado):
Unfortunately, I missed the moment to take a picture of tempura (but most of you know how tempura looks like), so the next picture is showing seared tuna and lemon (tasted great, and take look at the presentation!):
Next dish was yellowtail tuna cooked in the authentic sauce:
The tasting menu concluded with beef fillet wrap:
And then – dessert. First, an ice cream:
and a cheesecake:
This concludes my photo report. If I convinced you to give this restaurant a try, my mission is accomplished. If I didn’t – you should still try it. Cheers!
I don’t know how does it work, but every time I come to Israel (which happens about once a year), the food here is getting better and better – every time. This year my friend took me to the Kimmel restaurant, located very close to the Neve Tzedek district in Tel-Aviv.
I can describe my experience at this restaurant with a single word (is that officially a word?) – WOW! Starting from décor, going to service, and then wines and food, everything was just impeccable (am I exaggerating? I don’t think so – it was seriously a “wow” experience).
Starting with the décor (which I don’t have the pictures of, unfortunately), the place has an ambiance of the French countryside tavern – very rustic, dark aged wood paneling, old bottles ( and some new) are everywhere, dimmed lighting.
For appetizer we had a beets salad with fried goat cheese, pistachio and baby greens (very good):
And then mushrooms with Foie Gras ( outstanding!) – perfect sauce and overall combination of mushrooms and foie gras ( not your every day appetizer):
Of course we had wine. I had being a big fan of Israeli wines for a while – the quality of the wine I tried was improving every year – and there are more and more Israeli wines which are simply a world-class. We selected 2009 Tzora Vineyards Judean Hills wine, which was a blend Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah – soft, balanced, with good amount of dark fruit, but not overpowering the food. This wine paired very well with our choice of appetizers, and of course it was gone before the main course arrived.
For the main course I choose the boulibaise, and it was impeccable. Balance of acidity and spiciness, perfectly cooked, succulent mussels, shrimp and crab claws. And for the great touch – an addition of a shot of anise liquor, which put the whole dish on the next level – perfect!
Then creme brulee four different styles – probably one of the absolute best I ever had, as in a lot of cases creme brulee is simply reminiscent of the sweet omelette – this one was light, creamy and delicious, without any egg taste showing up:
And for the last highlight of the meal – chocolate lady fingers ( that was the name of the dish). I don’t want to sound as judges at Iron Chef or Chopped, but this was one of the rare experiences where the texture was really a key in the dish – perfect balance of creaminess of the chocolate with the crunch of the cookie – totally different from anything I had before – nothing cloying, nothing sticking – just perfect.