Home > Bars and Restaurants, Experiences, Food, Food and wine pairing > Wine Dinner at Brasserie Louis

Wine Dinner at Brasserie Louis

Lewisburg, Pennsylvania I love traditions. I’m not talking about anything which is covered in dust and lasted for hundreds of years. I’m talking about simple life pleasures which you call traditions as long as it is something you do repeatedly, hopefully with joy and pleasure.

For about 5 years, we get together with group of friends for a weekend in August, which we call an “Adults Getaway”. The program for the “adults getaway” usually includes driving to an interesting small town within 200 miles radius, a wine tasting if there is a winery near by (doesn’t have to be a winery – one year we visited Hudson Distillery, for instance), a tasty dinner, a stay over at a nice B&B – but primarily lots great and fun time together.

When it comes to the tasty dinner, we usually try to control that experience as much as possible – that translates into finding local restaurant which will be willing to host us and work with us to create tasting menu, and ideally, allow us to bring our own wine which we will of course pair with the dishes on the menu.

Brasserie LouisFew weeks ago we got together for our “adults getaway” at Lewisburg in Pennsylvania. Our “anchor” for the trip was visit to the local winery, Fero Vineyards, which will be a subject of a separate post. For the dinner we contacted a few local restaurants, and finally decided to have our dinner at Brasserie Louis.

We didn’t have any specific dining theme in mind, and the suggested menu we received from Scott, owner of Brasserie Louis, exceeded our expectations – 11 different dishes – the dinner looked very promising. Now we had to decide on the wine pairings and go have fun. 11 dishes doesn’t mean we have to have 11 wines – we settled on 7 wines, as two of the desserts really were calling for the two different wine pairings.

The day arrived and we all got together (overcoming some interesting difficulties, such as flat run-flat tire, which appears to be a serious ordeal, especially during long distance travel) and here is the account of the wine dinner with all the details.

Appetizers:

We started with Shrimp Ceviche (diced raw shrimp pieces in lime juice with cilantro, bell pepper, salt and pepper) – very nicely executed dish, great flavor, touch of heat. Our wine pairing was  2014 Fattoria Laila Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC, Italy (13% ABV, $11) – wine had a good open profile with some flower and white fruit notes, but most importantly, it paired perfectly with the flavor of ceviche, complementing and enhancing the dish.

Our second dish was Wild Mushroom Tart (puff pastry with wild mushrooms, Gruyere cheese and shallots topped with greens and a balsamic glaze) – another excellent dish, with peppery arugula melding well together with the earthy mushrooms and adding lightness to the cheese. The wine pairing here was NV Anna Codorniu Brut Rosé, Spain (12% ABV, $13, 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay) – one of my favorite Sparklers, Anna Codorniu always over-delivers, with good structure and good body. Here the pairing was also successful, with the wine complementing the dish very well.

Intermediate:

Our “in-between” dish was Harvest Salad (baby arugula with goat cheese, beets and candied walnuts tossed with a Champagne vinaigrette) – nice crunch, fresh, simple – and we used the same Anna Codorniu with this dish, and again, this was an excellent pairing.

And now, for the Main Course:

We started with Hand formed Crab Cake (lemon Beurre Blanc sauce, green pea risotto) – this was easily the best dish of the evening. You know how often crab cakes contain a lot of other “stuff”, various fillers (corn, peppers, etc)? This crab cake had just honest goodness of a pure, delicious crab meat – I only had anything similar in Maryland, which can be called a crab cake capital with its blue crab. This was just a “wow”dish. Our wine pairing was also excellent – 2013 Jean-Luc Colombo La Redonne Cotes du Rhone, France (13.5% ABV, $20, 70% Viognier, 30% Roussanne)  – Jean-Luc Colombo is a very good producer out of Rhone, and this was one of his higher end wines – plump, full bodied, silky – complemented mild crab cake flavors spot on.

Next up – Black Sesame Crusted Yellowfin Tuna Steak (Yuzu teriyaki glaze) – the dish was nice and simple (tuna was a touch overcooked to my taste, I like it rare), and it paired very well with one of my all-time favorite red wines – 2013 Laetitia Estate Pinot Noir Arroyo Grande Valley, California (13.9% ABV, $20). Laetitia makes an excellent range of Pinot Noir wines, where Estate is an introductory level wine – which makes it perfectly ready to drink young. Delicious California Pinot Noir profile – smoke, plums, touch of earthiness – outstanding. The pairing worked quite well by complementing and enhancing the flavors of the dish.

We continued with Duck a l’Orange (pan seared duck breast, Grand Marnier reduction) – this was an okay dish (my piece of duck was slightly overcooked), but the sauce was excellent and fresh. We used the same Pinot Noir for the pairing, and wine and food worked together well.

Taking a break from the proteins, our next dish was Ratatouille (Provencal vegetable stew of zucchini, squash, wild mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, eggplant and sweet potatoes, touch of Parmesan cheese). This was the dish where the mastery of the Chef combined with amazing Pennsylvania vegetables (I’ve traveled all over East Coast – nothing beats PA vegetables, I’m dead serious) to bring out simply a perfection on the plate – vegetables still had a crunch, and the whole dish was just another “wow” experience.

Our choice of wine for the this and next 2 dishes was 2008 M. Chapoutier Domaine de Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem Cotes de Roussillon Villages, France (14% ABV, $55/magnum). M. Chapoutier needs no introductions as one of the very best producers in Rhone, and this wine was outstanding – complex, with a touch of roasted flavors, great minerality, lavender. However, there was one problem – this wine didn’t pair well with Ratatouille, and it didn’t pair well with two other dishes. In some cases, it was indifferent (didn’t complement or contrast), and with Ratatouille it was even working against the dish. Well – it is what it is – we still enjoyed the wine and the food – just separately.

Our next dish was Lamb Chops (herb mustard crusted rack of lamb, minted demi-glace) – meat was nicely cooked, and of course lamb and mint jelly is a classic combination.

We finished our main course with Filet Mignon (grilled filet, scalloped potatoes and wilted spinach, truffled veal demi-glace) – the presentation was very interesting, with the steak knife put directly into each piece of the meat. The meat was cooked very well, and overall dish was tasty. And this was probably the only dish where Cotes de Roussillon wine paired marginally acceptable.

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Finally, we are at Dessert!

We had two desserts to finish our evening. Strawberry Zabaione (egg yolks, sugar, Marsala wine, fresh strawberries) was very tasty and not too sweet. We paired it with NV Tütidì Brachetto Piemonte DOC, Italy (7% ABV, $12/1L). Brachetto is a lightly fizzed wine with a nice fruit notes, and it perfectly complements wide range of lighter desserts – and this was a case of a perfect pairing – they were delicious together.

We finished our dinner with Flourless Chocolate Cake, which was paired with Mount Palomar Limited Reserve Port, Temecula Valley, California (18% ABV, $38). Port and Chocolate – do I need to say more?

There you have it my friends – our wine dinner at Brasserie Louis in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. What is left for me to do here is to say Thank You to the owner Scott, Chef Chris Rubino and all the staff at the restaurant who made sure we will have a great time. Cheers!

Brasserie Louis
101 Market Street
Lewisburg, PA 17837
Phone: (570) 524-5559
Facebook: Brasserie Louis

Click to add a blog post for Brasserie Louis on Zomato

  1. August 30, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Holy frijoles! What a menu! And great pairings. I’m crazy for the Anna wines too.
    Sounds like a wonderful tradition and experience.

    • talkavino
      August 31, 2015 at 8:14 am

      Thank you, my friend – yes, this is a great tradition, we always have lots of fun!

  2. August 30, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Wow, Very impressive multi course meal and the wine with each course sounds outstanding. I don’t think I have ever had that much food in one sitting. Sounds like an awesome trip and visit to the winery, what fun.

    • talkavino
      August 31, 2015 at 8:13 am

      Thanks, Suzanne. Yes, the menu was more than what we expected – you can imagine we were quite full at the end 🙂

  3. August 30, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Sounds great, with nice pairings. The grand marnier and pinot is interesting, I would not have expected that to work. But then again my reference for pinot is Bourgogne.

    • talkavino
      August 31, 2015 at 8:12 am

      Most of them were very good pairings with the exception of red Rhone. California Burgundy have bigger body and a touch more fruit. Also the sauce was quite balanced, not overly sweet.

      • August 31, 2015 at 8:26 am

        Can you recommend some Californian Pinot that may be available here that is reasonably priced ($30?).

        • talkavino
          August 31, 2015 at 8:49 am

          Tough one, Stefan. If I understand correctly, you live in Netherlands? According to Wine-Searcher, I can suggest a few wines I know and which seems to be available in Netherlands, under $40: Calera (many different ones), La Crema, Irony, Saintsbury, Kendall-Jackson Reserve, Schug. Calera is one of my favorite Pinot Noir overall. Irony probably will be the cheapest, but it is very reasonable wine in my opinion. If you see some CA wines in your store you want my opinion on, let me know! Wine-Searcher can’t know everything 🙂

        • September 1, 2015 at 4:01 am

          Thanks, I will look into this when I’m back home. (Yes, I live in the Netherlands.)

        • January 30, 2016 at 2:54 pm

          Hi Anatoli, none of the wine stores in my area carry the wines you mention. In fact, they hardly carry any Californian pinot noir at all. Two they do have are Bernardus and Coppola. Any thoughts on those?

        • talkavino
          January 30, 2016 at 3:00 pm

          Hi Stefan, do you have an exact wine in mind? Both produce a range of different wines. I’m not very familiar with Bernardus, but they seem to be a Pinot Noir specialist, which is always a good sign. For the Coppola wines, I had hits and misses. I like their Director’s Cut series. If you have only two wines as an option, try both and compare 🙂

        • January 31, 2016 at 6:06 pm

          Both are pretty expensive for just trying a bottle without your blessing 😉 For Coppola it is the Director’s Cut Pinot Noir that I saw.

        • talkavino
          February 1, 2016 at 12:06 am

          and which one is that for the Bernardus?

        • February 1, 2016 at 2:15 am

          Bernardus Pinot Noir (Monterey) 2009. There is also a 2009 Pisoni, but that one’s 76 euros.

        • talkavino
          February 1, 2016 at 7:42 am

          If price is comparable, I would go with Bernardus. Looking forward hearing your opinion!

  4. August 31, 2015 at 5:17 am

    What an amazing food and wine experience…and obviously great company as well. mind if I gatecrash next year? 😉

    • talkavino
      August 31, 2015 at 8:10 am

      Frank, you are welcome to join us any time! If your travel ever takes you to New York – let me know, will find the way to enjoy a bottle (or a few) of wine together 🙂

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