Monday, June 1, 2009

State Dinner 2009

After much debate and a furious bout of internal memoranda, La Cote Brasserie in the Renaissance Arts Hotel was chosen as the situs for the 2009 Official Blackened Out State Dinner. Turnout was stellar as we had by far not only the largest table, but the most people at one table as well. The wines were from Eberle Winery.

First up was a glass of Chardonnay and some passed apps. Crawfish and lobster stuffed peppadew peppers = good, fried alligator in a General Tso's reminscent sauce = better, boudin croquettes missed the mark. The boudin was a cold and uninteresting. The Chardonnay however compensated for the faults of the boudin.

First course looked good on paper - seared scallop on watermelon rind jam with grapefruit segments. But as the server placed it down, the scent of 3-day-old houseguest rose from the table. The scallop was seared, but not really cooked and was incredibly "fishy." Complete miss.

But then came the happiness. A salad of cured then smoked then seared duck pastrami with foie gras shavings and a salad of lightly dressed arugula. Just everything you could want out of a plate of food: sultry, extravagant, indulgent, and refined. Best dish of night handsd down. Served with the Syrah Rosé, I could eat this every night of my life and get fat as shit. The rosé would work very well with sticky ribs.

Next up was a tasso crusted piece of redfish over polenta. No complaints here, served with an almost delicate Cabernet. The Pope's comment summed it up, "Another bottle of that one please?"
This final savory course we all waited with baited breath on: a porcini crusted venison tenderloin with valdeon blue cheese gnocchi and pork cracklins. The blue cheese in the gnocchi needed to play a stronger role and this dish would have really been exceptional. Meat was cooked perfectly and the porcini dusting held its own. Paired with a shiraz, had the blue cheese come through the stars would have aligned.

Dessert was Strawberry pain perdu, satsuma ice cream, pralines, and Muscat. By this point, the notes got fuzzy.
The service and staff at La Cote did a hell of a job. It may sound like I complained a bunch, but really it was a great meal and an even better time. Thanks to everyone who came, including The Nun and her table of Misfits. Luckily Catfish Erin and Donnie Boy Riguez brought some after dinner cigars for all. He claimed they were pre-Castro Cubans, but I tend to think they were just Castro Cubans.


Arthur "The Bear" Hebert said...

Is Chuck Subra still there. He is one of my Southwest La boys and I like his cooking

Peter said...

Yep, he's still there. Before service began he came out to the dining room and gave a rundown of the menu. Seems like a very nice guy.

Will said...

Good post. Captures the La Cote experience perfectly: often fantastic, occasionally awful. When it's on, the food can hang with anyone in the city, so in a way it's disappointing that the great work in their kitchen is held back by inconsistent execution and abusive markups on the wine list.

I take it all of the wines at this dinner were from Eberle? If so it's a shame you were fuzzy by the time the muscat canelli came around as IMO that is the star of Eberle's lineup - a beautifully balanced muscat with no VA. The good news is that at under $15 retail it's a solid value - so it's easy to pick up another bottle.

I'm pretty sure your post is the first and last time I will ever hear Eberle's Cab described as "delicate."

Great blog, keep it coming.