Tahlequah Daily Press

Checking It Out

October 23, 2008

Five-star dining: A once-in-a-lifetime treat



At all times during the meal, two or three staff members were moving unobtrusively about through the room. You barely notice they’re around, until they lean over the table to explain the viands and wine you’re about to enjoy. They detail the ingredients in each dish, and tell you how the wine has been paired to complement your food.

The wine, as I already said, is imperative. My husband and I know very little about wines; like most folks, we just “know what we like.” And generally speaking, if we have wine with a meal, it’s just one type – red or white, all poured from the same bottle. But in this case, every course is served with an ideally suited wine, and one sip tells the whole story. Even if you don’t know wine, you just know. It’s a perfect match each time.

For the express purpose of sampling as much as we could, my husband and I selected a difference choice for each course. And each artfully composed plate presented a palette of food with flavors that melded in an almost indescribably complex way. The portions were not large, yet they were so rich they were completely filling. The meal seemed precisely timed, too; there was plenty of opportunity to chat in between courses, yet no uncomfortably long gaps in the flow.

But, let me described some of what we experienced.

After we each had a flute of Domaine Meriwether Brut Rosé to start, my husband ordered jumbo lump and Dungeness crab with asparagus salad, accompanied by a sauvingnon blanc. My first course was tamarind-ancho marinated shrimp with heirloom tomato vinaigrette, with a glass of Italian white – Cantina del Taburno Falanghina.

Next, he had poached quail with black mission figs and Fuji apples, a melt-in-your mouth delicacy, set off by a zinfandel. My second course was my favorite: pan-roasted foie gras withpeach tart and mostarda di cremona. With it I was served what the host described as “Napoleon’s favorite wine” – Royal Tokaji Azsú 5 Puttonyos, Mád Tokaj-Hegyalja (couldn’t say it if I tried). Technically that’s a dessert wine, so it’s sweet, but it married flawlessly with the goose liver.

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