Thursday, December 06, 2007

Birthday Indulgence

December 4th was my birthday and the Mysterious Chinese Woman decided to indulge me by treating me to dinner and my favorite restaurant when it comes to being indulged. That restaurant is Chanterelle.

Chanterelle At Night

I apologize for the poor quality of the photo. I am still getting used to a new camera and without a tripod, which I wasn't about to lug around, it is hard to hold the camera steady enough to get a good quality shot. The facade doesn't really do the restaurant justice anyway, not when it is covered by scaffolding, at least.

We had half an hour to kill before our reservations so I decided to stop into Walker's for a quick beer.


This picture turned out a bit better but, sadly, my stay did not. I have been in here many times before and always had an enjoyable time. Tonight, however, it was very crowded and there was only one bartender. The bar was pretty full but I did find a spot to stand at the end nearest the windows. The bartender was at the other end of the bar making cocktails for one of the waitresses. No problem with that. However, when he finished he never looked around the bar but then started talking to customers at his end of the bar and made another round of drinks for them. Okay, maybe they had finished before I came in. But then someone walked into the place, headed to the far end of the bar and the bartender served him. All during this time he never seemed to glance at my end of the bar so I couldn't catch his eye. Given that I only had half an hour I decided to just leave. I can only assume that they were short-handed for some reason and this is, by no means, typical of the service that I have received in the past.

But there was no shortage of service at Chanterelle. It is located on a rather obscure corner in Tribeca at 2 Harrison Street, a short little street that can be difficult to find if you don't know where you are going. That doesn't stop this place from being popular though, you have to make reservations a month in advance and it was packed, as usual. I have never been there when it hasn't been.

Not having my beer at Walkers I decided to share a champagne toast with the Mysterious Chinese Woman before getting serious.

Here's Looking At You

They have a somewhat limited menu but it changes about once every four months. Because I was celebrating I opted for the six-course chef's selection with the wine pairing. The only choice you get is the dessert. They also have a three course menu where you have more to chose from. The wine pairing is impressive right off the bat when they set out all the glasses that you will be needing to get through the wine.


Now I am not going to be able to give you the names of all the wines I was served. The wait-staff was gracious enough to let me take pictures, but I didn't really want to hold them up by taking notes as well. If anyone recognizes the bottles where you can't make out the names, feel free to post a comment and let me know what they are.

The meal started off with a nice sake. It was quite light with definite hints of melon and paired well with the first course of sushi. All the wines paired well, of course.



There was a nice assortment with the air-dried tuna being the most unusual and, in my opinion, the bay-scallop cerviche being the best.

Next up was what I think was a Chardonnay. Can't be sure of this one because it was fairly sweet, almost like a desert wine, but not quite. It was served with a nicely crisp goose liver on a bed of risotto and potato. Again, the wine nicely complimented the sweetness of the liver, which was delicious. The potato risotto was a bit bland, but that wasn't bad because it offset the liver's richness.


Goose Liver with Risotto and Potato

We were just warming up at this point and the next pairing was a Chardonnay. This Chardonnay had the more traditional Chardonnay taste and was served with turbot, mild and firm bodied.



Our next serving featured a lovely red wine, rich and luscious, paired with perfectly done lamb. I wish I could remember what was served along side the lamb, but I don't. I can tell you that it was very good though and I ate it all.

Red Wine

Lamb And Mystery Side

The next course is always one of my favorites, the cheese plate. One year I went here for my birthday at lunch-time because it was impossible to get reservations for that evening. They offer a somewhat more abbreviated menu and the cheese course wasn't available. When I expressed my disappointment the owner said that their cheese man was in and maybe he would accommodate me. He was more than happy to do so and so I was able to indulge my self with a fine selection of cheeses and a nice port.

Tonight they didn't serve a port, which surprised me a bit, but a another very nice wine that did the trick. A large selection of cheeses is presented for you to choose from. The very knowledgeable young lady who did the presenting described each of the cheeses and helped you make your selection. You could have one of each, if you wanted, but by this time I was getting a bit full so I settled for four.


The Full Cheese Selection

My Selection

The last course did come with port and you had a selection of desserts. I chose something called, I think, Maple Delight and it featured several maple themed deserts. My favorite was the maple ice-cream with threads of candied ginger sprinkled on top.



Now by this time I really was stuffed, but it wasn't quite over. An after dinner coffee is always in order and, as you might imagine, it would not be served alone. I have to admit, the coffee was delicious but I simply could not eat any of the treats it came with.

The Coup De Gras

I wish I could have gone into a bit more detail with the wines and menu, but then this blog would have run on for pages. I should have asked if I could have kept a copy of the menu, but that would have seemed a bit to un-cool and touristy. Not like taking the pictures didn't. But I wasn't the only one taking pictures, just the only one taking them of the wine bottles and the food.

Chanterelle on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Visit From Jim

The Mysterious Chinese Woman invited a friend of hers to stop by for lunch after they had been to the Brooklyn Botanical Guardian making Christmas centerpieces. They both do volunteer work there, usually conducting tours for school-groups. Today was just a fun day. But I was on the hook for making lunch. I did a meatloaf using a recipe from Good Eats, fried potatoes tossed with lemon and rosemary, and boiled baby carrots (hey, everything can't be spectacular). My brother-in-law Jim must have sensed something because he showed up just as the meatloaf came out.

My Half-Eaten Meatloaf's Good Side

After lunch my wife and her friend wanted to watch some movie she got from Netflix that I had already seen so Jim and I decided to go out for a beer. He had never been to Downtown Bar & Grill so I took him there. They still had all of the beers from their beer tasting available so I had the Midas Touch again. Then we noticed a set of new glasses in wooden stands, kind of like a mini yard of ale. They were promotional glasses for Kwak.

Kwak Tap

The full name of this beer is Pauwel Kwak and it is brewed by Brouwerij Bosteels in Belgium. It is a Belgium Strong Ale and weighs in at 8% alcohol. The color is a nice golden orange with a good sized head. Has a spicy nose and the taste is spicy as well. Jim thought it was quite hoppy but I didn't really notice that taste coming through.

Kwak In Its Glass And Stand

Of course there is a story behind this glass and it is similar to the story behind the yards of ale. Pauwel Kwak was a brewery and the owner of an inn back when Napoleon was still kicking around. The name of the inn was De Hoorn and it was a stop for mail coaches. The coachmen were not allowed to leave their coach and horses unattended so Mr. Kwak had special glasses blown that could be hung on the side of the coach. Well, we didn't have to worry about our coach and horses as we hoisted our Kwaks.

Jim And Barman Hoisting Our Kwaks

Now the one bad thing about these glasses is that you can only put them back into their stands. The round bottom doesn't allow you to set them down on the bar. I can imagine that after tossing back a few that is a mistake that will be made and mishaps will occur. At least they don't make you put down a huge deposit to use these glasses. Last time I was in Jekyl and Hyde's they made you put down a $50 deposit for the privilege of ordering a quite expensive yard of ale. Really not worth it, in my opinion.

Oh, the story about the yards of ale was that they were designed so that the ale could be handed up to the coachman without him needing to leave his perch.

Bottom Of The Stand

All in all it was a nice afternoon. The beer wasn't bad and had a funny name and a cool glass. It doesn't take much to amuse me. We stopped at the nearby Cody's for a beer and then popped into Queen where I had a couple of excellent Manhattan's made with Wild Turkey and Jim, who was still hungry after eating half of my meatloaf had a beer and a couple of grilled octopus tentacles. I should have taken a picture but, for some reason, forgot. Next time.