Thursday, February 21, 2013

Alsatian dinner at New Rivers

It's been nearly two months since we've eaten at New Rivers; and in fact, our last outing there was for New Year's Eve, a dinner that the four of us had somewhat mixed feelings about, if you must know.

That aside, we were looking forward to a return engagement and when I discovered on Tuesday last, quite by accident, that they were hosting an Alsatian dinner the next day, we had to snap up that opportunity.

 The party kicked off at 6:30 in the upstairs private dining room. We had no sooner gotten our coats off than we were handed a glass of tasty Cremant d'Alsace. (A "cremant" being any non-Champagne sparkling wine made in the Champagne style, so we were told.) It was a lively and friendly group of about 17 people seated around a u-shaped table. The wines for the evening were all white Alsatian (naturally) from Gerard Metz and presented by the wine rep, Steve Wynn of The Wine Bros. One fascinating aspect of the dinner was that such robust food was very nicely paired with white wines.

For starters, matched with a gewurztraminer 2010 (quite dry):

bouchee a la suppepaschete, puff pastry cups with pork, vegetables and cream

bibeleskas, fresh ripened cheese with bacon, potatoes, herbs on toast
Next up, with a pinot blanc 2011 (nearly everyone was amazed at what an incredible wine this was):

flammekueche, thin rich "pizza", topped with bacon, onions and cream

presskopf & spaetzle, crispy lamb shoulder rillettes and spaetzle
For the "entre," and matched with a delicious riesling (lots of residual sugar but very dry nonetheless):

charcroute garni, saurkraut with sausages, smoked pork, potatoes, onions and mustards
For the dessert course, kougelhopf paired with a late-harvest gewurztraminer done in a dry style:

Every now and then Beau Vestal, chef-owner, would drop by and chat about the food. And speaking of the food, it was well-presented, scrumptious and, with the exception of the dessert course, superb. (We thought it odd to offer a traditional breakfast bread for a dessert course, but then the wine served with it  was a bit on the odd side as well, far too dry for a "dessert" wine, in my humble opinion.)

The company was congenial, and, as I said lively. It was a most pleasing couple of hours sharing experiences and ideas about such wonderful food and wines.

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