DINNER 189: Saturday, July 8, 2006

Sturkey's RestaurantWe had a fun evening out with our friends Bob & Sharon tonight. When we ran into Paul Sturkey at the Iron Horse Inn‘s most recent wine dinner, he invited us out to his restaurant, Sturkey’s, for a tasting menu. We took the restaurant up on the offer this evening, and had a really nice time.

Adam Mitchel, Sous Chef; Brian DeMarke, Manager/Sommelier; Bryant Phillips, Wine Director/Service Manager; and Jennie, our server, all took great care of us as we worked our way through a contemporary five-course tasting menu with paired wines. A very nice touch was the personalized menus at our place settings.

Amuse Bouche
Dutch Blue Cheese on a small Crostini with a slice of red grape.

A tiny round of toast with a tiny dollop of very-flavorful cheese set the tone for the meal — big, bold flavors in small packages.

First Course
Potato “Lasagna” — potato chips, olive oil tomato marmalade, and sorrel
Pieropan Soave Classico, 2004, Italy

An ‘architectural’ presentation, it was a stacked potato chip, marmalade, sorrel, and cheese repeated in three layers. It was lovely to behold, and held up nicely when cut, unlike so many architectural dishes that completely fall apart when touched with cutlery. The flavors were good and combined nicely. I especially liked the marmalade, and the sorrel added a nice citrusy note.

Second Course
Foie Gras, Sherry Marinated Grapes, Raison Pesto, Blood Orange Paint
Styring Vineyards “Six Cluster” Late Harvest Pinot Noir, 2003, Willamette Valley

The foie gras presentation was, to quote Wendy, “very vertical” — long rectangular plates presented with the short side nearest us. The blood orange reduction was painted in a stripe down the length of the plate. The pesto (which was extraordinarily tasty) mounded at the near side of the plate, a few grapes laid about, and the seared foie gras atop. Bob & Sharon had never tasted foie gras before, and were suitably impressed with this modern presentation matched with a classical preparation.

We felt that this wine was one of the outstanding pairings this evening.

Third Course
Shrimp & Scallops — shrimp rillettes, roasted tomatoes, tasso pillows
La Spinetta Vigneto Gallina Barbera D’Alba, 2001, Piedmonte

Two perfectly seared diver scallops perched atop shrimp rillettes and roasted tomatoes. The tasso ‘pillow’ (ravioli) was a spicy counterpoint to the mellow sweetness of the scallop. Everything tasted very fresh, and the plate was colorful and attractive.

Fouth Course

Veal Filet — sorrel leek fondue, parmesan cream
Ramirez de la Piscina Gran Reserva Rioja, 1996, Spain

A round plate with a large pool of sorrel & leek fondue, then a smaller pool of parmesan cream in the middle of that, with a small piece of roasted veal filet in the center. The two sauces were excellent, with the intensely flavorful parmesan cream as my favorite. The veal was perfectly cooked and tender. Another excellent pairing with this course.

Fifth Course

Contemporary Carrot Cake — cream cheese mousse, “rasnilla” ice cream, caramel paint
Elk Grove “Ultima” Riesling, 2003, Willamette Valley

The last plate was a ‘deconstructed’ carrot cake. It was a mound of cream cheese mousse on top of the stripe of caramel that coated the plate, topped with a piece of firm, moist carrot cake and julienned carrots. The ‘rasnilla’ (raspberry/vanilla) ice cream sat alongside. It was a tasty way to end the meal, and we felt that the wine paired nicely here as well.
We ended the evening with an aparatif of a very nice Moscato D’Asti before bidding everyone at the restaurant farewell.

During the meal, the four of us had discussed Graeter’s ice cream, so we decided to head there so Bob & Sharon could sample Wendy’s favorite, the Golden Bear (which we found out is called a Persian Nut in this area (order it without the nuts to make it just like a Golden Bear)). It was a pleasant and sweet end to the evening.

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