Friday, December 08, 2006

Peterson's: A Meal to Remember

Well, when I say "remember" it's relative related to how much wine we drank. Suffice to say, last night, the never ending round of holiday celebration continued at Peterson's, the venerable north side eatery helmed by Chef Karl Benko. It was, quite simply, a spectacular night with the incredible meal starring in the show.

Our party of five started out in the cozy wood bar with Moet Rose, then moved on to black bubbles. I'd tried a few sparkling shiraz wines over the summer and found them a bit heavy, but on a cold winter holiday evening, the fruit and sparkle with the heaviness of the red was just perfect. By the time we were seated, we found more bubbles waiting for us -- this time a Spanish cava. And what came with the cava? An amuse boche platter including duck confit streudel, a tuna tartare tangy with lemon and huge chunks of hamachi, and my favorite -- foie gras, this time cured (for only a few hours), braised (chef's words), and served over a vanilla sorbet with cocoa nibs. Not only was the hot and cold together amazing, but the wonderful flavor the of the foie (as one friend put it, the "funk") popped with the sweet of the ice cream and the wine. The cocoa nibs added an additional dark component and some crunch, perfect with the foie and sorbet both. Amazing.

For our next course, we shared the menu tartare (a different style), the portabello "fries" breaded in panko with a horseradish mayo (so meaty and good!), and a lobster tart with goat cheese and leeks. Wow. All so fantastic.

At this point, we started on an Oregon Pinot Noir from a vineyard owned by a friend of Chef Karl's. It had been open and decanted for an hour. By the time we poured it, the wine was really starting to open up with florals and fruit. At this point, my memory starts to get fuzzy.

For dinner, we all shared plates of braised shortribs with a blue cheese polenta (one of my many favorite dishes!), a Macadamia crusted walleye, and a halibut with a lot of really yummy, um, sauces, and, uh, some vegetables. I think. We had ginger snow peas and also French horn mushrooms. (You have to love a place that has a "mushroom of the day.") We had more wine. A cab. I think. And then, um, we had dessert. Yes, dessert.

OK, I can focus for dessert. Among the honey dome cheesecake and the flourless chocolate torte three-way, there was my standout favorite -- the Chambord sorbet. Again using cocoa nibs and perfectly wonderful presentation on the desserts, it was a spectacular finish to the evening. And the best part? Chef Karl came out and sat with us to enjoy a glass of wine. We spent the rest of the evening talking, laughing, drinking, and enjoying wonderful friends and company in the holiday season. When one thinks about the joys of the season, one is spending it with great friends. Thanks again to Chef Karl for the fantastic evening -- and to my friends, I say "Cheers" and "Happy Holidays"! What a night!


Anonymous said...

BrainGirl: Do you know where Matt, the best bartender in the world, has landed since the Keystone Grill went Sur la frontera. I heard a rumor he went to Eddie Merlot's but they denied having any bartender named Matt at their establishment. Thanks.

Jeff Lefevere said...

braingirl, I see your post is at 6:30 am. Is that 6:30 am after a long night basking in the glow of an excellent dinner, or is that after a good nights rest? Please invite me along next time! Sounded awesome!


braingirl said...

Actually, I usually change the time for posting, but I think it's 6:30 a.m. Pac time. So, it's really 9:30 a.m.. And judging by the number of typos in the first draft which I fixed later, clearly 9:30 before coffee.