Austrian Wine Dinner a delicious success!

Hope you enjoy this new video of our latest wine dinner last Wednesday, featuring wines from Austria and Germany paired with a menu of classic Austrian dishes.

The Tenant has once again popped in here to provide a review of the latest, and you may not be surprised to hear that I felt it was delightful! Here are the details.

The dinner kicked off in fine form with a first course of House-Smoked Pork Tenderloin accompanied by an Apple Galette with Ginger-Cream Sauce. I don’t know how to describe how delicious this was. The pork was smoked to perfection and the ginger-cream sauce was the ideal addition. But the real revelation was the tender and flaky apple galette, which included sweet caramelized onions and crispy bacon pieces; it was sheer heaven! The Lois Grüner Veltliner 2008 served with this course went very well with this symphony of flavors without overpowering it.

From there, the meal continued with one of the favorite ethnic dishes of this and many other parts of America, schnitzel. But what a schnitzel! So tender and so gently breaded, and topped with a delicate Meyer lemon sauce combining just the right amounts of sweetness and tartness. Each was topped with a fried quail egg and a stripe of anchovy for a little extra savory bite. All of it lay atop a bed of exquisite redskin mashed potatoes. Very satisfying, especially paired with with a 2007 Heinrich Red that was a mixture of 50% Zweigelt, 30% Blaufran-Kisch and 15% St. Laurent. This combination made for wine that, despite its heady bouquet, was not as heavy as I tend to expect reds to be. It seemed to have a more flowery, light taste than the average red — not so much a “red meat” wine as a wine that would go with many different kinds of dishes, and was a good match for the schnitzel.

The always-welcome third salad course, this time of ruby red grapefruit, avocado and arugula dressed in a white wine vinaigrette, was a wonderful and refreshing palate cleanser. I especially love avocados, so this was a winner for me. The wine was a Zweigelt Classic Gelt 2008, and complemented the fresh, crisp flavors of the salad.

The fourth course, Wild Forest Mushroom Ragu with Asparagus and Pappardelle Pasta, was like the exact opposite of the salad course: dense, woody, peppery, in a rich and flavorful brown sauce. It was somewhat similar to Chef Todd’s ragu with spinach, and the Blaufrankisch Classic Frank 2008 was a successful match here, with enough body and dense fruitiness to not be overpowered by the richness of the dish.

In course five, the exact right things came along at the exact right time. The Juniper Berry House-Smoked Trout — yet another great product of the Bistro 185 smoker — had just the perfect pungent, savory flavor for this point of the meal. It was unlike anything else and positively delicious in its contrast. Speaking of contrast, it coexisted on the plate with a polenta cake whose texture and flavor was also perfect for the dish, as was its savory mustard sauce. The wine here was a switch from the original plan; the Heinz Eiffel Kabinette 2009, originally planned for the dessert course, was served with this one instead, and it was a wise choice. The German Riesling was just fruity enough to complement the dish without being too dessert-y sweet.

Finally, the dessert course featured two classic Austrian tortes: the Sacher, layers of chocolate sponge cake sandwiched together with apricot preserves and topped with dark chocolate ganache, and the Linzer, a tart of latticed almond pastry and raspberry jam. The two examples baked up by Bistro 185 were purely delicious. The wine that accompanied them, Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese 2007, was a really enjoyable, crisp, fruity Riesling perfect for dessert but also, like so many of the lighter wines at these dinners, something I’d be happy to drink on its own.

It was a pleasure to spend this dinner with the wine lovers of Bistro 185 and Greg Webster of Wine Trends, who provided the selections for the evening. If it sounded good to you, but you missed this particular dinner, don’t miss the next one, which is now planned for Thursday, May 27 (courses and wines to be announced). If you’re interested in wine tastings but would prefer to keep your emphasis on the wine, or would appreciate a less expensive way of trying new wines, sign up for one of the Bistro’s $10 “Light Tastings,” which feature hors d’oeuvres instead of a sit-down dinner, scheduled for next Monday, May 10, and Monday, May 24. Call 216.481.9635 and prepare for a wonderful wine-filled evening!

Menu for our Austrian Wine Dinner April 28

The menu for our Austrian Wine Dinner is ready. Prepare for a one-night-only European vacation like no other!

First Course

House Smoked Pork Tenderloin

Apple Gallette

Wine Pairing: Lois Gruner Veltliner 2007

Second Course

Austrian Schnitzel with Quail Egg and Anchovy

Meyer Lemon Sauce

Redskin Potato Mash

Wine Pairing: Red 2007 (50% Zweigelt, 35% Blaufran-Kisch, 15% St. Laurent)

Third Course

Ruby Red Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

White Wine Vinaigrette

Wine Pairing: Zweigelt Classic “Gelt” 2008

Fourth Course

Wild Forest Mushroom Ragu with Pappardelle Pasta

Wine Pairing: Blaufrankisch Classic “Frank” 2008

Fifth Course

Juniper Berry House-Smoked Trout with Mustard Sauce and Polenta Cake

Wine Pairing: Heinz Eiffel Spatlese 2009

Sixth Course: Dessert

Linzer Torte

Sacher Torte

Wine Pairing: Heinz Eiffel Kabinette 2009

Cost of our Austrian Wine Dinner is $60 per person, tax and gratuity additional. To join us for this fabulous meal, make your reservation at 216.481.9635 today!

Behind the Dish: Le Plaisir’s Truffled Pasta

Here’s all you really need to know about tonight’s James Beard dish: it’s pappardelle pasta with truffle paté, truffle oil, Madeira or Marsala, and a touch of cream — to which we are adding four lovely shrimp. Simple, and yet rich, creamy and special. Order it and start your weekend off right!

Behind the Dish: Viennese Goulash with Pappardelle Pasta

Tonight, the Bistro takes on an Austrian variation on a Hungarian dish. How? Well, James Beard’s Viennese Goulash includes the essential ingredient that makes Hungarian goulash Hungarian goulash — namely, Hungarian paprika, which is more flavorful than other kinds. But it also includes a twist by way of Vienna: a paste of crushed caraway seeds, garlic and lemon zest added at the end of the cooking time.

It starts with sautéeing onions in butter and oil, mixing in the paprika and white wine or cider vinegar, then browning the beef cubes in the mixture. After all the cubes are browned (a few at a time), the mix is seasoned with salt and pepper, and thyme and tomato puree are added and simmered down. Flour then gets sprinkled onto the beef, beef broth is added and there’s more simmering. The caraway-garlic-lemon zest paste is stirred in when the beef is thoroughly cooked, for 10 minutes or so.

The resulting goulash sits on a bed of pappardelle pasta like many a good goulash, waiting for you to experience the fresh and spicy flavor lent to it by the last-minute Viennese touch.

Behind the Dish: Filet of Sole with Scallops Mornay

There’s a lot going on at the Bistro today! Here’s the scoop on the James Beard dish of the evening, Filet of Sole with Scallops Mornay. Beard’s recipe calls for poaching filet of sole and scallops in white wine, removing the seafood and reducing the liquid, then adding it to a Mornay sauce, which is a white, or béchamel, sauce with cheese added. His original recipe serves the sauced sole and scallops with a sprinkling of paprika over toast points; we’re adding the paprika but serving it over pappardelle pasta instead.

Whether you’re joining us for James Beard or our Spanish Regional Wine Dinner, we hope to see you tonight!

James Beard Project: Week 3

Here is the menu of nightly specials for the James Beard Project, Week 3:

Monday, Nov, 16 — Linguine with Tomato Shrimp Sauce (Beard on Pasta, p. 98)

Tuesday, Nov. 17 — Filet of Sole with Scallops Mornay (James Beard’s Fish Cookery, p. 201)

Wednesday, Nov. 18 — Chicken Kiev (James Beard’s Theory and Practice of Good Cooking, p. 203)

Thursday, Nov. 19 — Sautéed Calves’ Liver with Shallots and Madeira (The New James Beard, p. 451)

Friday, Nov. 20 — Viennese Goulash with Pappardelle Pasta (James Beard’s Theory and Practice of Good Cooking, p. 141)

Saturday, Nov. 21 — Braised Lamb Shanks with Tomatoes and Sausage (The New James Beard, p. 414-415)

Also — watch for a surprise James Beard dessert!

Behind the Dish: Salmon Provençal

What makes James Beard’s Salmon Provençal so Provençal? Well, the cooking of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France is distinctive in that it is heavily influenced by Mediterranean cooking. That means hot spices and seafood play a large role and, because the region is mountainous rather than farm country, dairy products figure in only a small fashion (such as in the use of goat cheeses). What you will find in Provençal cuisine is an emphasis on garlic, olive oil and olives, and the herbes de Provence, including savory, fennel, basil, thyme and lavender.

James Beard’s Salmon Provençal uses several elements of this cuisine — salmon (the seafood), olive oil and garlic — and we’ve added another — basil. Otherwise, our recipe is quite similar to his. It involves preparation of a rich sauce created by sautéeing onions and garlic in olive oil, then making a roux with butter and flour and adding white wine, parsley and basil. To this chopped tomatoes are added and stewed until the sauce becomes thick and full of flavor — a perfect complement for the baked salmon fillets.

We’re serving our salmon with a vegetable accompaniment of zucchini, yellow squash and spinach, on a bed of pappardelle pasta.