Everyone is telling me that “sixty is the new forty” and that is fine, but I don’t feel any different. My hairline may have receded and as I like to say about my waist “that my horizons have expanded,” but that has been gradual; just like this latest birthday. My Bride asked where I would like to have dinner, and I responded that I would like to try Marais, a fairly new restaurant in Grosse Pointe, but almost over night it became “THE” restaurant, in fact one of the glossy magazines named it “Restaurant of the Year” almost after they opened the doors. It is one of the magical restaurants that have Continental Service and flaunt their French Cuisine; yes I knew that I wanted to dine there, I was just waiting for the dust to settle, if any, before going there, as we do not need to be Mr. and Mrs. First Nighter.
The restaurant is on the other side of town from where we live, and of course we were caught in two traffic tie-ups and we called to let them know that we might be late, actually only a few minutes, so I did not consider any of it a bad omen or a harbinger of things to expect for the evening. As we were driving out there, we discussed options for the dinner, but I knew that I wanted to experience the Chef’s Tasting or as the menu read “Menu Degustacion.” The dinner experience was such, that please beg my indulgence and I am going to cover the evening in three parts, as I think that there is a lot to cover; even though as I look back I did The French Laundry and Daniel in one article, but I was new to Blogging at the time, now I can be more leisurely. In fact, right after being seated, the Maitre’de came over, and we knew him from other restaurants and we took some time to get reacquainted and he gave us a brief history of the restaurant as well.
Almost immediately after we had been seated and talked with the Maitre’ D, a beautiful wooden table was rolled over to us, and upon this table was a huge sterling silver bowl with an assortment of four different sparkling wines on ice, and if we would like to start our experience with a glass. Of course we chose two different types to try, more about them later. Our first course was the Amuse Bouchet, which was an egg that was open on the top and resting on a stainless steel cylindrical egg cup. The egg was layered with an egg custard, maple syrup, Jerez sherry vinegar, Crème Fraiche and chive. Our waiter made the suggestion that we used our spoon and attempt to get down to the bottom layer and have the spoon encompass a taste of each layer. For such a small egg, it took about three spoonfuls to finish it, because it was just too tasty to leave. This was followed up by a plate with a Tiger Prawn, accompanied with the shell. The prawn was prepared in Kataifi, a version of Phyllo dough that looks like “shredded wheat” and it was served with an Orange Jasmine Sauce. After these two courses, I was already pleased with how the dinner was going.
Now back to the wines that we had with these two courses. We chose two different sparkling wines to start off our dinner and we kept sampling each other’s glasses. The first that I will discuss is Zinck Cremant D’Alsace Brut Rose NV. This “Methode Traditionelle” wine is made from the Pinot Noir, and the Rose is from having the skins stay with the juice after the maceration process for a time to get some color. This is a classic wine from the Alsace region of France, and one can find a white version of this wine as well that is made from the Pinot Noir and the Pinot Blanc varietals. The other wine that we tried was Domaine D’Orfeuilles Vouvray Demi-Sec NV that hails from the Loire. This wine is made from the varietal that is famed for the region the Chenin Blanc, which is locally referred to as Pineau de la Loire. Chenin Blanc shines in the Loire, and is known to be a long lived white wine there, due to it natural acidity, in fact it can be overpowering in its youth and mellows with age and is known for a “nutty” taste. Both of these wines showed a steady stream of small bubbles, until the glasses were emptied and they were very enjoyable with the first two courses that we had. Need I say, more to come, about the evening and the rest of the meal.