How times have changed, I was being feted for Father’s Day along with one of our sons at a downtown celebrity restaurant, namely Michael Symon’s Roast in the renovated Book Cadillac Hotel. In the old days, dinner downtown was a special evening and one dressed for the occasion, alas this restaurant has been adopted by the today’s “hipsters” and I was like a fish out of water. Now I am used to being a little out of place, because of my attire, but I was in a hand made Italian suit and the other diners looked as if they had just worked in the yard and came out for a quick bite of dinner at a local diner. Even the men that were of my generation looked like they were going through a “mid-life crisis;” I mean what ever happened to age appropriate attire? I think the restaurant appreciated my attire as we were seated at the first large booth as one entered the dining area. I guess my concept of fine dining has missed this new generation.
Michael Symon as I mentioned is one of those celebrity chefs that now have their name emblazoned above the name of the restaurant, and I guess this is because of television. He is known for his “carnivore” dinners and has even a book with that title on it. The restaurant is even known for having a special entrée each night called “The Beast,” which we all passed on, as the beast was goat, and none of us felt that adventurous, especially me, since I do not even remotely like goat cheese. Our server informed us that we should order our selections early, as the cooking time, especially for the steaks could run up to fifty minutes or so, so we planned accordingly. We started off with two orders of Beef Cheek Pierogies with Horseradish and Mushrooms. This was a delicious appetizer, but not made like a classic pierogie, but more of a fine pie crust type of wrapper and only a kiss of Horseradish. Our one son and his wife then had a Roasted Tomato Soup that was dairy free and based on a chicken broth, which they both enjoyed. My Bride and I had the Bitter Green salad with Hungarian Peppers, oven dried tomatoes, Gran Padano and a Parmesan Garlic dressing; my Bride was not thrilled with the dish, but since I am not a salad fan, I found the dish interesting, for its lack of lettuce. Our Daughter-in-Law had as an entrée a dish of Tagliatelle with Lobster, English Peas, Mustard Seed and Crème Fraiche. Our Son and my Bride decided to go with a classic meat dish of a dry aged Porterhouse for two, which was thirty-two ounces with Confit Potatoes and Caramelized Onions; this steak was prepared perfectly with the filet being one degree less cooked than the strip side. As for myself, I had an internal debate going as to whether I would have Short Ribs, but I decided to go with a Savory Duck Breast Confit, as opposed to the one that they were offering with stone fruit; it is one dish that we do not make at home. We also had three over ample sides of Smashed Fingerling Potatoes with Garlic, Brussels sprouts and Walnuts and Wild Mushrooms. For dessert there were two orders of “Baby Elvis” which was peanut butter and banana custard and chocolate peanut butter chunk, my Bride had Mango Sorbet while I declined a dessert.
We started off with some cocktails; in fact my Bride enjoyed a “William T God” so much that she had a second. Since only my Bride and I were going to enjoy some wine that evening, those of you who kind of know me by now, have already figured out what type of wine I was going to order. We had a bottle of Domaine Francois Buffet Volnay 1’er Cru Champans 2011. Domaine Francois Buffet really shines in Volnay as they own twenty acres there with fifteen different appellations. Volnay is known for its elegance, delicacy and finesse, as opposed to a heavy Red Burgundy wine, and the Pinot Noir achieves a perfect balance there. Of the many Premier Crus in Volnay, Champans is second only to Santenots in terms of popularity and fame. While everyone was enjoying dessert, I opted to have a dessert wine. I had a glass of Noval Ten Year Old Tawny Porto from Quinta do Noval, a note Port producer since 1715. An aged Tawny has to have at least six years to be considered aged, and the unique aspect about Port wines is that the actual varietals used are a completer mystery even to the wineries, as the vines tend to intermingle over the years. There are about eighty sanctioned varietals for Red Port, and the most common are: Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cao, Sousana, Tinta Amarela and Mourisco Tinto. All in all it was a fine evening.