Taking a class with Alie Shaper, the owner and winemaker at Brooklyn Oenology, offers a rare experience in the wine world. Not only is Shaper incredibly easy to talk to and an excellent teacher, but her classes are interesting and unusual.
“I want people to ask questions and learn,” Shaper said. “There’s no reason to feel intimidated.” Continue reading →
After dark it turns discreetly into a pleasant wine bar.
Recently, the lure of both a new menu and a Saturday night Lambrusco Special gave me cause for a visit.
The deal: Buy two glasses of Lambrusco, get one free.
Accompanied by a writer friend, we were struck by the romantic atmosphere immediately upon stepping through the door. Low lighting, candles, exposed wood and bookshelves, like WORD with a speakeasy in the basement.
It’s not the best atmosphere for a platonic business discussion, but on vibe alone it’s instantly a great date spot.
At a recent Yummy Eats Dim Sum dinner with wine pairings by Wine By Design NYC, the food was the real super star. The food paparazzi were in full force and when Chef Joseph Yoon brought out each gorgeously plated dish, anxious hands held back until every iphone in the room recorded the food glory. That is what you get when you have an underground supper club filled with foodies and food bloggers. Food photo frenzy!
The food didn’t only look great but it tasted exquisite. And Lauren Johnson, our genius sommelier perfectly paired wine with each dish.
Don’t tell, but we drank 25 gallons of wine! And I actually learned a few thing. Normally I just gulp gulp gulp, but Lauren is a not-preachy-so-I-actually-listen teacher and gives great insight. She loves wine and it shows.
Like the first pouring, a Cava, which is comparable to Champagne, but has bigger bubbles (interesting!) has been drunk by the Spanish Royal family for generations. And “drunk” is a non-standard usage, but correct past participle of the verb to drink.
The cava was perfect with the first dish, the dish why I was there, my favorite dish ever: Tuna Tartare on Wonton Crisps. The fish was so fresh, so flavorful, with great texture and it wasn’t overly seasoned with ginger or soy sauce. The soft raw tuna on the crispy wonton was the perfect texture mix-up for my mouth. And it kept coming and I kept eating it!
Why did Joseph Yoon, Dim Sum Super Star, get into cooking? For the ladies of course. He had me at Tuna Tartare.
Next we had deep “double” fried Crispy Scallion Pancakes, executed perfectly with a ginger oil that Joseph prepares a few hours in advance with fresh grated ginger in canola oil.
The next pouring was a naturally effervescent Portuguese Vino Verde, which to me tasted earthy and fresh like a wine salad, and when you hold it up to a piece of white paper it has a gorgeous green hue. The dishes we paired them with were really fun, too.
Someone kept asking, “Does this have fish in it?” More for me, but did you read the menu?
Time for the most spectacular looking dish: Tempura Anchovy w/Wasabi-Sriracha Sauce. If you are scared of eating entire little fish bodies, fry them (or let Joseph do it) because anything fried is delicious. They were so flakey, not oily and not too salty.
Next was Lobster & Pancetta Wontons. I know your brain can’t handle this, but just hold on. They were everything you could ask from a wonton, crunchy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside, but oozing with creamy lobster and bacon!
The third pairing was a Pinot Noir. Such a great go-to wine, silky and smooth.
In my family, the only time there is complete silence is when we have a stunningly delicious dish in front of us and our mouths are too full to actually speak. I had a similar moment with Skirt Steak-Steamed Spinach & Quail Egg Wonton. Ooey gooey mini egg goodness and falling off the bone meat in a crunchy shell, but not for long because these were one biters for me. For once I couldn’t speak.
Braised Beef Short Rib Steam Buns time! The buns are so interesting to me, because they are so light, and combined with fresh greens it’s paradoxically like eating a salad sandwich with a lot of moist perfectly seasoned juicy beef. Best buns I have ever had.
Get this: Korean Pear w/Five-Spice Pork. I have to say this is my first dessert-time meat and I was really into it.
It went with the last pairing was with a “Grand Terroir” which when compared to the Pinot Noir in terms of colors was so light and bright. The wine was in a screwtop and Lauren explained: “This wine is meant to be drunk young!” which was followed by a heated discussion on screwtops vs. corks. With a wine not meant to be aged screwtops are the way to go.
For the kicker, we ended the evening with Maple Ice Cream w/Chocolate Bacon followed by a Late Bottle Vintage Port, which is made from grapes literally rotting (with fungus) off the vine, so you get a deep and rich almost raisin taste.
Thanks Yummy Eats and Wine By Design for a truly memorable (despite the gallons of wine in my brain) meal.