C recently asked me if I was interested in a Vine and Dine event at Bistro Rouge. I’m not much of a drinker and don’t have much knowledge of wine, but as I have been to the restaurant Rouge before and had a great experience, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I did tell her that if I have trouble finishing the wine, then I will give them to her. She grinned from ear to ear at my proposition. The format of the dinner is a 6 course meal, plus 6 x 2 oz (last course was 1 oz b/c it was a stronger wine) of wine pairings. This is to ensure that no one gets drunk enough to drive home, but still have enough to taste before and after each dish. Since I’m no wine expert, I won’t be reviewing on the wine but I will list which one was paired with each dish.
Here’s what we tried tonight:
Soft, chewy baguette served with butter. I didn’t ask if this was baked in house but I’m assuming it is.
Course 1 – Mushroom and Garlic Veloute
Wine Pairing – Zinck Pinot Blanc (France)
The veloute was buttery, smooth and creamy with great mushroom flavors. What’s interesting about the veloute here at Bistro Rouge is in order to cater to the gluten-free diners, they use cornstarch as opposed to flour. They have just a base veloute and then you can choose whatever ingredients they have to create the veloute of your choice. I find that a very neat concept and a splendid idea.
Course 2 – Tender Beets with Apple, Dill and Creme Fraiche
Wine Pairing – Wine by Jose Rose (USA)
I love beets – I love eating them but hate peeling them (and get my hands bright pink!) so I don’t cook them very much. The beets here were soft, tender and very sweet. I couldn’t tell what the salad dressing was b/c there wasn’t much of it, but the fresh dill added a bit of a sharp, tangy taste overall. The flower garnishes brightened the entire dish with that extra dash of color.
Course 3 – Risotto with Mushrooms, Butternut Squash and Parmigiano Reggiano
Wine Pairing – Esser Cellars Pinor Noir (USA)
This was one of the BEST risotto I have ever tasted. It was perfectly cooked to al dente, and the mixture was ultra creamy, cheese and seasoned perfectly. I love the cubes of butternut squash – they had a slight bite to it and provided a perfect contract to the soft risotto. The mushrooms were also cooked perfectly and had a sweetness to them. Overall it was a very hearty dish, and this is the reason for me to return to Bistro Rouge.
Course 4 – Rosti ‘Poutine Gateau’ with Bacon
Wine Pairing – Alexandre Sirech “Les Deux Terriors” (France)
This was the only disappointment for the night. The idea was great, but the execution wasn’t spot on. The potato rosti was definitely overcooked – our entire table agreed that it had a slight burnt taste to it. However, there were a few parts that turned soft from the gravy and cheese and overall the taste was really good. The bacon was a nice, thick slice and was charred nicely.
Course 5 – Roasted Pork Loin with Scallop Potato, Roasted Garlic and Blue Cheese Crumble
Wine Pairing – Bodegas Atalaya Garnacha Monastrell (Spain)
Another favorite dish. The pork loin was tender, moist and flavored well. The scallop potatoes… I could not stop talking about it for the next few days b/c it was THAT good. Perfectly cooked potato slices, a good mixture (probably tons!) of butter and cream and the best garlic sauce… my gosh. This was just perfect! I was actually decently full at this point so I packed most of it for lunch the next day b/c I still had to try dessert!
Course 6 – Salted Caramel Sticky Bread Pudding
Wine Pairing – Alvear Pedro Ximinez Solera 1927 (Spain)
Bread pudding is not my first choice of dessert, but the one here is absolutely divine. Fresh bread is use, and the caramel sauce was sweet enough without being overpowering. I love the crunchy bits of sponge toffee – I wish there was more!
At the cost of $74.50 + GST (gratuity is included), this was really great value for all the food and wine we got. As well, we got to meet and chat with some fellow foodies and had an enjoyable night! I also learned a bit about wine pairings such as, you never pair white wine with red beets, and how things such as food and temperature can change the taste of wine drastically. I’m so glad I participated in this dinner and can’t wait for more vine and dine events!!