Firehouse Restaurant and Silver Oak Produce a Legendary Evening of Food and Wine
On Friday, October 28th, The Firehouse Restaurant hosted a wine dinner that spanned five decades of Silver Oak Cabernet and can only be described as illustrious. I will try to recount the evening to the best of my ability, though there really are no words for the magnificent epicurean journey to which guests of the event were treated.
Upon arrival, patrons were led to a private dining area with a giant fireplace and long, majestic dining table facing the courtyard. We were given a glass of 2017 Twomey Sauvignon Blanc to kick off the evening, as well as a passed crab cake appetizer.
The wine smelled of citrus and honeysuckle. Andy and I sat in front of the fireplace to enjoy our wine and ruminate about the magnitude and importance of this dinner’s occurrence, as other guests appeared.
The menu was led by Executive Chef Stephen Ashley and the wine was directed by Sommelier Daniel Hatch. It would be remiss to leave out Mr. Mario Ortiz, the former sommelier for The Firehouse, as it was under his command the bulk of the wine for the evening was purchased from Silver Oak Vineyards.
The wines and courses expressed in the order they were served are as follows (Please excuse the brevity in my notes, I was taking them very stream-of-consciousness and on my iPhone, while still trying to be present in the moment.)
STERLING IMPERIAL CAVIAR, BLINI, CRÈME FRAÎCHE, CHIVES
It’s always a treat to indulge in caviar, especially perched on a perfect blini with the perfect essence of griddle, as well as crispy on the outside and soft/springy in the middle.
2002 Silver Oak Napa Valley
Wow. Green bell pepper, very soft tannins. Incredible mouthfeel, like velvet. Almost better as a drink alone.
1986 Silver Oak Napa Valley
More acidic less tannin. More fruit and a little more earth on the nose.
SMOKED AND ESPRESSO-CRUSTED CERVENA VENISON LOIN, FRISÉE, BABY ARUGULA, DRIED CHERRIES, ASIAGO CHEESE, PICKLED RED ONIONS, EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
This was my favorite course of the evening. I happen to love carpaccio, and this version was one of the best I have ever enjoyed. The meat was perfectly seasoned and sliced and the flavor of the cherries, cheese and pickled onions were a symphony in the mouth. Sweet, salty, acidic, and juxtaposed texture. All the components I strive for in a balanced dish.
1986 Silver Oak Napa Valley
Super earthy on the nose. Incredible blend of fruit and relaxed tannins on the palate. Color was perfect, no defects. Just incredible to taste an exceptional wine that was made before I was born. It’s even better after some air!! Wow.
1995 Silver Oak Alexander Valley
It was so exciting to taste wine from the year I graduated high school. Balanced, acidic, dark, lots of oak. Perfect with the steak (fourth course). Good that they paired this year with the steak as it is still structured enough to do so. Later, upon pairing with the blue cheese on my potato (which I also dipped my bites of steak into), it was phenomenal!
CELERIAC PURÉE, SHAVED NANTES CARROTS, RE-HYDRATED CHERRIES, CHICKEN OF THE WOODS MUSHROOMS, PUFFED RICE, FIVE SPICE JUS
This dish was my least favorite, however, I will say that it was because the duck on my plate did not get rendered to my liking. Nonetheless, the flavors of this plate were still in incredible harmony and the celeriac purée was decadent.
FILET OF WHITE STURGEON
LOCAL SUNCHOKE PURÉE, WHITE DELTA ASPARAGUS, FORAGED MUSHROOMS, HERB POWDER
I do love a good sunchoke preparation, because I don’t see it on menus that often. The puree, the asparagus and the mushrooms painted an earthy backdrop for the generous portion of sturgeon mounted on top. The fish was seared and cooked perfectly and again, the textures and flavors of the third course were impeccable.
2018 Silver Oak Alexander Valley
Floral, soft and medium acidity. Grippy tannins, but expected in a younger wine. Terrific fruit and aging potential.
MISHIMA RESERVE AMERICAN WAGYU RIBEYE
ROGUE RIVER BLUE CHEESE TWICE-BAKED POTATO, OVEN-BRAISED FENNEL,
MARCHAND DE VIN
I was not expecting such a mammoth portion of steak for the final savory course, but leave it to the Firehouse kitchen staff to “tout donner” or in English, “give it all”! The steak was fatty and rich and the potato was wickedly capped in blue cheese. The fennel (my favorite element on the dish) had soaked up the red wine reduction so much it was like eating a fabulously candied licorice onion!
SWEET POTATO CRÈME BRÛLÉE
HOUSE-MADE TOASTED MARSHMALLOW,
SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE, SPICED PECANS
What a beautiful rendition of a timeless dessert, with a wonderful autumn motif. The house-made marshmallows completely made the presentation both impressive and lavish.
I want to express my gratitude to everyone involved in the production and execution of this wine dinner, including the entire staff of The Firehouse Restaurant. It was an occasion I will never forget.
A l’amour, à la vie, à la bonne chère et au bon vin !