This weekend we spent a day in Sebastopol, a lovely Sonoma County town that specializes in apples and antiques. The day culminated in an early dinner at the two-month old Restaurant Eloise. The chefs, Ginevra Iverson and her husband Eric Korsh were recently at Prune in New York, relocated to California to open their own place. They began by planting a garden to supply their new restaurant. We had rutabaga and grapes from the garden and those two things were delicious. The meal wasn’t quite perfect, partly due to a mistep in ordering on our part, and partly due to poor service. Service is not something my husband and I complain or care about, we are generally happy to be ignored. The exception is when it interferes with the flow of the wine and food. Twice we found ourselves waiting while our food sat there trying to flag down someone to order another glass (the second time my husband went straight to the bar, which caught our waiter’s attention). It turns out that it was the first truly busy night they’d had — it was packed to the gills — and our server apologized by comping us a couple glasses of wine. We started with a trio of housemade charcuterie — trotter torchon, head cheese, and veal tongue — and the head cheese was the stand out dish of the three. We ordered this off the bar menu, and it didn’t translate well to the dining room for various reasons. In retrospect I wish we ordered the roasted bone marrow and parsley salad off of the dining room menu instead, which is the one menu item the chefs brought with them from New York. The wine, 2006 Kuentz-Bas Pinot Blanc, was a great match for the mix of rich meat, not interjecting too much personality of its own, yet full and round enough to match the range of flavors and acidic enough to meet the pickled onions (which accompanied the veal tongue) head to head. My rabbit papardelle was delish, and my husband’s lamb chops (accompanied by the rutabaga and grapes) were wonderful. But what was truly delicious and wonderful was the 2005 Domaine Olek-Mery Chinon “Cuvée les Tireaux”! I can’t express how excited I got about this wine! Often one settles into a contentedness with wine, which is a happy place to be. This Chinon re-ignited a spark in me, moving me out of contentedness and back into love! I’m actually having trouble describing the wine while still doing it justice. Let’s just say it was refreshing and earthy and everything I wanted it to be. And with a little time to work out the kinks, I’m sure Restaurant Eloise will warrant the same description.

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