Monday, January 25, 2010

#29 - Asian Beef Filet & '05 Yalumba Shiraz-Viognier +1

Easily one of the best meals we've had in months.

Months, I tell you!

Food: Asian-tinged beef filet with rice cakes, basil and mâche

Bright and beautiful beef filet from Paulina Meat Market (expensive but worth every bite) marinated in soy and sake on top of cut basil, Trader Joe's rice cakes and mâche with a ponzu and sake dressing while fresh ginger and ponzu on the side.

Meat of this quality is so damn rare. Rivals the dry-aged beef from Fox & Obel and is probably better. Wait...yep. It's better. It's real meat in the most glorious way. Not prime rib. Not New York Strip. Those simply evoke childhood memories of what quality steak should be. Bullocks!

THIS is real meat. Bright, yet deep. Beautiful sanguine quality yet a lifting finish. Wagyu may be gold but, for the price, I'd happily take this any day over it.

Mrs. Ney cooked it so wonderfully, only a picture in the right light would do it justice. I'm not taking pictures of our food because that's stupid.

Trader's Joes rice cakes claimed to be overdone and maybe they were but nothing detracted.

Mâche done with a sesame oil and ponzu dressing that proved again that I'm starting to really like wine with greens.

Wine: 2005 Yalumba Hand-Picked Shiraz-Viognier - $35 Binny's (?)

First bottle corked. Only the second time we've had a corked bottle (can't for the life of me remember the first one). Second bottle gorgeous.

This is one that might be a perfect wine in a couple of years but it's still drinking great right now. A teeny bit of oak makes me think that a little time will allow that to integrate in the most wonderful way.

But that might be a great thing about slightly young Shiraz. You can tell a bit of time would reward the wine but it's still absolutely fine to cork and pour. You'll still love it.

No decant. Might have helped.

Big dark cherry with some sort of wild berry (mulberry in the WS description - yes, probably) with a bit of graphite and a nice minerality throughout. Don't really drink Left Bank Bordeaux for the most part so that whole graphite thing mystifies me a bit but yes, a pencil-like note was present and quite delicious. Blended with the fruit and took it to a new, much more complex level.

Definitely creamy and an herbal sage-like background. Not overripe in fruit. Played like a well-crafted syrah with only a hint of big, obvious Australian-ness. Graphite and berry with cream and sage. Wonderful.

A pretty great wine and something we need to buy more of soon.

Pairing: Perfect by the most pure definition in our world

First, the wine played off everything. As a great food and wine pairing should, this one enhanced the food to a level nearly unprecedented.

I can't state this more emphatically. This was a truly spectacular meal. Mrs. Ney put it perfectly. The medium body of the wine really allowed the bright, medium weight of the filets to play off each other. It was as if all the formal introductions were bypassed and they went straight to the conversation.

And what made that possible was the subtle touch with the Asian flavors. All of them served as a baseline foundation but nothing peaked its head past that. Everything stayed in its proper place. The brightness of the beef was the star with a little Asian flair peeking its head around the corner.

It took me hours to get the flavor of this pairing out of my mouth.

Best meal in months...and we've had some good ones.

I would be remiss without mentioning the next night's food and wine dud.

But some context should be applied. On a night when we were supposed to go out for dinner, I was called for jury duty and it went WAY over the time promised (and, of course, I got picked).

So...a bit of rushed planning job overall.

Food: Herbes de Provence-crusted New York Strip, farro and pomegranate seeds with pea shoots in olive oil and balsamic

Nothing wrong with the food at all. New York Strip from Paulina Meat Market, bought after Mrs. Ney saw the previous beef filet and decided to get both (while simultaneously not trying to rile the surly Paulina guys - a bit of "we'll do something wth that as well"- kind of thing).

They know her well.

Crust on the beef was gorgeous, done exactly like she does duck, a true joy in this house.

Something about New York Strip, though. Like I said previously, prime rib and NY strip simply evokes childhood memories of "fancy" steak and that's really it. Cooked beautifully and certainly delicious, but right after the filet, it didn't stand a chance.

Solid farro and pomegranate. Always good. Pea shoots with olive oil and balsamic served as a good palate cleanser.

Wine: 2007 Andezon Côtes de Rhône & 2006 Regis Bouvier Bourgogne En Montre Cul (both in the $12-18 range at WDC)

The meal was good. The wine is where we went wrong. Something about missing a night out and having jury duty screwed with everything.

I wanted to try the Andezon because so many restaurants in town have it on their wine list by the glass.

I may as well combine the descriptions because both followed the same evolutionary path. For about four minutes, both wines were mildly interesting, though initially closed.

The Andezon at its peak was zingy and full of red fruit. Not really that great (passable) but it showed a bit more personality. The Bouvier showed a bit more pure fruit with a tinge of funk in the background. Kind of what we've experienced with cheap Burgundy but I'm not interested in that, at least not yet. It'll take a few years for us to get into Burgundy because good expressions are so damn expensive.

After their ever-so-brief peaks, both turned flabby and boring.

Here's a lesson. If Robert Parker raves about a wine, talking about it in flowery prose with superlatives belched all over the place while only giving it 90 points, he didn't love it. Just pass.

Pairing: Awful

And we weren't cracking a third bottle for this meal.

We wanted to go out!

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