Thursday, April 28, 2011

#183 - Sake-Soaked Wagyu Beef & Sweet Potato Fries With '05 Yalumba HP Shiraz-Viognier

We eat meat, love meat and crave meat.

But this year, we've eaten much less meat, more lean meat and mostly mini versions of meat with each meal.

Under the auspices of 'you can have too much of a good thing,' we started to experience the fact that bigger portions of meat, even six ounces of meat, on the plate detracts from the after-burn from and basking in the enjoyment of a good meal.

We've been wanting our veggies more, our greens more and a well-prepared starch more with a smaller portion of meat at the center of the meal to complement instead of bullying such things.

We've always eaten well-balanced meals but being from the Midwest, we haven't completely shed the upbringing of meat and meat with a side of meat.

Eight ounces of wagyu beef, a slab of dead animal that tasted like a delicious grilled stick of butter, will force anyone to reconsider the peculiar details of an upbringing.  Sort of like eating the Meat Monster.

Mrs. Ney was prudent and stopped at four ounces of meat-butter consumption.  I did not.

Food:  Sake-soy soaked wagyu beef, sweet potato fries with red thai curry mayo and watercress

The Fish Guy on Elston wagyu beef ($36 for 16 oz.) cooked rare.  Not cheap but it's wagyu.  Oddly though, it left us wanting a bit.  This was the first time we cooked up wagyu at home.  Had it and loved it in various forms out in the world but never at home.  Dunked in salt, then sake, then soy sauce, then finished with a crusting of szechuan peppercorns; from a Saveur recipe and the same recipe used in the superlative #143 Asian beef filet with 2007 Quinta do Vale Meão in December.  Quality stuff but begged the question:  If you're going to buy one of the best cuts of meat on the planet, should you go whole-hog and buy the best cut of one of the best cut of meat on the planet?  Both of us weren't driving down to Fox & Obel and probably drop $20 more to get the same amount but we ended up wondering if he should have.  If done again, that would feel right and proper.

Beautiful taste, great marbling but we both felt like eating eight ounces of anything that tastes like a grilled stick of butter needs in its most basic form to be much...less.  Three to four ounces would have been prudent and even necessary.  Something about taking that first bite and seeing the task before you with so much more meat on the plate forces the meat to loudly star.  Stop halfway through?  Again, I grew up in the Midwest in a big family.  You clean your plate.  Still haven't shed some of that upbringing.

But the Asian preparation of the wagyu was delicious stuff and it's versatile with so many other cuts of beef.  Sake and soy come through beautifully, imparting a deep but bright and lifting quality that lingers nicely with a popping and bright szechuan peppercorn hit backing it up.

That played right into the sweet potato fries and Thai red curry mayo for dipping.  We like our mayo and this one sits in the top five.  With the meat prep and sweet potato-mayo-Asian goodness, we were happy.

Uplands Cress watercress bag from Jewel, roots and all in the bag, stemmed and then wilted in the meat pan.  A better watercress by every measure.  Planty and raw with a punch of something that tastes like the white bits in potting soil in the best possible way.  No other watercress will most likely ever hit the plate in this house.

Tasty food galore.  Asian-y, delicious and played right into one of our favorite wines.  But four ounces of beef filet offering something less of a "LOOK AT ME, I'M WAGYU!" might have been better.  We needed more low-key beefy goodness to allow every element of the meal to alternately take the stage and belch out to the rafters.  We needed a meat that would shut up and let others show their acting chops.

It was like watching Nicolas Cage chewing scenery with his bloated Nic Cage-ness at every possible turn.

Wine:  2005 Yalumba Hand-Picked Shiraz Viognier ($30 - Winerz)

Probably the fourth bottle we've had of this vintage.  Used to be available in town but sadly has gone away.

Biggest impression of the night was how little it's budged since we first had it.  Still chugging along, longer life here and cheap, cheap, cheap for what you get.  More dark cherry and wild berry with an underlying darker fruit note and a small creamy edge but plenty of dark, meaty fruit skin.  The fruit since our last experience seems to have became a bit more tight and focused.  Some nice grip.

Secondary flavors of herby sage, a touch of pencil and even something similar to sweet paprika with mature, paced transitions leading to a finish that kept going.  Viognier still lending a juicy acid feel to it, lifting it out of the ordinary Australian shiraz world and into something more pretty and friendly.

Followed a great arc throughout the meal, becoming more open and delicious halfway through and ending on an irony sanguine note that was utterly delicious.  Not fruit bomby, this is graceful stuff.

Again, shocked how little age this one has shown over the years.  Falls into the 2003 Pirramimma world for us - a wine that we'd buy a case of just to watch it die a fun death.      

Pairing:  89  Enough basic goodness but the world, like the meal, needs less of Nic Cage being Nic Cage

If we cooked up four ounces of beef filet with the same preparation, this one could have been great.

Good stuff paired the wagyu with the Asian preparation playing its part more than the meat.  Szechuan peppercorns continue to shine with Australian shiraz for us.

Nice with the sweet potato fries and Thai red curry dip and strangely good at times with the watercress, especially as the wine hit its later, irony stage.

We liked this meal but expected more, though.

And as Mrs. Ney says, "People that bitch about Australian fruits bombs can kiss my butt!"

Good ones are Great Stuff in our world.

No comments:

Post a Comment