Dinner at Lemaire, The Jefferson Hotel, Richmond, VA.....long
Last night was hubby's and my wedding anniversary and we had the Chef's Tasting Menu at Lemaire and it was phenominal. The price is $105/person with wine and $70/person without wine. We had it with wine.
The courses and wine were......
-Chincoteague Island sea side salt oysters with seckel pear puree, pickled easter egg radishes and celery leaf served with Chateau Haut Rion Bourdeaux Sec, 2004. This was fabulous. Two oysters were served on the half shell and the radishes and celery were on top like a slaw with the puree. The slight sweetness of the puree went well with the saltiness of the oysters. The wine was a nice crisp white that went well with the dish and was a nice starter wine for the evening.
-Maine sea scallops covered in black truffles with roasted sunchokes, Nameko mushrooms and hardwood smoked bacon with field arugula and black truffle vinaigrette. This was served with Hollywood and Vine Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2002.
This dish was Hubby's favorite of the night and reminded me why I love scallops when they are done well and dislike them when they aren't. Each scallop was about 2 inches thick and 3 inches in diameter and cooked perfectly. The dressing and mushrooms stood up nicely to the scallops but didn't overwhelm them. The bacon was cubed and the texture of it and the smokiness complimented the scallops very well. I was nervous about the wine as I generally don't care for California chardonnays but this one didn't have too much oak and the oak was smooth rather than "big" as is so often the case with California chardonnays.
-McFarland Farms Pheasant Strudel with toasted chestnuts, sweet potato mousse and baby spinach with Highland County maple vinaigrette. This was served with Robert Sinskey Merlot Carneros, Napa Valley, 2001. This was my favorite course of the evening and the first time I can remember ever having pheasant. The strudel was shapped a lot like a spring roll and cut in half and set on top of the sweet potatoes and spinach and then drizzled with the dressing and chestnuts. The pheasant had a lot of flavor but wasn't gamey at all. The wine was very good, but nothing special, but I'm not a big merlot fan.
-Rosemary grilled prime beef strip loin with English peas, white asparagus and slow cooked tomato confit with horseradish potatoes and port wine demi-glace. This was served with Virgin Hills Red, Victoria, 1999. This was the "safe" course of the evening and was very good. The beef was served between rare and medium rare and sliced over the potatoes and surrounded by the veggies and all set on top of the confit. I had never had white asparagus before and really liked it also...it's milder than green asparagus. I also really liked the wine, which is unusual for me with big reds.
And last but certainly not least........
-Red Grape and champagne consomme with granny smith apple gelee, pomegranate and garden mint. This was served with Rockbridge V D'or, Virginia, 2004. This course was the big surprise of the evening and describing it will not do it justice. The presentation was beautiful. In the center of the bowl was the apple gelee and it was surrounded with sliced grapes and pomegranate seeds and the mint and then the champagne was added at the table. This was the perfect end to a perfect meal. And the sweet Virginia wine (which Hubby and I both were less than enthusiastic about trying) was very good and went well with the tartness of the apple and pomegranate. I'm going to seek this wine out locally for gifts this Christmas.
Lemaire is wonderful. My husband and I went there a few years ago and ordered one of each course and shared it. It was more than enough food for both of us. What I remember most is the Earl Grey chocolate ice cream! If you like this type of food, another good place to eat is Fossett's at Keswick Hall in Charlottesville.