After living in Dallas for almost 10 years I’ve become a bit spoiled when it comes to dining out, expecting amazing food with service to match at every restaurant. For some gourmands that’s not enough to satisfy them as they desire out-of-this world experiences in unconventional spaces. Restaurant owners, chefs and event planners know this which might be why it seems every where you look there’s another “special dinner” usually accompanied by a high price tag. I find myself sifting through many dining events picking the ones that I know will deliver a truly unique experience worth every penny and the Anderson brothers, Brooks and Bradley never disappoint in this respect.
The brothers went on a heavenly trip to France this past March specifically to tour champagne houses as part of continuing education, if you will. These guys know their grapes as their establishments, Veritas Wine Room on Henderson, Rapscallion on Lower Greenville and Boulevardier in the Bishop Arts District have won numerous awards for their wine selections. Every once in a while they host guest chef, or in this case, guest vintner dinners that you don’t want to miss and the Pierre Paillard dinner was no exception.
A bit different from most dinners I’ve attended, every course had a pairing of champagne instead of wine but more importantly, Quentin Paillard, grandson of Pierre and winemaker/co-owner of the vineyard along with his brother Antoine, graced us with his presence. The vineyard has been in the family for 8 generations, dating back to 1768 so we knew we were in for a treat.
Before we dove into the parade of champagne I needed to quench my thirst with a nice bourbon-based cocktail, the Single Barrel Steep Buzz. Made with Knob Creek single barrel bourbon it was so balanced with delicate hints of ginger, Earl Grey, lemon and honey that I could see how it would appeal to both the purist bourbon drinker as well as to the occasional one.
First course was a duo of East Coast oyster, dressed in an unfamiliar yet delectable manner. My table mates and I argued over whether we preferred the asian-flavored oyster dressed in lemongrass ponzu with a nice large quail egg on top or the equally unique oyster covered with smoked trout roe, pickled cauliflower, lychee and vanilla. Vanilla! I favored the former but they both washed down smoothly with a glass of NV (no vintage) Brut Grand Cru.
The second course of house made pappardelle with Italian truffles was my favorite! Just looking at this photo makes my mouth water and crave it every time. I mean, just look at those beautiful slices of Italian truffles nestled on top of that pullet egg. What’s a pullet, you ask? It’s a hen less than 1-year-old that has just begun laying eggs. Considered “avian caviar” by Rachael Ray and tastier than eggs from older hens they require a skilled hand to not ruin them.
Enter chef Nathan Tate. Chef Tate is that highly skilled chef. He was once one-half of Restaurant Ava in Rockwall along with the now deceased Randall Copeland (RIP). I heard so much about Ava from other talented chefs that I figured it must be worth the drive out there but sadly I never made it. Tate closed Ava to focus on the role of executive chef at Boulevardier where he is co-owner along with the Anderson brothers. He has since gone on to open Rapscallion with the brothers and he continues to cook delicious rustic food. (For more on Tate read this Texas Monthly article.)
For the third course we had a perfectly pan-seared branzino. I’m curious as to how many home cooks can get a nice crisp on the skin such as Chef Tate. Not me, that’s for certain! The vibrant flavors of the salad and refreshing bubbles of the NV Brut Rosé Grand Cru balanced the saltiness of the fish.
I was thankful for the previous lighter portions as we needed all the room we could get for the final dinner course of the 50 day dry-aged prime rib eye. Now, up until this point I had jumped on the champagne train and was beginning to believe that bubbles could quite possibly pair with anything. But in the end, the ’04 Brut Grand Cru was, in my opinion no match for the hearty port demi-glace and earthiness of the carrots. I craved a big, tannin-heavy Napa cab or Syrah from Northern Rhone but I understood the idea of pairing a citrus forward champagne with the fatty prime rib. I understood it, but I didn’t care much for it.
We had marengo for the finale which I think is Italian and is essentially a semi-frozen dessert. This one had all sorts of accoutrements that I couldn’t even have dreamed up for this dish which is more proof of the genius mind of Chef Tate. The Anderson brothers probably sensed that by now some of us wouldn’t even look at another fizzy drink, let alone drink one so the dessert pairing was the cognac-heavy China Fight. And you can bet some guests fought not to drink it else the entire evening would have been a distant memory!
- Get on the email list for notifications of upcoming dinners
- Respond immediately when they’re announced
- At $145 a person including wine pairings, skip the usual special occasion restaurants and splurge on this instead. Worth every penny.