Bathed in the Warmth of the Fall Harvest at Brasserie BeckNovember 13, 2013
By Judith Mazza, Vice Chargée de Presse, Bailliage of Greater Washington, D.C.
When contemplating our Fall 2013 calendar, the Bailliage of Greater Washington, D.C. knew that we could count on the extraordinarily creative chef at Brasserie Beck to create something truly special. Owned by Maître Rotisseur Robert Wiedmaier, Brasserie Beck feels like a bistro but serves food that any fine dining restaurant would be proud to create. Executive Chef Anthony Acinapura welcomed the Chaîne with open arms and resolved to make us a dinner to remember. Wow, did he accomplish his goal!
A tasting committee consisting of Vice Chargée de Mission Louise Harkavy, Vice Chargée de Presse Judith Mazza, Vice Conseiller Culinaire Francois Dionot and Mid-Atlantic Chambellan/Bailli Paul Haar had the “tough job” of deciding how to pair wine with the seasonal fall menu and fine tune some of the dishes. Vice Echanson, Ellen Kirsh had made sure that we had a delicious selection of wine from which to choose.
We began the evening with an outstanding selection of passed canapés of herb jumbo lump crab cakes, steak tartar on gaufrette potatoes, grilled baby lamp chops with a mint demi-glace and an Alsatian flatbread with caramelized onions and applewood smoked bacon remoulade. Each was done to perfection and was perfectly complemented by the Gonet-Médeville Champagne Tradition Premier Cru Brut NV.
We had the pleasure of a number of distinguished guests that evening, including Peripherique Baillliage Bailli Damian Buckley and his wife Nancy, Sante Fe Bailliage Vice Conseiller Gastronomique David Sontag, and Executive Chef Luc Dendievel and Steele Stevenson, Director of Catering, both from the Willard Hotel. In addition, we had an opportunity to meet Chevalier Gokman Bolayir, who just transferred his membership from the Istanbul Bailliage. We had a number of friends also attending including Mikki Van Wyk, Peggy Budnik and Brian Pearlstein, all of whom added their unique sparkle to the fun of the evening.
Our first seated course of bluefin tuna crudo with sea urchin, vinaigrette and sea bean salad was perfectly balanced with the Domaine Marc Morey L Fils Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts, Burgundy, France, 2006. The second course of butter poached lobster served atop the lobster mushroom risotto with sherry and parmesan elicited smiles of contentment. The Chasseur Chardonnay Sonoma Coast, Sonoma, California 2005 was a delight with this dish. The third course of pan-seared New York State Moulard duck breast with a silky celery root puree, braised kale, a foie gras emulsion and Armagnac duck jus reflected the change of seasons from summer to fall. The Thorn-Clarke Shiraz Terra Barossa, Barossa Valley, Australia, 2004 was lovely with this dish. Our final savory course which was a perfectly pan roasted loin of venison with quince puree, Brussels sprouts and a juniper berry jus was served with the Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva, Rioja, Spain, 2001.
During the course of the evening, we were fortunate to have the distinguished wine expert, Vice Echanson des Etats-Unis Honoraire Tony Busalacchi, provide insight into the various wines we were being served and the pairing with the dishes, thus deepening our understanding of the meal.
Our final course was served with both the Rioja from the previous course and the Cháteau Haut Peyruguet, Sauternes, Bordeaux, France, 1983. The epoisse with vanilla roasted bosc pears and hazelnuts was the final note in a sumptuous symphony of Fall harvest tastes.
Executive Chef Anthony "Tony" Acinapura emerged from his kitchen to thundering applause. Vice Conseiller Culinaire Francois Dionot lavished great praise on Tony for his extraordinary culinary artistry lauding each dish for its gastronomic perfection! Indeed, Francois remarked that this was a meal for which Chef Acinapura had incorporated suggestions from the tasting dinner, producing an ethereal dining experience that even surpassed the remarkable tasting/wine pairing meal. In honor of the superb quality of the meal, Mid-Atlantic Chambellan/Bailli Paul Haar presented Chef Acinapura with a beautiful Chaîne plate to proudly display at the restaurant. Chef Acinapura, in thanking the Chaîne for coming, shared the secret for his amazing cuisine – it was a meal prepared not just with imagination and culinary precision, it was food “made with love”. We could all feel the love throughout the evening; it was indescribable but clearly there. We knew that he had succeeded in giving us a meal to remember, and every reason to return soon to Brasserie Beck.