Sublime Autumnal Culinary Symphony Lakeside at 2941 RestaurantOctober 22, 2008
Blazing fall colors, iridescent Koi ponds, exquisite cuisine and incomparable Chaîne camaraderie made for a sublime October 22, 2008 autumnal culinary symphony lakeside at 2941 Restaurant in Falls Church, Virginia. Critically acclaimed Chef Bertrand Chemel (accorded three stars by the New York Times while chef at Daniel Boulud in New York) mesmerized our taste buds with a succulent seven-course menu paired with superb wines from the cellar of the Greater Washington, D.C. Bailliage.
Passed hors d’oeuvres during our customary meet-and-greet pre-dinner cocktail reception during which we warmly welcome new members and guests, included a delicate anise-glazed shrimp, spicy butternut squash soup in demitasse cups, and ethereal purses of duck confit, all paired with wonderful champagne.
Our culinary symphony continued with a bracing Hamachi tartare with avocado, daikon radish and togarashi pepper served in a silver bowl cradled in ice, paired with a 2007 Leth Gruner Vetliner Steinagrund. The next movement in Chef Chemel’s symphony was an absolutely perfect seared Hudson Valley foie gras with peach, lemon verbena and cubeb black pepper, paired with our cellar’s 2006 Triana Viognier Mer Soleil Vineyard. Then the fish course and, OHH, what a fish course! Chef Chemel’s deft touch produced a truly delectable steamed Loup de Mer with celery root puree, lemon brown butter and Brussels sprouts, paired with 2006 Sequoia Grove Chardonnay. Not to be outdone, the meat course dazzled us with a Millbrook venison saddle with mission figs, baby beets and natural jus, paired with a 1996 Cos d’Estournel Grand Cru. Chef Chemel then graced us with a tour de force cheese plate replete with Twig Farm, Vermont, semi-soft goat, Brebirousse d’Argental, France, 30-day aged sheep’s milk, Tomme Crayeuse, France, five-month aged raw cow’s milk, Appenzeller, Switzerland, hard wash brine cow’s milk, and Blu del Monsenicio, Italy, semi-soft raw cow’s milk, all paired with our cellar’s 1999 Domaine Cros Minervois Les Asperes. Our culinary symphony came to a rousing and memorable finish with a sinfully delicious Almond Gateau Breton with blueberries, apricot gelee and local sweet corn ice cream, superbly paired with a Cave Spring Late Harvest Riesling.
Kudos go to Steve Lustig, our Vice Echanson and Cellar Master, whose knowledge of wine and ability to perfectly pair our cellar’s unique wines to fine cuisine is unmatched, Francois Dionot, our Vice Conseiller Culinaire, Founder and Director of L’Academie de Cuisine, one of the nation’s leading culinary academies, whose charm and universal respect among professional chefs renders him indispensable to La Chaîne, Judith Mazza, our powerhouse Chargée de Presse, who redesigned our chapter’s beautiful new web site replete with online registration and payment, David Burka, our dedicated Argentier who scrupulously maintains our finances, and Len DePas, our Bailli Honoraire and Vice Conseiller Gastronomique, photographer to star chefs nationwide with a golden palate.