Our informal “Wine & Dine” group made reservations last Friday for dinner at Vine18. It had been closed for a week while a new Chef and new Food & Beverage Manager were hired. We really had no idea how “opening night” would turn out. As it came to pass, the new chef did an amazing job with the dishes that were served.
Everyone brought a wine to share, but we really had not pre-selected from the menu as we were waiting to see the food brought out to others to make a final decision. So the food and wine pairing were a bit secondary this evening. Just before we order to our amazement and enjoyment was the excellent bread service with olive oil and butter. This had disappeared a few months ago, and we as a group were so appreciative of having this reinstated.
First up for myself was an appetizer of shrimp tempura with a sweet chili and ponzu dipping sauce. The texture and presentation while not the quantity of previous presentations, was unique with it “breaded look” and taste was exceptional.
Next up was the entrée called Salmon en Papillote, salmon wrapped in parchment, cooked in white wine, Rosemary, shallots, thyme, lemons and confit garlic served over saffron rice and seasonal vegetables. One of the “old-timers” of our group who has been living up here for sixteen years claimed it was the best meal he had ever eaten at the club. While I have had many meals at the club with the Wine Society, that were elegant, this for a stable on the new menu was a true winner. The salmon was tender, moist and the flavors were light, delicate and heavenly.
Others that evening raved about two other dishes that were served. First was the Basa stuffed crab filet, a seared 6 ounce Basa filet topped with crab stuffing, champagne béarnaise served with saffron rice and seasonal vegetables. The second dish which several individuals chose was the special this evening of grilled Cajun chicken with penne pasta with caramelized onions, Cajun cream sauce, mixed with jack cheese and served with garlic toast.
We had an assortment of wine to accompany the meal including 2013 Leal Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Hollister), 2018 Allegorie Tempranillo (Murphys), 2018 Dracaena Wines Cabernet Franc Reserve (Paso Robles), 2016 Toulouse Zinfandel (Redwood Valley), 2018 Terra d’ Oro Zinfandel (Amador County), 2016 Frog’s Tooth Cabernet Franc, two homemade wines (old vine Zin and a blend) and a few others not shown.
Overall our impressions of the new chef were absolutely solid and new and different weekly special offerings will send this over the top to be a destination restaurant!