Valentine's Day at Viognier Restaurant

What a discovery thanks to! Looking for a place to have a special dinner on Valentine's day can always be a bit of a challenge. Especially for my date and I, who are both quite demanding of our wine to deliver as much satisfaction during the meal as the food. I was referred to use by a family member, and I was so impressed with the way the system works. Much like, you can specify details of the restaurant you are looking for, and find out all the available times for reservations and book online. I stumbled across Viognier Restaurant all too easily since it fit the bill of exactly what I was looking for, and was so aptly named for one of my favorite Rhone varietals. I was able to view the special menu for the evening, and see the options for wine pairing. Perfect!

Upon arriving, we were told our reservation was running a few minutes behind, but that we could enjoy a glass of wine in the bar. The bar area was fairly small, but offered a few high tables to sit for a few moments. The "By the Glass" menu was decent, without being too focused on Napa wines as many Northern California restaurants are. The prices weren't outragous either, with one of my favorite easy to drink wines, Masi Campofiorin Ripasso, Verona, Italy, Corvina Veronese 2004, for only $10.

When our table was ready, we were escorted to a quiet corner table overlooking the plant-filled balcony and given some of the best bread and butter to munch on while waiting. The menu was pre-fixed with a few different options, and we decided on adding the wine pairings as well. Our menu consisted of the following:
  • Local Garden Lettuces - Red Wine Vinagrette, Fresh Goat Chevre, Shaved Carrots with 2007 Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc - Russian River Valley, CA
  • Jumbo Lump Crabcake - Apple, Mache, Remoulade with 2005 Gerhard, “Hattenheimer Hassel” Riesling Spätlese - Rheingau, Germany
  • Pan Seared Scallops - Napa Cabbage, Forest Mushrooms, Smoked Bacon with 2007 Wandering Wallaby, “Reserve” Chardonnay - Margaret River, Australia
  • Tenderloin of Prime Beef - Celery Root, Roasted Carrots, Cippolini Onions, Black Pepper with 2005 Terra Valentine Cabernet Sauvignon - Spring Mountain, CA
  • Apple Bread Pudding - Apple Caramel Sauce, Sautéed Apples with 2003 Royal Tokaji, “Red Label” - 5 Puttanyos - Hungary
  • Chocolate Cherry Tart - Peppermint Ice Cream, Cherry Sauce with NV Meyer Family, “Port” - CA

My date and I split everything, as we always do, so that we could try as many things as possible. Favorites of the evening were the Crab cakes and the Scallops (always a seafood lover). The thing I liked about these the most were the wine pairings. The Riesling was a lovely surprise to compliment the crab, offering a citrus and wet stone nose complimented by a crisp, dry, light fruit and high acidity palate. Perfect for the slightly sweet crab! The scallops were delightful with the Chardonnay, and although I am rarely a fan of Chardonnay, this Australian choice complimented well with just a hint of oak that avoided overpowering the bright fruit characteristics of the wine. The subtle melon flavors and creamy mouthfeel made it the perfect match with the mushrooms and bacon.

Though there was some slowness in the service and the overall price ended up being higher than anticipated, this meal was a memorable one for the books. I would recommend this place to anyone traveling through the San Mateo area, especially because it is located above the Draeger's Market which is a fantastic kitchen store that I could spend hours browsing. Stop by and enjoy their open kitchen, French-Californiam fusion cuisine, and award-winning wine list!

No comments:

Check it out!