This isn’t the first pasta to tangle itself up in a pretty pile.
Nor is putting a bacon crisp (or an egg) on top of something the height of originality.
Lightly binding those noodles with cream and some sharp parm ain’t nuthin’ ingenious, either.
But put it all together in this beauteous bundle and you have a starch you can’t resist.
Show stopping in appearance; fork-dropping in deliciousness.
And one of many dishes at La Cave this summer that had me re-thinking my opinion of the place.
Every small plate that came out of this tiny kitchen:
….seemed to be more finely tuned and carefully composed than we had seen or tasted before.
It was quite a meal made quite better by Mark Hefter’s extensive (and well-priced, at least for the Wynncore) wine selections. (50+ wines by the glass is nothing to sneeze at, and, if you look for them, plenty of off-the-beaten-track options for well under a hundy.)
Thus has a place I wrote off a couple of years ago seem to have re-booted itself in all the right food + wine ways.
L’chiam, La Cave!
LA CAVE FOOD & WINE HIDEAWAY
Okay, okay, medallions of beef with polenta (topped with some luscious crème fraîche) are about as summery as December in Denmark, but that’s what Chef José Aleman sent to our table one sweltering Sunday in June.
But to our astonishment, it hit all the right notes: peppered tenderloin, cooked just right and accented with an intense demi-glaze, creamy/corny polenta, and smooth-sour cream.
Protein, dairy and starch in pitch perfect harmony.
Perhaps José saw the sassy, perfumed Volnay we were drinking that day (lightly chilled, of course, like we do with all our reds during a Vegas summer), and thought it would make for a great match. Or maybe he thought it would marry well with the off-dry Thanisch Riesling we were also sipping.
Either way he would be correct. Because nothing goes better with beef than Burgundy, but rich white wines – even slightly sweet ones – go great with it too.
But you knew that.
Or at least now you do.
Try as I might, I can’t get excited about the Wine Spectator “awards.”
Because they’re really not a measure of excellence; they’re only a publicity stunt that restaurants from coast to coast buy into for whatever free publicity it garners them.
They’re also a fraud.