By now you know we can't resist a tasting menu, and if you hit Oregon's wine country you can not miss the tasting menu only place about , The Painted Lady (www.thepaintedladyrestaurant.com), located in cute old two-storey Victorian home in downtown Newburg.
We liked the simplicity and superb service from everyone from ever, although Ty was our awesome lead server. Within minutes of being served we ordered cocktails and they were fun here with Will having a Blood Orange Cosmo and me trying the tasty refreshing (after another full day of wine tasting in the 90+ heat) Sake One made with Sake One, Domaine Canton, cucumber & Peychaud bitters.
A selection of treats arrived with fried chickpeas in tamarind (Will's favorite), Edamame Hummus on a tasty crunchy herby Papadam, and Potato Samosas with Cucumber Raita there were described as spicy, but not so. I asked if the chef had Indian leanings, and was told it was a worldly menu....
Here the tasting menu at $85 is the only choice, and we even took the Foie Gras add-on as well as the wines accompanying for an additional $65. It was a wonderful journey.
The Amuse was a simple Hamachi Crudo wrapped around Watercress Salad with tiny melon spheres, cucumber mint puree, a slice of grapefruit and puffed rice along with locally grown on the coast wasabi (which was much more like fresh horseradish). The flavors were wondrous and the rice crunch was nice. Chartogne-Taillet, Cuvee Ste. Anne Champagne was a yeasty one with lots of bubbles made from both chardonnay and pinot noir and getting 3 years in the bottle.
My favorite dish of the evening was the Miso Custard with Dungeness Crab, Enoki & Beech Mushrooms, Nori, Edamame, and Pickled Beet in Dashi Broth. It is an ingenious creation, that could only be improved upon with Maryland crab; but more on that later. The 2013 Trisaetum Ribbon Ridge Dry Riesling was fine for me, but slightly off dry for Will and replaced with a drier German version. I am loving these wines even more having driven over Ribbon Ridge that morning and seeing all the grapes I know and love.
Chevre filled Spinach Agnolotti were next with English Peas & Coulis, Tendrils, Pamesan Reggino and generous shavings of Italian black truffle. The 2010 Evening Land "Mad Hatter" Chardonnay gets one year in new and old oak barrels, but has overtones of grapefruit for Will and limestone for me. The winery is from South Willamette near Salem, but Sonoma-based....
Foie Gras was a torchon with sea salt and gooseberries in a bacon balsamic reduction along with a seared version in maple demi-glace on brioche with roasted fig, blueberry and chervil. WOW. The Willakenzie Late Harvest Pinot Gris 2009 that I wanted to try from Yamhill-Carlton didn't even compare with the awesome 1986 Chateau Laferey-Perugeuy (I can never spell this amazing Sauternes)!
The next two courses had choices, so we each ordered one and split them making even more courses for our journey. The Heirloom Tomatoes came with house made curds, Polenta Fries, Black Garlic, Pine Nuts and Basil Seeds & Coulis. The 2020 De Ponte Dundee Hills Pinot Noir had balanced acidity and plenty of fruit for both of the dishes. The winner here was the Golden Oregon Halibut on butternut squash puree with hazelnut crumble, roasted cauliflower and carrots, Pinot Gastrique and house made bacon. my oh my.
This came with pretzel bread-my oh my.
The main course of Slow Roasted Wild Chinook Salmon with Romesco Puree, Braised Leeks, Cauliflower CousCous, Golden Raisins & Mostarda explains why we shun salmon in the east and gobble it up in the Pacific NW. It was paired with a superb Burgundy Pinot 2011 Catherine and Claude Marechal Savigny Les Baunes, Vieilles Vignes which was nice, but I was just wishing for more Oregon Pinot. More on that later, too. Halfway through the main course, Will & I switched plates and wines to the Beef Two Ways:Dry Aged pan seared NY Steak & Braised & Glazed Short Ribs on potato puree with caramelized onion and sunchoke puree. There was also a small tiny sous vide potato sphere (which honestly tasted boiled to me) and a pretty crisp ferris wheel like giant round potato crisp. It was paired perfectly with a slightly too young, but well decanted 2009 Renato Ratti Marcensasco Barolo which I would love to revisit in 5 years!
The Artisan Cheese dish was Belgian Sainte Savoie raw cow with Dijon Mustard & Crouton, Red Pepper Marmalade and Cucumber Julienne which was nice and again, I yearned for the local superb cheeses in multiples :-))
Oregon Blueberry Sorbet (or was it Granita as on the menu) was a super palate cleanser with Lemongrass Tapioca!
Again there was a choice for desserts, but before this the chef was making the rounds and in chatting with Chef/Owner Allen Routt we indeed discovered many single degrees of separation. Before coming to Oregon he hailed from Virginia and had a stint at The Inn at Little Washington, but even closer to home opened Jean-Louis Palladin's Pesce in Dupont Circle decades ago, where I must have met him for sure! He explained to us that his mantra was to use international cuisine with true ingredients from that place, hence the truffles form Italy for the pasta, cheese from France and wines from all over to give a true international flavor to the menu. I asked why then did he not use Maryland Crab in his amazing Miso Custard, and he said that he would be burned for heresy in Oregon if he did that :-)).
He's a fine chef and runs a top notch establishment, so I'll indulge him the Dungeness.
Will chose the Graham Cracker Hot Donut Holes with Milk Chocolate Semifreddo, Latte Jelly, Milk Granita and grated Espresso which were yummy, but I was glad I went with the much lighter and totally Local Cherries(I think they were Ranier-which were pitted yet still on their stem!), Cherry Ice Cream, Almond Cake, Almond Brittle and Candied Rose Hips and Rose Hip Puree.
The wine was a Bodegas Cesar Florido Moscatel Pasas which was cloyingly sweet sherry and while a wonderful after-dinner drink perhaps a bit too sweet along with the desserts. Just my opinion.
Mignardises arrived in the form of Salted Caramels, Chocolate/Peanut Butter/Pretzel Squares, Earl Grey Macaroons with Chocolate filling and Pinot Gelees. They were all superb and sent us home oh so happy...