Thursday, March 9, 2017

@ elm st. grill

At first glance, @ elm street grill appears to be a neighborhood hangout. When you walk inside, you realize it's a sports bar, and a date-worthy and family-friendly dining spot - something for everyone. When you dine here, you quickly learn they do several menu items well, especially their killer Indian food. (If you haven't tried their Chicken Tikka Masala, it's practically life-changing and will make an Indian food fan out of anyone.) I had only dined at @ elm street grill once before, so I was excited to attend one of their wine dinners with the opportunity to try several dishes. While these plates aren't on their regular menu, I could taste the love that went into each one. The hospitality was sincere, too. I felt right at home and left wondering how soon I can return. Owner Ravi is doing an excellent job with this spot (his rock star wife is the chef, too), and their regular customers are a testament to the outstanding food and service. This place continues to surprise me.

Hope Family Wines were a lovely accompaniment to the 5 courses we had, with most pairings matching up nicely. Cauliflower Cheese Dip was a garlicky and creamy way to start the meal. It was served with bread, but I enjoyed it right off a spoon. (I gave up bread for Lent, so I had to resist the slices of French bread that came with this dish!) I enjoyed the Treana Chardonnay, a buttery, creamy wine that matched with the flavors in the dip very well. It was topped with fried garlic chips - a pungent but not overpowering bite.
Cauliflower Cheese Dip
The second course couldn't have been a larger contrast from the first. Gorgeous greens were topped with mandarin oranges, slivered almonds, edamame and sesame seeds, and drizzled with a tangy ginger dressing. This tasted so clean and fresh, and brought out the citrus flavor in the Treana Blanc wine. This was a lovely pairing, each sip and bite enhancing the next.
Mandarin Orange Salad
I was ready for some red wine, and even more excited for the Pork Tenderloin with Chimichurri! This pork was incredibly tender - one of the best I can remember having in a restaurant - and the chimichurri was a beautiful green hue, citrusy and didn't overpower the dry rub on the pork. I went nuts for the simply grilled brussels sprouts, peppers, squash and onion - they weren't overly oily or charred and I could have eaten a bowlful! Liberty School Merlot was a tame wine for my taste, and I don't think it stood up to the pork. It might be perfectly fine to sip on its own, but I didn't love this pairing.
Pork Tenderloin with Chimichurri
As if one meat course wasn't enough, we were served a slice of Prime Rib with horseradish mayo and fabulous garlic mashed potatoes. The meat was slightly overcooked for my preference, and I think Ravi knew some slices were over, because he came by and asked if we were alright with the temperature of the meat. He is such a congenial host! The Treana Red was my favorite of the night, and it's the winery's star. It boasted full notes of oak, and is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Syrah. This was my favorite pairing of the night.

I'm always curious to see if wine dinners will include a port or some sort of dessert wine with the final course, but the Troublemaker Red was anything but a traditional sweet wine! It took time to open up, but once it did, it was beautiful. The Chocolate Poached Pear was stunning; its golden skin dripping with chocolate sauce, while mixing with slowly melting vanilla ice cream. The pear itself was cold, making the experience all the more unique, and it brought out an additional sweetness in the tender fruit.
Chocolate Poached Pear
If you haven't been to @ elm street grill yet, I encourage you to make the visit, especially if you like Indian food (they do it so incredibly well). But who knew they also did awesome wine dinners?! I certainly didn't, but I'm glad I know now. This place can pretty much do whatever they want and kick butt at it.

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