Food and Wine Pairings from Your Favorite Menus
With Newport Beach’s Wine and Food Festival just around the corner, our wine fever has reached its zenith. Because a delicious meal is great but paired with just the right glass of wine, it can be a million times better. Which is why we asked the folks behind our favorite restaurants to comb through their menus, cherry-pick the best dishes and—you guessed it—pair them up with vinos that skillfully coax out the shyest of flavors. So if you have a hankering for a bite and a sip, here’s where to go and what to get.
You’re getting: seared Hawaiian tuna, which is served with grilled avocado, toasted pine nuts and pickled cucumbers—plus a little mango and cilantro. Alternatively, go all out with the venison chop, one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes. This perfectly cooked fall meat is wrapped with smoked applewood bacon and topped with huckleberry red wine reduction sauce. Everything is then gently placed on a bed of German spaetzle noodles.
You’re pairing: the tuna with The Setting’s fruit-driven Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma 2018, which sings with notes of tangerine, creme brûlée and kiwi. Some wines and meals tug and play off of each other’s flavors, but not these two. Instead, they come together like two hands in prayer. As for the venison, try it with the larger-than-life 2016 Riverain Cabernet from Tench Vineyard. This big boy’s intense aroma of black fruit complements the applewood bacon and elevates the venison’s delightful hint of gaminess.
You’re getting: One of Fleming’s signature steaks—a 35-ounce perfect prime tomahawk, which would single-handedly win the crown in a meat pageant if there ever were one. (All thanks to its deep marbleization and extremely long bone). In the mood for fish? Try the miso-glazed Chilean sea bass, sautéed with sesame-orange spinach and arugula and served with pickled red onion.
You’re pairing: the steak with the smooth 2017 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles’ Daou Vineyards. It’s complex, with many layers of dark fruit and herbal notes to unfurl. It’s full-bodied and every bit as bold as the ribeye you’ll be indulging in. The rich Chilean sea bass, on the other hand, does well when balanced with a creamy and full-bodied sip like Frank Family Vineyards’ 2017 Carneros Chardonnay. (The sweet miso glaze comes together in harmony with the Chardonnay’s apple and stone fruit flavors).
You’re getting: the bouillabaisse, a fragrant fish stew from Marseille. Featuring a saffron-marinated sea bass, fresh prawns, mussels, braised fennel and fingerling potatoes in a creamy broth, it’s safe to say, this dish packs a punch. Alternatively, go for the grilled lamb chops, infused with flavors of olive oil and rosemary and served with a caponata (a Sicilian eggplant dish).
You’re pairing: the stew with the Italian-grown 2016 Falanghina, which goes hand-in-hand with seafood and holds its own when pitted against a tomato-based soup. It’s light-bodied and crisp with notes of citrus, pineapple and tarragon. Those juicy lamb chops? Enjoy them with a supple 2016 Domaine Petroni from the island of Corsica. With a light minerality, hints of red fruit (strawberries, blackcurrant and raspberries) and a lengthy finish, it famously pairs well with flame-kissed meat.