Mid-November doldrums required a treat, stat. So when a friend suggested a chef's dinner at Harvest Vine, we leapt. Well, we quickly factored in the cost, then leapt.
We started with Cava (and shouldn't everything start with Cava?) and toasted ourselves for being there for "Food from the Basque Country."
A small glass of sherry (Valdespino Manzanilla Deliciosa) was poured to be sipped with the first course: Porrusalda - a very salty, very fishy, potato, leek and salt cod soup. The first taste gave us pause, it seemed saltier and fishier than a soup should ever be. With our sherry, the flavors soon began to make sense, until we were scraping the the bottom of the bowl with our spoons. A strange soup.
Highlights: Canelon de Txangurro a San Sebastian style pasta tube filled with crab- I inhaled this embarrassingly quickly, while my companions were still lifting their forks.
Flan de Gambas y Puerros A shrimp and leek flan with prawn sauce was gorgeous and delicious, so too a Guisado de Vaca a beef stew with coffee essence. Gateau Basque was light, moist and a perfect finish.
Every single wine was really lovely, especially the Uriondo Txakolina 2007 and the Abadia Retuerta Rivola Sardon de Duero 2006
Disappointments: The service on the whole was efficient, but overzealous plate yanking made us feel a bit rushed. One of my wine glasses was yanked before I finished the last swallow. I guarded the remaining glasses like a bulldog. A slightly tipsy, pink-cheeked, belligerent bulldog. The tables were small, elevated and hard for the servers to reach across to deliver plates and so they put those of us furthest away to quite a bit of work - they handed us the plate, which we had to maneuver over wine glasses to our places constantly.
Recommended: A great evening.
Mr. Pants: content and satisfied, Gateau Basque reminded him of his French childhood.