These days the word “gourmet” gets thrown around in our everyday conversations quite often, but many of us may not know exactly what it means. I have to admit that all this time, I have associated the word with a style of food. It surprised me to learn that, a gourmet is a person with a sensitive and discriminating palate, one who is knowledgeable in the appreciation of haute cuisine.
Well! one such person has set up a highly successful eatery in Norwalk. I am talking about Chef Rob Troilo of Nicholas Roberts. Nicholas Roberts opened its doors almost seven years ago, and since then it has created an almost cult-like following. Case in point: according to Chef Troilo, he has customers who would show up for dinner one night and be back for breakfast/brunch the very next day....no, seriously.
Last night I enjoyed a wonderful wine dinner at Nicholas Roberts courtesy of CTbites Invites. The meal was paired with stunning wines from Uruguay. Pablo Fallabrino, the winemaker at Vinedo de los Vientos was present to give us in-depth descriptions of the wines we tasted with each scrumptious course served by Chef Troilo.
Our first course was a House Secret Blackened Spiced Shrimp with Spring Blossoms Salad. Now, those of you who have been to Nicholas Roberts would know that the kitchen is open to the dining area. So the delicious aromas of the shrimp and garlic cooking reached our nostrils well before the plates arrived at the table. It created a sense of frenzied anticipation amongst us diners. And the wait was well worth it! The wine paired was Vinedos Los Vientos Estival White. With its sweet notes it went really well with the deep, spicy flavors of the shrimp.
Second course was a Housemade Porcini Fettuccini with Fiddlehead Fern and Black Olive Escabeche. Let me take a moment to stress three words “Housemade Porcini Fettuccini." It was such a creative concept and highly successful on the plate. I have never tasted Fiddlehead Ferns. They added the perfect crunch and created a very artistic touch to the presentation! The Black Olive Escabeche added such an unusual twist to the flavor profile. The Vinedos Los Vientos Tannat IGT wine paired with this dish had great acidity to compliment the rather earthy flavors of porcini mushrooms and black olives.
Tannat is a red wine grape, historically grown in South West France in the Madiran AOC, and is now one of the most prominent grapes in Uruguay where it is considered the "national grape”?
The main course was Lamb T-bone Chops with Mint Chimichurri and Pistachio Currant Cous Cous. What a great composition on the plate. TheChimichurri went so well with the lamb. It cut the natural heaviness of the lamb with its fresh herb flavors. The couscous was to die for. It was earthy and nutty, with small burst of sweetness of the currants. I could not stop until every little morsel was safely in my mouth. The wine paired with this dish was Vinedos Los Vientos Tannat Gran Reserva. It was a made with 85% light Tannat and 15% Ruby Cabernet and it did a perfect job of cutting the fattiness of the lamb.
I need to sit down before I start talking about the dessert course. What a stunning composition it was! A Goat Cheese, Honey and White Pepper Cheese Cake paired with Vinedos Los Vientos “Alcyon” Tannat Dessert Wine. The cheese cake was made with equal part of cream cheese and goat cheese. The cream cheese created the light creamy texture and the goat cheese added to that creaminess while infusing it with this delectable dimension of subtle tartness. The crust at the bottom was made with incredibly crunchy graham crackers. It had the perfect texture to complement the creaminess of the cheese cake. As I started to bite into the cheese cake I could taste delicate notes of the white pepper towards the end. And I could not resist exclaiming, “Wow”!
The dessert wine was so delicious that it could be a dessert in itself. Many diners could not resist ordering some bottles to take home with them. Some of us talked of different ways we could enjoy it…the idea of freezing it into decadent popsicles was thrown around once or twice. I am not kidding! :-)