Monday, September 5, 2011

Cobalt Grille - Monthly Wine Dinner

I have been to many wine tastings over the years. I've visited various vineyards, festivals and tastings hosted by different restaurants. There are generally no real surprises. You go, you taste, you buy. Simple.

What attracted me to the Cobalt Grille wine dinner was that the tasting was centered around a specific wine region and the wines were carefully paired with food. The spotlight is definitely on the wine, but the meal that accompanies is well thought out and executed quite nicely.

The August wine dinner took us to the Napa Valley where I got to sample Sauvingon Blanc, Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvingon and Zinfandel.

The first course was a plate of seared scallops with roasted silver queen corn and tomato salad with a sun dried tomato aioli. This course was served with the 2008 Sawyers Cellars Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc is my favorite white wine and I was delighted when it hit the table. It was light and fruity but not sweet.

The second course was pan fried branzini over spinach salad with a saffron broth. It was served with the 2008 Smith-Madrone Chardonnay. I never order Chardonnay. It is just too acidic for my tastes. I sipped it alone and as expected, I didn't like it. However, when I took a bite of the branzini and then sipped the wine ... perfection! It really was amazing to me how palatable the wine was with the fish.

The third course was a wild mushroom and goat cheese tart, served with an arugula balsamic reduction. It was served with the 2009 Novy Family Winery Syrah. For me, this wine was the star of the evening. It was full and rich and delicious and I enjoyed it with the tart but could also sip it alone.

The main course was a roasted beef filet, apple wood smoked bacon braised cabbage, Provence roasted potatoes, red wine bordelaise sauce. The meal was absolutely fantastic. The filet was cooked to a perfect medium temperature and the cabbage was like nothing I had ever tasted. It was served with the 2004 Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon. Typically, I am not a fan of cabernet and the Smith-Madrone did nothing to change my mind. It was a huge, robust wine that was just too much for me.

For dessert we were presented with a lovely chocolate cheesecake with local figs and pistachios. It was paired perfectly with the 2009 August Briggs "Old Vines" Zinfandel. The zin was my second favorite of the evening. It was rich and aromatic and not too sweet but was lovely with the dessert.

The Cobalt Grille monthly wine dinner was a delight. The service was wonderful and each course was brought out professionally and efficiently. There was not a lot of waiting and I was lucky enough to be seated with the wine host, so I got plenty of details about the event and about what I was drinking. He was an excellent host.

The price for the dinner is $90 per person and for my money, it was well worth it. You also have the opportunity to purchase any of the wines served that evening. The next dinner is scheduled for September 29th and I would highly recommend it.

1624 Laskin Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
(757) 333-3334

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Burtons Grill

I love Burtons Grill so I thought it was about time to update my 2009 review.

After a few hours of shopping on Friday I was in the mood for seafood and I thought Burtons would be a good choice. Their menu is quite varied and I'm sure that Burtons can accommodate whatever it is that you are looking for, whether it be a sandwich, burger, steak or seafood.

The atmosphere in Burtons is comfortable and family friendly but it would also be perfect for a special date night. When we arrived without a reservation we were greeted with a smile and seated immediately. One of the things that I love about Burtons' menu is that the specials are listed right inside the menu and they consist of an appetizer, entree, drink and their special 100th wine. I don't have to wait for the server to explain the specials but they are on hand in the event that I have any questions.

I started the meal with the drink special which was an apple martini. The rim was sugar coated and the drink smelled like apple pie. It was wonderful.

As an appetizer I ordered the she-crab soup.

It was warm and delicious and filled with big lumps of crab. It was not overly seasoned and the flavors of the crab and sherry really came through.

As an entree I ordered the shrimp and lobster pasta

Burtons is not stingy when it comes to portion sizes. The shrimp in this dish were huge and they were cooked perfectly. The lobster was plentiful, sweet and tender. The dish also had tomatoes, snap peas -- which added a beautiful pop of color and a very mild sauce.

We also ordered the shrimp and grits

I've had shrimp and grits in quite a few places around town but never like this. There were five jumbo shrimp served atop a grit cake. The sauce included andouille sausage, corn and green peppers. All those flavors combined were fabulous. The grit cake tasted good but it was a little heavy. Next time I'll know not to order an app if I want to finish this dish.

Our server, Adam was very helpful and attentive. He knew the menu and made many good suggestions. The service was great.

Dining at Burtons is always a good choice. Their menu always includes fresh and local items prepared to perfection. The prices are on the high end, but it is so worth it. If you haven't been to Burtons lately you really need to check it out.

741 First Colonial Road

Virginia Beach, VA 23451

(757) 422-8970

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Burtons Grill LLC on Foodio54