First of all let me confess, I might have the biggest foodie crush on Executive Chef Greg Richie. He never ceases to impress me with his delectable creations, constantly evolving his immense culinary talent. Needless to say when I heard about his Spring Wine Dinner at Soco featuring five courses crafted by him, each paired with a wine selected especially for the evening, I had to be there….
Chef Greg – “I place a strong emphasis on the integrity of the ingredients I use,” he says, “what I call ‘thoughtfully sourced,’ whether they’re from accountable local growers or purveyors dedicated to sustainable fishing.”
Keeping Chef Greg’s food philosophy in mind, I knew I was in for a treat. 5 courses with 5 wines – only $75 – what an incredible deal? And we lucky diners got to preview is latest creations for the new spring menu.
Without further adieu, let’s talk food and wine…my all time favorite subject. Mille grazie (thousand thanks) to the talented Bokeh Studio for capturing these drool inducing photographs.
First Course: Canaveral Flounder Sashimi – Grapefruit, pink peppercorns, olive oil, sea salt paired with Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc, North Sonoma 2013. White wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño and Vermentino (typically made in stainless steel tanks rather than oak barrels) have a bright, citrusy acidity that acts like a zap of lemon or lime juice to heighten flavors in everything, especially seafood. Chef Greg’s delicate flounder sashimi shined delightfully with the Sauvignon Blanc.
Second Course: Fresh Florida Corn Bisque – crispy Benton’s ham paired with Chalk Hill Chardonnay, Sonoma County 2013. The display of sweet corn in the market exemplifies the onset of spring and summer. Sweet and silky, I could eat this sensational representation of summer every day and still want more….paired with the rich body of a California Chardonnay, it was the perfect pairing.
Third Course: Compressed Pickled Florida Peach & Arugula – goat cheese feta, candied peanuts, lobe cracklings, caramelized shallot-lemon emulsion paired with Symmetry Meritage, Alexander Valley 2012. Bright fruit, earthy flavors, crunchy pig ears, yet another winning pairing with the Meritage wine.
Fourth Course: Char-Grilled Hanger Steak, fingerling potatoes, wild mushroom cabernet reduction paired with Rodney Strong’s Brothers Cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard Alexander Valley 2011. Yes, beef is my personal choice for meat, that said Chef Greg’s creation of this humble cut of meat was yet another demonstration of Chef’s culinary expertise. Perfectly cooked to medium-rare, ultra succulent, full on beefy flavor and richness, swimming in a deeply flavored mushroom sauce – I was in total meat nirvana. Cabernet Sauvginon is the undisputed choice here – California Cabernet, Bordeaux and Bordeaux-style blends are terrific with steaks or chops as firm tannins refresh the palate after each bite of meat.
Fifth Course: Dark Chocolate Pecan Pie, candied bacon paired with Rodney Strong’s ” A True Gentleman’s Port”, Sonoma County 2009. To be candid, I don’t boast much of a sweet tooth, especially chocolate. That said, Chef Greg’s pecan pie, a beloved Southern dessert might just have me a convert. Most ports pair well with chocolate and nuts, especially pecans and walnuts. Our sweet finale to this indulgent evening ended indeed on a fine note bordering on foodgasam.….
One thing I would like to point out is that I sincerely appreciated the “intimate” aspect of Soco’s Spring Wine Dinner. We mingled in the company of like minded gourmands; between the flowing wine, delicious dishes, laughter and love, it was truly an exquisite dining experience.
The next exciting event to be held at Soco’s is their Kentucky Derby Day. Click HERE to make your reservations. PS: Did you know Soco earned the well deserved titles of the Best New Restaurant and Best Chef of Orlando Magazine’s 2015 Dining Awards?