Wine and food, belong together. At the very least they can make each other taste better; and in the best of circumstances, the result can be downright thrilling. And thrilling, indeed, was our experience at the Wine Dinner this past Friday at Fulton’s Crab House.
Fulton’s, the seafood-centric restaurant in the heart of Downtown Disney celebrated the final weeks of summer with a delightful three-course surf and turf dinner paired with three complimentary wines. Our delightful evening commenced with a wine reception with an indulgent Lobster Station, one of a kind Seafood Charcutiere Display while sipping on the refreshing and effervescent Bulles 2010. Followed with an sensational three-course sit down menu meticulously crafted by Executive Chef Mark Boor with hand-selected wines by the charismatic Thomas Hemmings, Stacole.
Needless to say, I came prepared with a hungry belly, my trusted note 4, and the exceptionally talented The Bokeh Studio to capture the essence of our exciting wine dinner.
Welcome Reception paired with Bulles 2010, Jean Francois Merieau, Loire Valley, France. A blend of 80% Chenin Blanc and 20% Chardonnay, organically grown and aged on the lees for 18-20 months, Bulles sparkling is crisp, with notes of pear, melon, and brioche.
Lobster Guacamole Action Station – avocado, chilies, cilantro, lime, vine ripe tomato, corn tortilla planks. Buttery avocado, sweet meat of lobster, sparkling chenin – man, does life taste good!
Seafood Charcutiere display house smoked Ahi tuna “bacon”, pastrami cured King Salmon, Shrimp Escabeche, assorted pickled vegetables, crostinis and Cipollini Jam. Did I mention the ONLY restaurant in town boasting a seafood charcutiere platter? This should be a staple in Fulton’s.
First Course: Grouper en Papillote, heirloom tomato, shiitake, spaghetti squash, foie gras butter. Paired with Alysian Chardonnay 2011, Russian River Valley, California. There’s a certain drama that surrounds cooking en papillote. Unwrapping the parchment paper that holds your meal adds an air of excitement, something not too dissimilar to opening a gift. And the incredible aromas which envelop your senses once this delicious gift is sliced open itself is priceless. Fresh grouper elevated with the richness of foie gras butter, finished with specks of black lava sea salt. Are you hungry yet?
Thomas paired it with a crafting of small lot, ultra premium Russian River Chardonnay. Wine maker Gary Farrell‘s interpretation of the classic noble grape Chardonnay who considers blending grapes a lost art, creates this refreshing Chardonnay by investing in blending his vineyard sites to create a balanced wine. Yes it sees malolactic fermentation, toast and oak, it is aged in French Oak for 24 month. Yet the result is a subtle, lively, and fresh wine boasting bright acidity, crisp citrus fruit, lean stature, with complimenting notes of honey and fresh-cut pear. It just might be the best-well kept secret Chardonnay that no one is drinking.
Second Course: Manhattan Filet prime filet cut from the striploin, caramelized Cipollini onion, confit tomato, sauce bordelaise, roasted marrow. Paired with Textbook Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Napa Valley, California.
For the only red wine of the evening, Thomas aimed at featuring something that makes a statement, is fantastic in every way, and one you may not have tried before. He chose a classic Napa wine that works with red meat. It retains not only the character of Napa but the vision of the wine making team (Jon and Susan Pey, talented & passionate vignerons), and because it is drinking beautifully. What one looks for in Cabernet for a tasting menu is the sinuous, silky structure of tannins that will help elevate the red meat, bring out the sweetness of the red meat. The 2013 Textbook Cabernet Sauvignon was fresh vibrant, fruit forward, with brambly notes, cassis, and intense tannins. It connected beautifully with the Manhattan Steak.
Speaking of the steak, Executive Chef Boor wanted the marbling of a NY strip with butteriness of a filet. By cross utilizing ingredients such as heirloom tomatoes, he broke up the richness of the bordelaise sauce and veal stock with confit tomatoes, fresh herbs and garlic, and topped it with acidity and tie earthiness back with steak and sauce of the caramelized cipollini onions. We were certainly in food induced coma!!
Third Course: Georgia Peaches wood grilled, bourbon French toast, vanilla bean mascarpone, mint simple syrup. Paired with Broadbent Madeira, 5 Year Reserve, Isle of Madeira. The wines drunk by our founding fathers to toast the signing of the Declaration of Independence is reported to have been from Madiera. Madiera wines comes from a small, rugged, picturesque volcanic island of the same name Madiera. With its toffee-caramel like notes, it has attractive fruitiness and aged citrus acidity that go together, leaving a wine that is both sweet but also fresh.”
This time of the year Georgia Peach ripe and juicy, were the incontestable choice for Executive Chef Boor. Wood grilled to bring out the natural sugars and smoke, makers whiskey, decadent mascarpone. An ideal finale to our exquisite meal.
Mille Grazie (thousand thanks) to the Men of the Hour – Executive Chef Mark Boor and Thomas Hemmings, Stacole Wine for captivating our senses, and the entire staff of Fulton’s Crab House for executing a delicious and memorable evening despite the unwelcoming pouring rain and inconvenient parking experience (due to heavy construction downtown Disney).
Located in Downtown Disney, Fulton’s Crab House serves exceptional seafood and shellfish ranging from Alaskan king crab, snow crab, blue crab and more. An eleven-time winner of Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, Fulton’s Crab House is open for lunch daily from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and for dinner from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Reservations are accepted and can be made by calling 407.934.2628.