Dinner at Tour d'Argent
I commented on the bulletin board about how abysmal the food was at this restaurant, but the views are magnificent, the wine list extraordinary, and the quality of the service impeccable. The quenelles tasted as if they were made with crushed styrofoam in a heavy sauce. I felt badly that I left 60% of them on my plate (and I was hungry!). The restaurant's famous pressed duck had no flavor and the gritty sauce tasted as if someone had dumped in several spoonfuls of dirt. My neighbor had a relatively tasty terrine of foie gras, but tasteless spring lamb was inexcusable. Bottom line, this is a place to go for the great wine list and view, not for the food.
As for the wines, a remarkably young, vibrant bottle of 1976 Riesling from Trimbach's famed Close Ste. Hune was a terrific start for the evening. It was followed by a big, buttery, mineral-infused 1986 Coche Dury Meursault Les Perrières and three perfect wines ... a pristine 1990 Rayas, a surreal 1985 Ponsot Chambertin (about as great a Burgundy as I have had over the last few years), and a sumptuous bottle of Fonseca's 1948 vintage port. The wines more than made up for the food.
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Petit Louis Bistro
A lookalike, authentic French bistro, Petit Louis in Baltimore's Roland Park is the creation of restauranteurs par excellence Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman. You feel like you’ve walked into a bistro on the Left Bank of Paris when you enter Petit Louis. The food is classic bistro, and they do it well. All of the courses we had were flavorful, sometimes a trifle rustic, but delicious in their intensity. This was good comfort food prepared extremely well. The wines started with one of the major surprises for me over the last year, the 2006 sparking wine from Tony Soter in Oregon. I had this several times while I was out visiting Oregon, and I had always been impressed, but this is a 10-year-old sparking Rosé that is just sensational, and I’m talking world class—it’s that good. Something this good from France would cost at least two to three times as much, so kudos to Tony Soter. The 1995 Billaud-Simon Chablis Mont de Milieu was oxidized and undrinkable. The 1996 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos St. Urbain Rangen de Thann was sweet, and although it went well with the foie gras, it was just a little too unctuous and sweet a wine...