Jade on 36 Restaurant
One of the brilliant restaurants of Shanghai (and there are many of them), this venue also boasts a spectacular view of the city from its 36th floor windows. It has one of the hottest bars in Shanghai for the “beautiful people.” French chef Franck-Elie Laloum, who worked for Sophie Pic and Michel Troisgros before setting shop at this spectacularly beautiful restaurant, designed a meal that was spectacular. The food revealed a classic French preparation with local ingredients. The Chinese green crab in jelly was an unbelievable dish as was the pan-seared goose liver and slowly cooked Turbo filet. Chef Laloum hit all the olfactory senses with the stuffed chicken breast with black truffles as well as the pan-seared Waygu rib eye with an unbelievable pouch of oxtail and parsley named cromesqui. Qualitatively, this was Michelin three-star cooking at its finest.
The wine selection for this dinner for some of the “who’s who” of Shanghai was flawless. We had a bevy of brilliant wines all impeccably served in proper glassware and the correct temperature, something the Chinese seem to do even better than the French and Americans. This was my first look at the 2000 Dom Pérignon Rosé, a super-expensive rarity from Moet-Chandon that represents the greatest rosé Champagne in the world. Always slightly dark-colored for a rosé sparkling wine, it is loaded with flavor. The beautiful, dry 2008 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc (70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillon) offers loads of citrus oil, honey and wood spice notes in a medium-bodied, crisp, surprisingly concentrated, intense style. It should age easily for another 20-30 years. Fully mature and unlikely to get much better is the exotic, succulent 2001 Coche-Dury Chevalier Meursault. Coche-Dury is one of the top two or three reference points for white Burgundy, and this cuvée shows what they can do with Meursault. Notes of hazelnuts, brioche and buttered citrus are presented in a medium-bodied, pure, textured style.
We had six Bordeaux, all superb as well as relatively young. The 1982 Ducru Beaucailloucame directly from the cellars of Bruno Borie’s château. It exhibited a dense ruby/plum/purple color revealing a hint of garnet along with loads of cassis fruit, a full-bodied mouthfeel and that stunning opulence and noble sweetness provided by so many 1982s. The 1996 Ducru Beaucaillou and 1996 Mouton Rothschild showed that Ducru is clearly first-growth in quality if not in name. Both were stunning efforts, with the Ducru revealing more depth and less noticeable oak whereas the Mouton seemed more tannic and oaky. For that reason, it is best cellared for another 5-10 years. The Ducru is close to full adolescence. Strikingly opulent, full-bodied, fleshy and sexy is the 2003 Cos d’Estournel. Of course, it has the most Merlot of any of these first four wines, which was obvious in this ripe, concentrated vintage. While still young, it is tremendously thick and juicy. We then moved to a double magnum of the inky/purple-colored 1995 Angélus. Still extremely young, it remains tannic, backward and loaded with potential, but it is not yet ready for prime time drinking. We finished the Bordeaux flight with the 2001 Petrus, which was much softer and more evolved than the 2000 Petrus. The 2001 revealed lots of caramel, coffee, black plums and black cherries in a full-bodied, opulent, surprisingly approachable style.
Next was a totally mature, complex, smoky 1985 Chave Hermitage. Offering up notes of underbrush, earth, pepper and roasted meats, this complex Rhône was quite a departure from the Bordeaux that preceded it. We ended a wonderful evening of great food, wine and company with the luxurious, honeyed 2003 Guiraud, a blend of 65% Semillon and 35% Sauvignon Blanc that revealed notes of orange marmalade, lemon butter and crème caramels.
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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...