Restaurant Le Cinq
For a Michelin three-star restaurant, this was a technically proficient meal, but it lacked anything compelling or profound. It was enjoyable, albeit uninspiring, cuisine. My favorite course was the langoustines from Breton (the chef is from Brittany). However, Le Cinq's spectacular dining room is one of the most beautiful dining venues I have ever seen.
The wines began with an extremely young 1996 Salon, which has 20-30 years of life ahead of it. It is tight and crisp as well as impressively clean and pure. That was followed by a magnum of Louis Carillon's 2000 Puligny Montrachet Les Réferts, which was very good, but again, serviceable more than inspiring. A magnum of 1990 Château Latour exhibited gorgeous crème de cassis fruit, sweet tannin, and full-bodied, opulent flavors. It remains youthful and primary in its freshness and fruit-driven style. This 1990 needs another 5-10 years of bottle age to reach full maturity, although its sweet tannins and opulence provide undeniable appeal already.
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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...