Wining and dining | Bleader

Wining and dining

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Made a return trip to Scylla last night and I'm still smitten--though I couldn't help noticing that the portions appeared to have been scaled back since Stephanie Izard first rolled out her revamped menu this winter. There's still nothing stingy about them; just now rather than a heaping trough of baby octopuses (or so it seemed at the time) you get a more reasonable, proportionate serving  (tossed with shocking green favas, pancetta, and, cause it's spring, spicy little ramps). My crew of four shared two appetizers (the octopus and grilled calamari, stuffed with rich wild boar sausage) and three entrees: gnocchi with clams in a heavenly poblano-truffle broth, seared diver scallops, and rare, tender slices of lamb sirloin served with, among other things, strawberry compote. Weird! And delish.

But the real surprise was the wine. I gravitated toward this Black Chook shiraz-viognier blend because I've had good luck with the brand (a friend who was party to my experiments with sparkling shiraz gave me a bottle of their interpretation for my birthday) and also because at $38 it was anchoring the low end of the list. It was tart and peppery at the first sip but within five minutes it had opened up into a velvety smooth but still lively wine. In fact--and I always cringe when wineheads start running on like this but I'm going there anyway--it was downright sexy. The shiraz dominates, keeping the spice and ripe fruitiness front and center, but the 5 percent viognier rounds it out in ways I usually associate with stuff that I can't afford. Check it out.

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