Gourmet Wine Getaways , www.gourmetwinegetaways.com. hosted dinner tonight the the Comedy Club in Hermosa Beach. 60 people in attendance to have dinner at the Lounge, cooked by Christine Brown (formerly of Restaurant Christine) and wines provided by Karen Steinwachs of Buttonwood Winery.
Got to the venue a bit early so we walked around Hermosa Beach pier. Had not been in this area for a lot of years. The "Lighthouse" was still there. Had the original door an porthole window along with the neon sign. But a big glass window in front now and a classy looking bar. The small stage for the performers was there but the place looked cleaned up from 50 some odd years ago. In the 50's I haunted the place, listening to jazz, seeing numerous big names there that weren't so big at that time. Served my beverage in a "green" glass because I was underage. Nice to see something has survived besides me.
At 6:30 they opened the doors to the Lounge and we were ushered in for dinner. Greeted with a glass of 2016 Buttonwood Estate Sauvignon Blanc. Very nice wine. Not overly grassy nor citrusy. They passed trays of Hors D'Oeuvre's. Prosciutto wrapped papaya, savory mushroom & goat cheese puff pastry and a dill / basil infused shrimp shooter with lemon caper aioli. All very tasty.
After being seated for dinner a large bowl of wild mushroom soup with a mushroom ravioli was served. They had dribbled a herb oil in the soup which made no sense to me. I don't need oil in soup. A 2013 Sta Rita Hills, (Hibbs) Pinot Noir was the wine chosen. A light Pinot but did pair well with the mushrooms.
Next was a roasted rack or pork loin, cauliflower risotto, fennel slaw and a fennel demi glace. Pork was OK, I would have liked it a bit more rare but that is a personal preference. Risotto was good, had a lot of flavor along with the demi glace. Fennel was not over whelming. Best of wine of the night was paired with this dish. a 2014 Estate Cabernet Franc. Very lush wine, velvety on the palate. Hint of chocolate when first tasted
A 2013 Estate Classic Cuvee, bordeaux blend, wine was chosen for the grilled filet mignon, yukon gold scalloped potatoes, grilled asparagus and chimichurri sauce. Wine was good. The beef was medium well which is not my favorite. The potatoes were in a fat pancake form, had very good flavor.. Asparagus had so much oil on it it was inedible. I did not taste the chimichurri because it was sitting in a bed of oil.
Dessert was an olive oil cake with berry compote and blood orange sauce. It needed 3 times as much fruit and sauce to help the cake. What is this fascination with oil tonight ? It is like the chefs that load every dish with micro greens. Less sometimes is more.
I was disappointed in the food. Several items needed just a pinch of salt and why oh why do we have to have a damm herb infused oil on everything. It tainted the flavors of the food items. It wasn't necessary for the dishes. No one would have missed it and some would be thankful it was not there at all. And all the dishes were very large. It was difficult to "clean your plate". Service was slow because they did not have enough staff when it came time to serve dinner. Since the club had not been hosted wine dinners before , the inexperience showed. Perhaps they learned something and next time they will use that knowledge to put a better foot forward.