Thursday, November 3, 2011

La Truffle Sauvage Wine Dinner: Lake Charles, LA

Restaurant Review
La Truffle Sauvage, Lake Charles, LA

I arrived at a driveway leading to what looked like an upscale brick home and stepped inside to find a restaurant glowing in candlelight. The tables were covered in fine white cloths with centerpieces of slim breadsticks surrounded by low votives.  This was La Truffle Savage Restaurant in Lake Charles, co-owned by Chef Mohamed Chettouh and Arthur Durham.
A banquet table had been set aside with hundreds of wine glasses and the popping of
champagne corks filled the air. Soon a waiter arrived with a tray of the bubbly.
How lovely, I thought; I'm very fortunate to attend this gourmet wine dinner.

Hors d’Oeurves
Copper River smoked salmon, Yukon Gold potato blini
Black Mission fig, Proscuitto di Parma
beef pailliard en crostini
N.V. Lallier, Brut, Grand Reserve, Grand Cru 

I was seated at a table for eight and Jared Cocke, a fine wine specialist was introduced.  He began by speaking about the French champagne we were sipping.  He explained that it came from Lallier, France; was a dry brut, grand reserve, and grand cru from a vineyard known for its chalky white soil. The clear taste was a perfect accompaniment to the hors d'oeurves of smoked salmon, potato blinis with fig and crostini topped with Prosciutto cheese over a slice of beef.

1st Course
Pan Seared Natural Sea Scallop in the Shell
sauté spinach, sweet vermouth sauce
2008 Chablis, Domaine William Fevre, Bougros, Côte Bougerots, Grand Cru

The first course served was a jumbo sized scallop, seared to perfection so it was brown on the outside and still moist and tender on the inside.  The 2008 Chablis, another grand cru, came from a 25-acre vineyard using 100-percent chardonnay grapes. The flavor was crisp, vibrant and clean.  

2nd Course
Morel Mushroom Risotto
shaved White Alba truffle, Pecorino cheese, truffle oil
2001 Michele Chiarlo, Barolo, Riserva, Triumviratum

The next dish was a mixture of tantalizing morel mushroom risotto covered with shavings of white ruffle and Pecorino cheese, and a drizzle of truffle oil.  I could have ended my dinner here; this serving was delicious enough for the entire meal. The creamy kernels were accompanied by a classic pairing: a 2001 Michele Chiarlo, Barolo Riserva, Triumvaratum- a rare wine (that means expensive!) and blend of three vineyards, aged for 10 years.

3rd Course
Pheasant Breast stuffed with Leek & Fennel
ginger parsnip, carrot, zucchini and natural jus
2008 Chambertin, Domaine Louis Jadot, Clos-de-Beze, Grand Cru

This course consisted of a pheasant breast stuffed with leek and fennel and partnered with  parsnip, carrot, zucchini and natural jus. My table had a wonderful discussion on the joys of parsnips- a vegetable none of us had ever tasted growing up. The pheasant roll looked like a complex preparation, tasted non-gamey- more like a chicken thigh and was paired with an exceptional 2008 Chambertin, Jadot, Clos-de-Beze, grand cru.  Apparently only 1884 bottles were made from Pinot Noir grapes that were concentrated and aged.  The wine expert said it had great weight on the palate. My opinion- joyous.

4th Course
Tomato Tartare, Warm Goat Cheese, Kalamata Olive Tappenade
basil & lemon oil
2010 Chateau D’Agueria, Tavel, Rosé

I was getting quite full and thought this would be the course to skip. But happily, I did not, as the flavor combinations were some of the best I have ever tasted. I bite into a scrumptious mound of  tomato tartare with warm goat cheese and a crispy bread slice with dollop of Kalamata olive tapenade. The tomato was tangy,  powerfully vibrant and downright zestful. Just thinking about it, makes me wish I could taste it again. I  sipped pink and sweet yet spicy 2010, Chateau D'Aqueria Rosé.  Bravo.

5th Course
Roasted Lamb Loin
Pomme Anna, braised artichoke heart, asparagus, Bordelaise sauce
2007 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon, SLV
The fifth course or main entree arrived as three slices of roasted lamb loin with sides of Potatoes Anna, braised artichoke heart, asparagus and a Bordelaise sauce.  The meat glistened a lovely garnet color and boasted a salt and pepper crust. It simply melted in your mouth.  This exquisite preparation seemed unworldly. The 2007 Stag's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon, SLV, the only wine I was familiar with, blossomed full bodied and the vintage was a great year.  Even I could perceive the cherry notes and loved the aftertaste

6th Course
Warm Peach Tart, Nectarine Gelato
star anise crème anglaise
2006 Gunderloch, Nackenheim Rothenberg, Riesling, Auslese

Dessert came as a colorful plate - slices of peach tart with a dollop of crème anglaise, nectarine gelato
and raspberry accents.  What a light and mildly sweet ending to the decadent meal. Along with it, I lingered on the German Riesling dessert wine with sweet and floral notes.

And if that wasn't quite enough, a dish of fine chocolate truffles appeared to bid us adieu.
Truffles from start to finish--at La Truffle Savage!

Lake Charles is fortunate to have La Truffle Savage and the extraordinary talents of the co-owner/chefs. They insist the restaurant maintain the highest standards and certainly proved themselves with this amazing wine dinner. I would happily return and highly recommend it if you visit Southwest Louisiana.

The evening was a preliminary event of the Lake Charles Rouge et Blanc Wine and Food Festival.
Wow, more wine--I could hardly wait.

Read this and other food blog articles posted on Wanderfood Wednesdays.
La Truffle Sauvage
815 West Bayou Pines Drive
 Lake Charles, LA 70601-7076
Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau