Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fish Wine

We spent a memorable weekend in a snowy New York City.

After a long afternoon in the American Museum of Natural History, it was difficult hailing a cab in the driving snow along Central Park West, so we ducked into the subway. After a long cross-station walk, we caught the #7 shuttle from Times Square to Grand Central, arriving at dinner-time. A perfect night to eat at the Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station.

The menu is huge. The wine list is long. Decisions are difficult.

Actually, the wine was easy.

Some of the greatest fish wines in the world come from France's Loire Valley. Whether it's Muscadet from Nantes, Chenin Blanc from Savenierres or Vouvray, or Sauvignon Blanc (I like to just say Sauvignon) from the inland valleys, the wines are fresh and clean, driven by citrus and mineral flavors with high acidity that clears the palate and makes you want more to eat and drink.

While more expensive appellations produce amazing wines, the basic wines of the appellations are delicious unto themselves, offering great flavors at fair prices. I ordered a young Sauvignon from Touraine. I did not know the producer, but the region is known for high basic level of quality. The price was within my budget and the wine was delicious.

My special treat was ordering a few oysters. Normally raw seafood is off my diet due to my lowered level of immune-suppression necessary to protect my transplanted kidney and I have been real strict through the years. Susan smiled and said go for it. The provenance of the Oyster Bars oysters is as tight as can be found. I ordered a few old friends and one new, an extra-large beauty from Wianno Bay on the southern shore of Cape Cod. As you can see, the oysters are harvested from icy cold water.
The bivalve was so large I had to cut it into two bites. I felt immersed in the Atlantic with bursting sweet, briny, ocean flavors. Washed down with a swallow of wine, I felt reborn. Experience confirmed with the second bite.

Main courses followed. Susan had Salmon served with a Béarnaise, I had a grilled Branzino served with lemon, capers and olive oil. It was a great meal and we had great wine and stayed within budget.

For desert it was a short walk to Junior's in the food concourse where we enjoyed their classic cheesecake.

Then walked through an empty Grand Central and a couple of snowy blocks to our hotel. And I think we fell asleep. Happy.

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