Marché's Valentine's Day Wine Dinner Makes Me Dance, Moan a Little (In a Good Way)

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Last night we walked over to Marché for our first experiment with Marché's wine dinners, done in conjunction with neighbor (and favorite recent Five Points addition) Woodland Wine Merchant.

We knew we'd be getting four courses with subsequent wine pairings, but I didn't know if it would be more of a tasting. Hear me, these were full pours. If you're the type of person who likes to drink a lot of wine with dinner (hello!) then this $40 fixed-price menu was quite the deal. I don't know anywhere where you can get four courses and four (delightful) glasses of wine for that kind of value.

Now on to the food.

The first course brought a shallow bowl cradling goat cheese raviolini paired with finely chopped portabello mushrooms and a light stock. The whole thing was topped with a dollop of herb butter. The dish was light and earthy, and I ended up mopping up the residual combination of stock and butter with a chewy piece of Tuscan bread.

Scallops, have I told you lately that I love you? The second dish might have been the evening's highlight. A perfectly seared scallop was nestled next to a vibrant orange pepper purée (very simple, my guess: peppers, olive oil, salt, pepper) and topped with a crisp piece of house-cured pancetta. This dish was the ultimate example of less is more--there were really only three things on the plate--but the marriage of ingredients created a perfect mouthful of food. Even my somewhat pepper-averse companion would have licked his plate, if he wasn't so civilized.

Finally, we got our short ribs. If I was made of short ribs, I would eat myself. This dish was also exquisitely simple: a beautifully braised short rib, pink on the inside and fork-tender, paired with a potato gratin topped with sharp cheese and featuring a delightful zip thanks to loads of black pepper. I don't eat very much red meat, so when I'm exposed to a perfect piece of it--be it steak, short ribs or even killer brisket--I tend to do some mild, involuntary dancing in my chair. There can also be some slight moaning. It's awkward.

The final course was a molten chocolate cake with brandied cherries. Rich, delicious and the perfect size. Overall, we left full but not stuffed and nicely buzzed--happy Valentine's Day indeed.

Then we got to come home and watch Lost. Heaven.

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