March 11, 1996, V1.00

About three months ago, someone asked our slice of the Internet, 'hsv.general', to identify the most expensive place to eat in Huntsville. The replies narrowed down to the best restaurants; The Green Bottle Grill, Sakura, and Pho's Cafe and Lounge. So when my employer rewarded me for a special task (thanks Boeing), we decided to have dinner for two at the Green Bottle. This page describes the meal (with my thanks to the 'hsv.general' USENET community for their excellent advice).

  • First Course
  • Second Course
  • Third Course
  • Fourth Course
  • Fifth Course
  • Sixth Course

    Note, the opinons on this page are Bob and Holly's: not experts, we enjoy fine food and good wine. As for any spelling, grammar, or styling errors, Bob "leave that wine glass alone" is guilty.

    First Course

    The first wine, Granache Rose, was full bodied without being too sweet. A nice way to start the meal along with fresh, hot bread. It was served with seared yellow fin tuna topped with a modified wasabi sauce (hiding behind the briefly empty wine glass). A mixture of sushi and spiced tuna, Chef Mike Turner opened the meal in a grand way.

    Craig Williams of Joseph Phelps gave an introductory talk about the history of the wines and their vineyards. About 25 years old, Phelps winery has been concentrating on the farming with improved root-stock and vertical trellises.

    Second Course

    The second dish, Holly's favorite and Bob liked too, was carrot timbale, a sweet carrot souffle with sauce verte combined with zestee, pickled mushrooms. Light, sweet, and full of flavor, it nicely complemented the Sauvignon Blanc, a light wine.

    The Chardonnay on the left seemed stronger than the the Savignon Blanc on the right. Absent the next course, the Chardonnay initially seemed a bit much.

    During the meal, Craig Williams visted each table and talked about the wines.

    Third Course

    The best and most magical dish, spicy grilled seafood stew with Pernod, salvaged the Chardonnay. What had seemed an intense white wine suddenly became the soothing complement and contrast to the seafood dish. The dish was not "firey hot" but had a warmth that cut through the strength of the Chardonnay. Mussel, scallop, crab, shrimp, and fish in a tasty clear sauce, we wiped the plate clean with slices of fresh bread, every morsel and drop of sauce.

    Fourth Course

    The boiled beef tongue with caper tarragon mayonnaise and Belgian endive brought back memories of momma boiling tongue all day and trying to serve it to five ornery brothers. Eight years old, I remember how we used to say, "Tongue, yeck!" and grudgingly chew it as if we were being forced to eat old shoe leather. Later, mom would grind it up with Miricle Whip and sweet pickles for sandwiches. We'd scrunch up our faces but eat'em all up, every bit.

    Chef Mike Turner spent two days making the tongue and it was every bit as good as momma used to make. The Cabernet Sauvignon, 1992, was full bodied but still seemed a little young. One more year and it will be a grand Cabernet. There was no trouble finishing off the tongue with a bit of mayonnaise on the slightly, oinion like endive.

    Fifth Course

    The wine for the roasted pheasant breast with maple syrup (and Green Bottle black-eye peas), was Le Mistral, a blend of 54% Grenache, 23% Mourvedre, 13% Syrah, 4% Alicante Bouschet, 2% Petite Sirah, 2% Cinsault, and 2% Carignane. Shown on the right, we found it soft, hard to characterize, but certainly a drinkable wine. A darker color than the Cabernet, it was Ok. Sad to say, we've never had a chance to sample many of the grapes in the blend.

    The pheasant was the weakest dish-the skin tough. We like a crisper skin even if the breast winds up dryer. Sad to say, we were half-way through before we realized that unlike fried chicken, we weren't supposed to eat it with our fingers (my but maple syrup is sticky). By the way, the black-eyed peas, a Green Bottle specialty, are terrific.

    Sixth Course

    The final course was served with a delightful dessert wine, a late harvest Riesling, 1994. Clean, without the aftertastes that spoil so many sweet wines, it goes well with coffee. Although not an Anisette, it finished off a fine meal.

    Dessert was banana Beignet, roasted pineapple, and passion fruit glace. Anything sweeter would have been too much with the Riesling.

    It was an evening of fine food, good wine, and excellent service. Certainly our hosts, Chef Mike Turner, owners Anne Polard, Rick Paler, and winemaker Craig Williams, made it an evening to remember.


    Some of the helpful staff who gave us outstanding service.

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