Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Eve Dinner - Part 1

Our New Year’s Eve dinner at Cuvée came with the package at our hotel in Napa. When I checked the menu before the trip, I was pleasantly surprised at the interesting choices. The weather was miserable, so we were glad the restaurant was within walking distance of the hotel.

 Carpaccio of Ruby Beets
First course:
Larry selected Carpaccio of Ruby Beets – salad with house pickled onions, pancetta, pecans, and chevre drizzled with a maple-mustard cider vinegarette
Mizuna and Baby Romaine
Judy selected Mizuna and Baby Romaine – organic lettuces with gingerbread croutons, dried cranberries, roasted onion rings, pumpkin seeds, dry gouda and honey-laced warm cider dressing.

But before our first course even arrived, we were served a half bottle of champagne and an amuse bouche of endive, prosciutto, roasted apple and goat cheese with mizuna and walnut vinegarette. I love restaurants that serve amuse bouches!
Amuse Bouche

We had decided to take our own wines for the evening since Cuvée's by-the-glass selection was rather limited. Trying to guess at what would pair with the various courses was challenging. We selected Grgich Hills Estate 2008 Napa Valley Chardonnay to accompany the first two courses and ultimately decided to purchase a half bottle of Grgich Hills Estate 2007 Zinfandel for the third course.

I’m not terribly fond of champagne, but I have to admit it paired well with both the amuse bouche and also Larry’s first course. Our chardonnay selection was too light for my salad. The combination of the gingerbread croutons and rich cranberries overpowered the wine. This was an amazing salad and if I can figure out how to do the croutons, this will definitely appear on my holiday menu next year.

Sonoma foie gras
Second course:
Larry selected Seared Sonoma Foie Gras – bronzed foie, butter roasted chestnuts, chestnut puree, maple brown butter emulsion with pumpkin chutney, brioche and cranberry.
Judy selected Caraway Cured Salmon – house cured king salmon topped with winter salad of fennel, apples, toasted hazelnuts, preserved lemon, celery leaves and a swirl of yogurt and grain mustard.

Caraway cured salmon
The chardonnay was not robust enough to stand up to the rich flavors of the foie gras, pumpkin and cranberries in Larry’s second course. This was the first time either of us had ordered foie gras, so we didn't realize just how rich it would be, especially with this preparation. On the other hand, the chardonnay was perfect for the light citrusy flavors of my salmon.

Meyer lemon granita

The first two courses were followed by in intermezzo of Meyer lemon granita with micro-basil as a palate cleanser. Very refreshing, it paved the way for the third course. Stay tuned for the next installment to read about the rest of our excellent New Year's Eve dinner.


  1. I'm jealous! I didn't do much for New Years dinner, just mac and cheese, chicken marsala and a boozy fruit cake. Your meal looks so tasty!

  2. OOOhhh!!! So jealous!! What a wonderful meal! I can't wait for part 2!

  3. What a great way to start the New Year!

  4. Definitely and interesting menu. I guess I would have expected a better offering of wines (price access is key!) from a Napa restaurant.


  5. Jason - They had an excellent by-the-bottle wine list, but most were quite expensive and I knew there was no way we would drink multiple whole bottles. It was more thrifty to take our own and pay the corkage fee.