Thursday, June 21, 2012

home wine kitchen (2) - maplewood, mo

www.homewinekitchen.com
7322 manchester road
maplewood, mo 63143

just over a month ago carrie and i made our long overdue first visit to home wine kitchen for lunch with their highly touted burger being the main object of my desire. the meal was a hit and while the burger lived up to and actually exceeded my expectations, the other dishes we tried were all excellent as well. i knew as we left the restaurant on that day that a return for dinner would be in our near future, and when my parents prompted carrie to chose a restaurant for our family to celebrate her birthday, home wine kitchen was an easy choice.
with a reservation for five made via telephone a couple days prior, the five of us entered the restaurant a few minutes past our scheduled seating time of 6 o' clock, and were led through the then empty restaurant to a table in the back corner of the restaurant. unbeknownst to us, our meal actually took place during the week of home's first anniversary, and the menu was a 'greatest hits' of sorts celebrating the restaurant's most raved offerings. aside from the regular menu, which is divided into the categories of starters, entrees, and sides, a three course chef's menu was also available for the very reasonable price of $32. after careful consideration, orders were placed with my mother, carrie, and myself ordering al a carte while my father and brother opted for the chef's menu.
to pair with our first courses, i selected a bottle of 2011 laurenz singing gruner veltliner. with a nice acidity and flavors of apple, citrus, and a touch of spice, this was a fairly prototypical gruner that was enjoyed by everyone at the table.
for my first course, i opted for the scallop crudo plated with radish, mint, meyer lemon, and pink peppercorns. while this dish definitely appealed to me texturally, it fell a bit short in terms of flavor, as everything was a bit more bland than i expected. i believe that this was my first time with raw scallops, so i am unsure if they typically lack the sweetness i am accustom to when enjoying them seared. to be clear, this was by no means a bad dish, it just wasn't quite what i was expecting.
the mushroom confit with rosemary, garlic, sourdough, and goat cheese was carrie's opener, and also fell into the category of good but not great.
for our entrees, my father, brother, and i shared a bottle of the 2009 chandler hill pinot noir while carrie and my mother both made selections by the glass. coming from oregon's willamette valley, the wine was fruity yet earthy, and was a good match with my duck and their pork.
while the opening courses for both carrie and myself were slightly disappointing, both of our entrees certainly made up for it. pictured above is my selection, duck breast on polenta with honey, riesling, lavender, and savory. this was a knockout on all accounts, as the bird was tender and flavorful while the polenta was subtly sweet and absolutely delicious.
faring as well as my duck if not better, carrie's main course was a beef fillet with peppercorns, mashed potatoes, and herbs. essentially steak au poivre, the beef was cooked nicely to medium rare, and was great in terms of both flavor and texture. the accompanying potatoes were also excellent, possessing a nice smokey flavor.
on the side, an order of brussels sprouts with prosciutto, figs, and butter was enjoyed.
for dessert, i opted to with the same thing i had for lunch a few weeks back. here we have sea salt biscuits with goat cheese and jam. like last time, the biscuits arrived at the table piping hot, and were excellent with the tart cheese and sweet jam.
carrie went with the lemon pudding cake, which according to her was cool, creamy, and tart.

in summary, our dinner at home wine kitchen lived up to the expectations set by our very enjoyable lunch. service was friendly and knowledgeable, the room was energetic, and the food was all at least good but mostly excellent. what i like about chef vire's cooking is that she keeps things relatively simple but yet is able to tweak things slightly to create unexpected yet accessible and delicious flavors. being that the dinner menu changes weekly, i think that home has definitely earned a spot in our st. louis dining rotation.

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