Have you noticed some of the great wines coming out of Washington? The region is definitely garnering some much-deserved attention lately. So, when I was invited to try the “Taste Washington” wine and food pairing menu at Noe restaurant in the Omni Los Angeles Hotel, I excitedly accepted the invitation.
Noe is located in the Omni Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, which sits atop beautiful Bunker Hill. When my husband and I arrived, we were graciously welcomed and seated in their well-appointed dining room. We started off the evening with a glass of Charles Smith Wines “Kung Fu Girl” Riesling from the Columbia Valley growing region. A great choice for an aperitif, offering notes of white peach, melon, and citrus with noticeable acidity.
Chef Christopher Tunnell then arrived at our table with a beautiful cheese plate featuring local Washington cheese, fig jam, and honey. One of the cheeses, “Sleeping Beauty” from Cascadia Creamery, really won me over. Organic, smooth, creamy, and delicious. Along with the Riesling, we were served a glass of Canoe Ridge “Expedition” Pinot Gris from the Horse Heaven Hills region. Both wines paired nicely with the cheese and accompaniments.
Next to arrive was a “Fennel and Apple Salad” with arugula, spiced pecans, blue cheese, and a cherry dressing. Simple, enjoyable flavors that paired well with the Pinot Gris.
Our third course of the evening was a “Dungeness Crab and Snap Pea Soup.” The peas are shelled daily and you could really taste the purity of the fresh pea flavor in the soup. The Dungeness was a delicious touch and this was easily our favorite dish of the evening. Luckily enough, we were also brought our an alternative preparation of the soup as well. Our second version was served chilled and it actually brought out the flavors in the soup even more. I really hope they keep this on their menu for the summer!
“Dungeness Crab Fritters” was the next plate to grace our table. Crispy, crab-filled fritters served with a smoked tomato bacon sauce on the side. I preferred them without the sauce and really enjoyed the fritters with our next wine, The House of Independent Producers Chardonnay. The wine is unoaked so the authentic flavors of the Chardonnay really came through and elevated the taste of the fritters.
Our entrée for the evening was “Cider Braised Beef” with celery root slaw, parsnips, and brussels sprouts. This dish fell a little short for me as it seemed to be a bit over-salted. The beef, however, was tender and cooked well.
We really enjoyed the thoughtful pairing of Nelms Road Cabernet poured with our entrée. This sustainably made wine is balanced, fruit forward, and was a nice complement to the braised meat.
To finish, we were presented a “Granny Apple Crisp” served warm and topped with vanilla ice cream. A simple dish with a straight-forward preparation. Definitely not innovative but the sweet, Washington apple flavor was a nice note to end on.
Overall, I am impressed with the spotlight that Noe and Omni Hotels & Resorts have put on Washington wine and food. The “Taste Washington” menu will be featured in Omni Hotel restaurants across the country through May 31st, 2014, so definitely check it out for a taste of what the region has to offer!
Noe Restaurant Downtown Los Angeles – 251 S Olive St, Los Angeles, CA 90012, (213) 356-4100