Chow Aims For the Perfect Pairing.Anybody who has talked to me in the last few months about new restaurants, knows how I feel about Chow. Breakfast and lunch at this relatively new eatery are fabulous. There are plenty of standards on the menu like biscuits and gravy and eggs benedicts, but the variety, quality and reasonable prices are what keep bringing me back.
For lunch the multi-grain salad with fried chickpeas is a must, as well as the pumpkin gnocchi with crispy parma ham.
When owner/chef David Touvell opened his doors for dinner, I waited for the perfect opportunity to sample his evening creations. That opportunity came in mid-March in the form of a five-course wine dinner featuring bottles from Italy's Piedmont region.
Chow's amiable atmosphere lent itself beautifully to the family-style set-up, with each 12-person table stretching from one end of the cottage to the other. Rob Fillipponi from Galaxy Wine Company (formerly Newport Market) was on hand to describe what we would be drinking as the first course made its way to the table.
We started with a light and cool scallop and hamachi cruda dressed with parsley vinaigrette and served with thin slices of artichoke heart and yellow tomato confit. The dish was paired with an equally light 2006 Pio Cesare Cortese di Gavi, fresh on the tongue with some slight herbal flavors hitting the back of the palate.
The second course was a lobster angolloti served with a buttery 2005 Pio Cesare Arneis that brought out the beautifully layered flavors of the delicate lobster, browned butter, sage and nutmeg. The scallop and lobster lasagna came next and was paired with a 2005 Baroli Langhe "Super-Piedmonte" Anna - a match I questioned at first but warmed up to as the richness of the lobster and pine nuts stood up to the body of the Anna.
Course four was an out-of-this-world beef cheek and sweet bread ravioli paired perfectly with a 2001 Barolo from Prunetto. Chow offers the ravioli as a side dish with the beef tenderloin on the regular dinner menu, and I highly recommend it. Our last dinner course was a simple, perfectly-roasted pork loin rubbed with fennel seed and served on braised red cabbage. Luckily, I saved a little of the Barolo, since the Marchesi di Gresy Martinega Nebbiolo lacked a bit of body for the fattiness of pork - although it worked very nicely for a bit of post-meal sipping.
We finished with Moscati d'asti (a sparkling dessert wine), homemade biscotti and house-dried figs, cherry and apricots in a sweet syrup. We all agreed that we were satisfied, but not stuffed, and had wonderful lingering tastes on the tongue without suffering from palate overload - just the way a good meal should leave a deserving diner. All in all, my first dinner at Chow qualified as a near-perfect meal.
Touvell plans to hold monthly wine dinners, offering a variety of menus and themes from approximately $75/person. This proved to be a wonderfully social and satisfying way to sample Chow, as well as try some wine that had not yet crossed my radar.