Ruth’s Chris Tastemaker Dinners: Chateau Montelena

Ruth’s Chris, the famous steakhouse chain, announces their new line-up of their famous Tastemaker dinner series’.  A tastemaker sets the standards, deciding or influencing what is worthwhile. The new series of exclusive dinners pairs Ruth’s finest cuisine with today’s tastemakers of wine, champagne and whiskey. Held on six special nights at Ruth’s Chris Steak Houses across the country, they celebrate the best in food, spirits and life.

I was lucky enough to attend the DC dinner featuring wine pairings from Napa Valley’s Chateau Montelena and it was absolutely a night to remember.  Seated family style with like-minded wine and food fanatics, the evening was hosted by food and wine experts explaining each course and the room was filled with new friends, laughter, and the constant murmur of “mmmmmmms” after each bite.  It’s always such a treat to attend a wine dinner, because I find pairing wines to be one of the hardest assignments.  It’s just always amazing to me how different food can taste when paired with the right wine.

Sesame grilled chicken & udon noodle salad.


Pan seared sea scallop with roasted pineapple and a bacon citrus beurre blanc.

Second Course:

The second course was a pan seared sea scallop atop roasted pineapple and a bacon citrus beurre blanc.  It was paired with the award winning Chardonnay and was the single best bite of food I’ve had in DC this year.  The meaty scallop was hard seared on both sides and buttery in the middle.  Complimenting the buttery-ness of the scallop was grilled sweet pineapple and salty, fatty beurre blanc.  A few slivered almonds for crunch, and a buttery Chardonnay to top it all off?  Take me home, I’m done.

Hey girl! Work it!
Portuguese white bean and chorizo stew with grilled crostini.

Course three:

Portuguese white bean and chorizo stew with grilled crostini and the Calistoga Zingandel. Warm comforting stew with heaps of chorizo and a depth of flavor that tasted like the soup had been cooking for days. Paired with the peppery Zinfandel, it made the whole table feel like we were dining at our Italian grandmother’s house and we were warm with comfort and full bellies.

Petite filet mignon and cipollini ragout served with roasted wild mushrooms and cauliflower mash.

The main event:

Petite filet mignon and cipollini ragout served with roasted wild mushrooms and cauliflower mash.  Obviously the steak was cooked to a magnificent medium rare on those signature sizzling plates.  The sweet cipollini ragout added some fat and sweetness to the filet and the simply roasted mushrooms and cauliflower were incredible accompaniments. I don’t even know how to better describe it rather than to say it was a masterfully cooked simple, classic, steakhouse dinner.  It was paired with the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon that was dry and heavy, cutting the fat from the steak course beautifully.

Chocolate dacquoise torte with chambord crème and praline crunch.

Happy Endings:

Finally, the chocolate dacquoise torte with chambord crème and praline crunch topped off with a pairing of the Petite Sirah.  Talk about a decadent finish.  The glistening dark chocolate torte was bitter AND sweet with fun nibbles of fruit, crunch and whipped cream to accentuate the indulgence. The Petite Sirah was the cherry on top – a SERIOUS red wine, that was boozy and bitter and lovely with the dessert.  The last thing I want is a sweet wine with a sweet dessert, so thank you Ruth’s Chris for that lovely pairing.

I cannot think of a better way to spend a date night out at a restaurant than with new friends, INCREDIBLE food and expert wine pairings.  I highly recommend that you check out the upcoming Tastemaker dinners and sign-up for one before they all sell out!

Photos courtesy of Ruth’s Chris.

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