|Warmer weather is finally here, and we are so ready to move the party outside with delicious meals, cocktails and wine pairings to create the perfect atmosphere. Al fresco dining is all about that great ambiance created when all the right elements fall into place; we are setting the table outside under the pergola under string lights, the big planters are blooming with multicolor hydrangeas, and the big glass dome candlesticks are spreading a blanket of warm light all around us. The stereo has the perfect slow jazz in the background as we get the fire going.
|Tonight’s menu is all about the very best of steaks, the king of kings or better yet, the emperor of emperors, Japanese A5 Wagyu beef steaks. When the point of the evening is to enjoy one of the best tasting pieces of meat out there, every other detail must accompany at the same level of quality. Wagyu steaks are never meant to be cooked on an open flame due to the high level of marbling in the meat, so we are heating up the flat cast iron griddle on the grill with local peach wood for just the right amount of light aromatics. While this is coming up to the right cooking temperature, let’s get the rest of the night’s details in order.
|A bar cart stands on the corner of the patio with ingredients for two classic, classy, and delicious cocktails, the Negroni and a classic gin martini. Both cocktails are gin based and perfect for starting the evening. The Negroni, a sweet and bitter concoction made with gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, served on the rocks with an orange peel and the martini made with a London dry gin and white vermouth, stirred, and finished with a lemon twist. Besides the cocktail ingredients we have a chilled bottle of champagne and a couple of decanters with red wine.
|The table, set family style, has place settings covering the outer perimeter of the big stone table and shareable platters placed right in the middle with a green arugula and toasted chickpea salad with a French vinaigrette on a large white ceramic bowl from Portugal, then a large vintage silver platter with garlic and oregano roasted potatoes and a heaping mountain of haricots verts green beans finished in a Dijon mustard and shallot dressing served in an oversized wooden bowl. All that is missing is the star of the show, the incredibly juicy, tender, and flavorful A5 Wagyu steaks.
|To cook the A5 Wagyu New York Strip Steaks, defrosted and kept in the refrigerator until show time, take them out of the cool temperature of the fridge, season with coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper and let them sit to come to room temperature. When ready to cook, just place the steaks right on the hot cast iron flat griddle with no oil and sear each side for 2 minutes; then pull aside and allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting.
|We are ready to eat and enjoy some of the best steaks in the world, and with that comes the right wine which has been breathing for a while in the decanters. Because of the amount of fat in this steak, we will move away from the heavy Bordeaux and go for a high-end Burgundy. The elegant and powerful tannic structure of this wine will stand up to the heavy marbleization of the steak while highlighting notes of black cherry, floral hibiscus, and black tea.
|A night to remember by highlighting the qualities of flavor, taste and joy.