We were staying at the Marriott about three blocks down the street from the restaurant so we decided to walk. Hills are tough on high heels (not mine). The Husic dinner was positioned at the back of the restaurant with guests seated at two parallel rectangular tables in a rear alcove and circular tables arrayed around the alcove opening. Frank Husic sat at the head of one of the rectangular tables while his wife, Julie, sat at the head of the other. Dinner was preceeded by a champagne meet-and-greet after which guests were invited to take their seats.
There was very little ceremony or preamble before waiter service was initiated. We flowed effortlessly from magnificent course to even-more-magnificent course; as did the wine and conversation. The special menu, prepared by Chef Hubert Keller, consisted of five food courses and five distinct Husic wines:
- Course 1 -- Buternut Squash Puree, Caviar, Boudin of Guinea Hen & Golden Fried Panisse; paired with Husic Vineyards Chardonnay Napa Valley 2007
- Course 2 -- Maryland Soft Shell Crab, Dungeness Crab Ceviche, Green Asparagus, Crab and Sea Urchin Emulsion, White Gazpacho & Bacon Brioche; paired with Husic Vineyards Chardonnay Napa Valley 2007
- Course 3 -- Local California Swordfish, Salsify & Speck, Piquillo Basquaise & Pinot Noir Sauce; paired with Husic Vineyards Chardonnay Napa Valley 2008
- Course 4 -- Duo of Roasted Lamb Loin and Braised Lamb Shank, Cream of Parsnip, Scallion Fondue, Coriander and Cumin flavored Red Wine Sauce finished with Mint Oil; paired with Husic Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2005 and Husic Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2006
- Course 5 -- Vanilla Flavored Cheese Cake, Lemon and Honey Cup Cake with Chocolate Cream, Champagne Rose Ice Cream & Champagne Gelee; paired with Husic Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2007.
The food courses were excellent and were favorably enhanced by the wine pairings. The 2007 Chardonnay is a wine that I have in my collection and it did not disappoint with its pairings. The '05 and '06 Cabernets acquitted themselves well with the Lamb course but I have a definite bias for the '05. I was unable to tell whether the '07 Cabernet overpowered the dessert course because I opted for the wine on its own.
All in all it was a wonderful evening and well worth the trip for us. The Husics were gracious hosts, fellow guests were similarly pleased, the wait staff professional and service-ready, and Chef Keller came out and joined our party towards the end of the dinner.
After everyone else had left, the Husics, Chef Keller and his wife, and my wife and I, sat at one of the rectangular tables shooting the breeze and drinking wine (Husic wines, of course). It was during this time that the Husics extended us an invitation to spend the following evening at the guest house on their property in Napa Valley. I accepted (quickly).