Friday, May 4, 2018

Greek Wine Dinner at K Restaurant (Orlando, FL)

I have an abiding interest in Greek wines due to my tasting travels in the region and the number of friends I have made during those trips. I was considering attending the upcoming Greek Wine Dinner at K Restaurant and was still in the deliberative phase when I received a direct communication from Michelle Hulbert, the restaurant's Pastry Chef, inviting us to the event. I decided to take her up on the invitation.

The event was being held in the Garden House, a newly rented, event space located next to the main restaurant. Passing through the front entrance we were confronted by two rows of dressed tables and presentation equipment against the southern wall. A few guests had already arrived and we introduced ourselves as we sought seating that would position us best for the presentation.

After all the attendees had gathered, we were welcomed by K Restaurant Owner and Executive Chef Chad Phelps. He thanked us for coming and laid out his thought process in putting together the tasting. At the end of his remarks, he turned the floor over to Lawrence Head of Breakthrough Beverages who would be leading us through the tasting.

Chad Phelps, Executive Chef and Owner,
K Restaurant

The first dish was a Grilled Manouri Cheese on Pita garnished with Arugula and with oregano and lemon. Tasty and refreshing. The Pita was unyielding to the cutlery and had to be "handed."

This dish was accompanied by the 2016 Alpha Estate Malagouzia. Aromatic. Green herbs and pineapple. Full, round mouthfeel. Brightness on the palate along with power and minerality. Persistent minerality. Powerful in relation to the Malagouzias from Porto Carras and Geravassiliou.

Grilled Manouri Cheese

Ryan McLaughlin, Chef de Cuisine

The second course was a Greek Salad accompanied by a 2016 Domaine Santo Assyrtiko.

This was a beautifully constructed salad with heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, Kalamata Olives, Feta cheese mousse, oregano, lemon, and olive oil. In the US, Greek salads are often encumbered with lettuce and other arcana, straying from the traditional path. This salad stayed true. I normally prefer my feta cheese in slabs at the top of the salad, rather than as a mousse, but the dish did not suffer from the change. Excellent.

The Assyrtiko was mineral on the nose with a hint of salinity. Broad on the palate, saline, mineral, citrus. Not as razor-sharp as I like my Assyrtikos.

Greek Salad

The third course was a Grilled Swordfish and Octopus dish accompanied by the 2015 Douloufakis Liatiko.

The Swordfish and Octopus laid on a bed of fennel, artichokes, garbanzo beans, peppers, and herbs all in a tomato and seafood broth. The Octopus was pleasingly spicy. The Swordfish was extremely tender, an experience with which I am unfamiliar. Loved the dish.

The Douloufakis Liatiko showed tar, dark olives, and blue fruit on the nose. Light-bodied. Dark and red fruits. Savory. Mineral. Drying finish. Does not engage the full palate. Will benefit from some aging.

Swordfish and Octopus

The Lamb Chop course was accompanied by the 2013 Kir-Yianni Ramnista. The Lamb dish included oregano roasted potatoes, fava beans, and house-made yogurt. This was a wonderful dish. Beautiful pink color. Nice salty texture and buttery feel.

The Ramnista showed tomato, tomato leaf, herbs, savoriness, and salinity. An explosion of fruit on the palate. Dark red fruit, spice, licotice, salinity, and tar. Better three or so years down the road.

Lamb Chop

Table mates

The dessert course was a Honeycake, supported by an Orange Blossom Glaze and a Yogurt Sauce. Michelle did her usual excellent job on this one. The dish was accompanied by the 2016 Kir-Yianni Akakis Sparkling Rosé. Strawberry and spice on the nose. Unappealing.


Michelle Hulbert, Pastry Chef

I really enjoyed this dinner. Generally I am more interested in the wine part of these dinners but the food quality and taste was of such a high quality that it easily eclipsed the wines. Kudos to Chad and his team. I think that Ryan has stepped into the ranks of the top-tier chefs in Orlando with this performance

     ©Wine -- Mise en abyme

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