When six chefs come together in one kitchen you have to wonder what it would be like working in a small space together. Such was the case when Café del Rey in Marina Del Rey put together Bless the Chefs Dinner.
The chefs were from both Café del Rey and its sister restaurant Napa Valley Grille in Westwood, which is currently undergoing a remodel. All chefs have been working in the Marina until the construction is completed. The idea behind Bless the Chefs was that each chef would come up with a culinary dish that they felt would pair with the Restaurant’s Tavistock wine. It also was to inaugurate the changes that will occur once Napa Valley Grille will reopen.
The Tavistock Restaurant Collection owns the two restaurants and has it own private label wine that consists of a portfolio made from various recognized wineries in California, Italy and Argentina.
The patrons attending seemed to be regulars of the restaurant. Some specifically attend for the winemaker dinners making it obvious that Café del Rey and its restaurant manager Brian Cousins put on a good spread and after sampling the dinner and wine they certainly do.
The meal was superb showing that these six chefs could find their own space in the kitchen to create a yummy and delicious course that accented the wines, which were quite impressive.
Our meal began with a Garlic Butter Poached Lobster with scallop mousiline, asparagus puree, beet emulsion and basil blossoms created by Chef Jess Hernandez. The textures in this dish were marvelous and were accompanied by the Tavistock Proseco. This Proseco from the Venito, Italy was a splash of spunk with it citrus and pear notes.
Our second course was the Octopus Carpaccio with pequillo peppers, kalamata olives, capers, pickled fingerlings, fennel & frisee salad and blood orange. This dish was created by Chef Clinton Dunn and was paired with the Tavistock Sauvignon Blanc. Having sampled the Octopus Carpaccio the week before, it was just as delicious and was a favorite of the evening.
The wine made by Greg Gauthier was a more viscous, smoother and creamier Sauvignon Blanc with notes of Meyer lemon and lemon grass. The grapes are grown biodynamically at Block House Vineyard in Yountville.
Our next course was a Baked Black Grouper with oyster mushroom, Peruvian Lyonnaise potatoes and arugula blooms in a champagne sauce. Chef Eduardo Osoria prepared this dish to accompany the 2012 Pinot Noir. Summerland Winery creates this Pinot Noir. The fruit comes from Santa Maria and Sta. Rita Hills. This is a medium-bodied that evokes bright berry, cherry and cranberry.
The most inspirational course was Executive Chef Adrian Vela’s Veal Tonque Braised Cheeks with pickled Brussels sprouts, charred pepper, pepper cress, smoked salt, salsa verde and a house made tortilla. With tears in his eyes the chef said this dish “pays homage to his mother.”
The wine with this course was very together Malbec from the Lujan de Cuyo region of Mendoza, Argentina. The combination of volcanic soils and the aging in concrete makes for a softer more balance wine. Considering this was the 2014 vintage, it was by far the best wine of the evening.
The fifth course was Coffee Crusted Port Tenderloin with roasted pepper polenta, braised fennel and stewed green tomatoes. The dish was created by Executive Chef David Vilchez and paired with the 2011 Bacarre Rhone Blend. This is a big wine and a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mouvédre from Santa Barbara County.
Our last course was a Deconstructed Tres Leches created by pastry chef Ana Cervantes and was paired with Moscato d’asti Nivole. The flavors of apricot predominated this dessert wine.
The evening ended with a Bless the Chef’s Toast, celebrating all the efforts put into the evenings feast and sending all the chefs onward to their new endeavors. The yet to be released 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon honored these culinary experts. This is another Summerland Winery Santa Barbara County wine and is most definitely ready to be released, as it is a smooth balanced wine.
If you frequent Café Del Rey and Napa Valley Grille, in the upcoming months you will find Chef Vela is leaving Marina Del Rey become the Executive Chef of the Napa Valley Grille. Chef David Vilchez will move from Sous Chef to the Executive Chef at Café Del Rey.
Whether leaving this event or any meal at Café Del Rey, you will depart well satisfied by the excellent food. For wine enthusiasts discovering the quality of this restaurant’s private label was even more extraordinary.
Café Del Rey
4451 Admiralty Way
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292