Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Steaks and Reds at Porterhouse, San Mateo

I got a call from Steve yesterday to check out the newly opened Porterhouse restaurant (formerly Bogie’s) in San Mateo. I had no plans for the evening, except to finish more leftovers at home, so why not? Not a bad idea to get the New Year started right.

I brought a bottle of 2002 Mercurey Rouge Premier Cru, Domaine Meix Foulot. I arranged for Steve’s happy visit to the domaine just a month ago, hence I thought this bottle would be a good conversation piece. The Burgundy shimmered in the glass and gave scents of meat and game to go along with the red fruits. Beefy, austere and lean it was an appropriate and mouthwatering start to the steaks that were about to follow. Meanwhile, the appetizers of roasted quail and prunes, steak tartare, and egg rolls were delicious with the wine.

Steve brought two beautiful Napa Cabs: the 1980 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, Mount Veeder Winery and the 2001 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, Grace Family Vineyards.

The Mount Veeder Cabernet had an almost intoxicating bouquet of mint, lavender, sage, and cedar which never flagged and even seemed to gain intensity over the three-hour dinner. On the palate it was refined and the black currant flavors had evolved into elegant austerity. Though on the wane, the wine was faultless and has aged regally.

In contrast, the Grace was slower in waking up. Steve had it decanted when we sat down, and this helped greatly in coaxing it out. When it opened up later it was simply gorgeous. Refined, understated, and well-proportioned despite being generous and well-concentrated, the currant flavors were sweet and fresh with tannins seamlessly integrated. Grace is never the oversize blockbuster like the other Napa cult Cabernets and this 2001 is the epitome of its elegant style. Very lovely to drink now, but I would guess better still in another ten years.

My New York steak ordered medium-rare was tasty though a bit on the dry side. I tasted Steve’s Porterhouse and that was better meat and better cooked. Bill’s rack of Colorado lamb was the winner, juicy, flavorful, and perfectly cooked.

60 E. 3rd Avenue
San Mateo, CA

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