Ah, summer. Time for frolicking by the pool, drinking blue-colored Icees that'll turn your tongue blue, working ferociously at the gym to get your body toned, and indulging in decadent chef-driven wine pairing dinners.
Yes, a summer tradition, Landry's Signature Chef Series is currently in full swing, with five upcoming meals that are set to take place at Brenner's on the Bayou with chef Ryan Braden July 10; Willie G's Seafood & Steaks with Jose Prada July 17; La Grigla with Luis Rubio July 24; David Hernandez, Andrew Oliver, and Joshua Wallace of McCormick & Schmicks July 31; culminating in a grand finale dinner at Vic & Anthony's with Carlos Rodriguez on August 7, 2013.
Each of the dinners will feature five-course food and wine pairings created by each respective restaurant's executive chef, pastry chef and sommelier. It's a chance for patrons and chefs to get to know one another: Chefs will get to wow diners with off-menu creations; patrons will have meet and greet opportunities to see the chefs who are normally behind the scenes.
I attended a delightful kickoff dinner at Brenner's Steakhouse, where chef Brian Miner and his team served smoked trout mousse served with blinis and pickled mustard seeds; charred romaine hearts with rhubarb; a beautiful intermezzo of hibiscus flower and lemon sorbet; grilled prawns with popcorn; a roasted veal loin paired with an excellent 2007 Suhr Luchtel Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley; and a fanciful dessert of chocolate butterfly-topped coconut semifreddo.
For the upcoming dinner at Brenner's on the Bayou, Braden's menu takes a mouthwatering turn with their poached lobster tail salad, followed by a chipotle-clazed bacon-wrapped andouille Sausage & cornbread-stuffed quail, paired with Cain Cuvee Red Blend from Napa Valley. Dry-aged strip steak is paired with Mount Vedeer Cabernet Sauvignon.
At Willie G's, Prada entices with a menu of seafood campechana, crab cake and prawns, black truffle-crusted halibut, and bone-in filet mignon, followed by a white chocolate bread pudding.
Think that sounds good? How about Robio's Italian-inspired meal at La Griglia, which starts off with ricotta gnocchi followed by black mission figs over arugula, then pan roasted halibut and a veal T-bone alla Grigla paired with a Fratelli Brovia Barolo?
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Not to be outdone, the team at McCormick & Schmicks want to show off with maine lobster and kobe carpaccio with Parmesan Reggiano, truffle oil and micro arugula. Oysters on the half shell with strawberry black pepper granita are paired with La marca Prosecco, pan-seared halibut with cauliflower and white asparagus risotto paired with Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay, and Colorado Lamb Rack is paired with Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon.
And finally, for the grand finale, the Vic & Anthony's dinner will feature each of the chefs doing a different course, with passed cocktails and six courses with delicious wine pairings.
With the exception of the grand finale dinner, all five course wine pairing dinners are $95 per person. The grand finale will be $150 per person. For more information, to view menus, and to make your reservations, please visit Landry's.