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Monday, April 20, 2015

Scary Good: L'Auberge Baton Rouge's 18 Steak Stalks Our Taste Buds

by Blair "B-Rex" Loup


Gulf Shrimp Mousse with Choupique Caviar  paired with the Hall Sauvignon Blanc
Gulf Shrimp Mousse with Choupique Caviar
paired with the Hall Sauvignon Blanc
Maybe it’s just me, but every time I drive onto the L’Auberge Baton Rouge property, I feel extravagant. I’ve visited L’Auberge for a few drinks in Edge with live music, hung out at the rooftop pool during the summer at their Sunset Society events, attended grandiose events like Fête Rouge, and I’ve even tried my hand at gambling (not my forte). However, some of my favorite experiences have revolved around nothing more than a good meal. With wine, of course.

18 Steak has been hosting wine dinners regularly for the past few months and they’ve been delightful. In March, the lovely Julie Collins, PR professional extraordinaire at L'Auberge, invited Jay and me to experience their Hall Family Wine Dinner. The evening kicked off with a stellar glass of Hall’s Sauvignon Blanc and three different passed hors d’oeuvres: Gulf Shrimp Mousse with Choupique Caviar, Spicy Hummus and Toast, and Local Tuna Tartar. Incidentally, a bottle of the citrusy Sauvignon Blanc sat on our table for me to take home. They know how to take care of you over at L’Auberge.

If you know anything about my food loves, you know I absolutely adore most vegetables that many people hate. Beets are my number one favorite vegetable and Brussels sprouts run a close second. When I looked at the menu on our table, I got the feeling Executive Chef, Jared Tees and Pastry Chef Arlety Estevez had my apartment bugged.

First up: baby beet salad with frisée, salata ricotta, and Meyer lemon paired with the Walt La Brisa Sonoma Chardonnay 2012. Many people don’t like beets because they “taste like dirt” which is a valid deduction, but I love the earthiness of the beets with the sharp spiciness of the frisée. The chardonnay was funky and fresh all at the same time, which paired perfectly with the salad. I only wish they had given me all of the beets.

Baby Beet Salad with Frisée, Salata Ricotta, and Meyer Lemon Paired with the Walt La Brisa Sonoma Chardonnay 2012
Baby Beet Salad with Frisée, Salata Ricotta, and Meyer Lemon
Paired with the Walt La Brisa Sonoma Chardonnay 2012


Next we tried some Louisiana roasted oysters casino with bacon, Parmesan, and Pernod paired with the Walt Blue Jay Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2012. I found this pinot to be bolder than most on the nose followed with floral notes including some heavier dry, dark fruit flavors. The oysters were sharp and earthy, so these flavors worked well together.

Louisiana Roasted Oysters Casino with bacon, Parmesan, and Pernod Paired with the Walt Blue Jay Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2012
Louisiana Roasted Oysters Casino with bacon, Parmesan, and Pernod
Paired with the Walt Blue Jay Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2012


The main course is further evidence that L’Auberge is stalking my tastebuds: kumquat braised short ribs and foie gras with baby root vegetables and spaetzel paired with the Hall Jack’s Masterpiece Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (this wine is only available at the winery). I am an absolute sucker for root vegetables. I’m also that person who looks beyond the process and loves foie gras, and braised short ribs are my jam. Needless to say, I enjoyed this course tremendously. The kumquat didn’t quite come across in the short ribs, but the dish, in harmony with the earthy and bold cabernet, still lived up to the hype I gave it in my head.

Kumquat Braised Short Ribs and Foie Gras with Baby Root Vegetables and Spatzel Paired with the Hall Jack's Masterpiece Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Kumquat Braised Short Ribs and Foie Gras with Baby Root Vegetables and Spatzel
Paired with the Hall Jack's Masterpiece Cabernet Sauvignon 2012


Here’s where things get tricky. I don’t super enjoy desserts that are overly sweet unless they’re loaded with chocolate, but for the past two wine dinners at L’Auberge, Pastry Chef Arlety Estevez has given me desserts that are so delightfully toned down and delicious. Paired with the Hall Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, the plum almond tart with cinnamon gelato and orange blossom caramel made all the sense in the world. Lightly sweet and slightly fruity, the heavy tannins of the cabernet set all of the flavors off like land mines in my mouth.

Plum Almond Tart, Cinnamon Gelato, and Orange Blossom Caramel Paired with the Hall Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Plum Almond Tart, Cinnamon Gelato, and Orange Blossom Caramel
Paired with the Hall Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2012


I look forward to another delectable dining experience at 18 Steak this Wednesday at their Heaven Hill Bourbon Dinner! Make your reservations for it today and be on the lookout for more wine dinners and other events at L’Auberge; they’re always up to something!