Thursday, February 13, 2014
Valentine's Day at Restaurant Gougé
It’s almost Valentine’s Day. Don’t panic. There are still plenty of tables available here at Restaurant Gougé, and we’ve got something very special planned for you and your Valentine. Chef Juan Toque Oberdelein has created a special menu, which will be paired with wines from our famous Wine Spectator Grand Award of Markup Excellence. Restaurant Gougé is very proud of our wine list, which has received countless kind reviews on Yelp.
“When we asked Sommelier Larry Anosmia, MS for a Champagne recommendation, he asked if I was going to use it to christen the old tugboat I was with. Nice touch.”—Barry M. Enema
“I didn’t recognize a single bottle of wine on the list. When I mentioned that to the sommelier, he said I should be grateful not to know how much the wines were marked up. ‘Imagine how happy you’ll be when you go to a wine shop to buy another bottle and it’s 80% cheaper!’”—Sam N. Ella
“I asked the sommelier to describe what Trousseau Noir tastes like. He said, ‘Like you’re an utter failure.’ He was right.”—“Red” Blotch
Your Valentine’s Day dinner at Restaurant Gougé begins with a celebratory glass of sparkling wine. Let’s hope you’re the one who gets here first and gets to drink it. Latecomers get a celebratory handshake. Then you and your Valentine will be treated to Chef Oberdelein’s signature appetizer of candied vinegar, water and cranberry juice—that’s right, his legendary Amuse Douche. Now you’re ready to steal a kiss!
You’ll love the romantic ambience of Restaurant Gougé. All the rooms are candlelit, and, so you know, we did, too, pay our fucking electric bill. And for Valentine’s Day, we’ll have strolling street musicians wandering the restaurant for your enjoyment. All we ask is you remember to check the back seat of your car before you drive home. The valets often let the street musicians sleep there. Yes, your Valentine’s Day will be one to remember if you’re wise enough to make a reservation at Restaurant Gougé.
Valentine’s Day is a day we look forward to every year. Yes, it’s a lot of extra work printing up menus with higher prices, and Chef Juan Toque Oberdelein spends all morning making certain the portions are smaller than usual, but it’s all worth it to see the looks on the faces of the people who don’t know any better and dine out on Valentine’s Day. It’s that stunned look of recently bolt-gunned cows, perhaps the very ones you had for dinner, that restaurant folks really enjoy.
We strongly recommend that you choose to order Master Sommelier Larry Anosmia’s wine pairings to go with your Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu. Working with Chef Oberdelein, Larry has selected only the finest Natural, Authentic and Certified Sensitive® wines to accompany each dish. But we’ll let Larry tell you a little bit about how he selects the appropriate wines.
“As Restaurant Gougé’s sommelier, it’s my feeling that most of the people dining with us on any given evening are here to meet me and be educated about wine. Dining, and conversing with loved ones or business associates, is obviously secondary to learning all I have to teach them about wine. So I’ve assembled a list of wines that guests are certain to be unfamiliar with in order to insure that they spend their money on the right sorts of wines, wines I like. I don’t buy wines based on scores, or cult status. I buy wines that make me look smart to other sommeliers. I could give a shit what customers think of me. For the wine by-the-glass program, I select only the finest closeout wines. Receiving deep discounts from importers and distributors eager to move wines otherwise dead in the water allows me to expose customers to wines they’d never be able to taste otherwise, because local wine merchants and prestigious discount chains won’t buy that crap. Our guests taste adequate wines, and Restaurant Gougé upholds its long tradition of outstanding profit margins. It’s a Win-Win!
“For Valentine’s Day, I was lucky enough to acquire some seriously discounted wines which are all from Natural Wine producers. What’s important when it comes to pairing wine with food is inconsistency. Just as every course from Chef’s kitchen comes out quite a bit different every time, a tribute to his ability to substitute lesser ingredients at the last minute, so will each bottle of these Natural Wines taste very different. Yes, occasionally two bottles in a row will taste remarkably consistent, but, for the most part, each bottle retains the right to taste different from the others in the case. By not adding sulfites to their wines, these fine Natural Wine producers take the guesswork out of trying to figure out what wines from their appellations taste like, no need to wrestle with that ol’ bugaboo Terroir, while at the same time providing a kind of Wine Lottery—and we all know humans enjoy a lottery! Heck, even I’m not sure what these wines were intended to taste like. Aside from bacteria soup.”
You and your Valentine are in for gustatory Nirvana here at Restaurant Gougé. Many of you have called asking for a copy of the Valentine’s Day menu. We’re guessing it will be exactly the same as last year’s menu, but for slightly higher prices. We’ve asked Chef Juan Toque Oberdelein for the menu, but he’s busy defrosting several courses from the deep freezer labeled “2/14/2013.” Rest assured that your Valentine’s Day feast will be one you’ll remember for a lifetime, and one your soon to be ex-Valentine will eventually laugh about.
Just remember, you have been gougéd until you’ve been Restaurant Gougé’d.