Wine & Foods (from Sansei & DK Steakhouse)

Last night, we did a wine & food pairing workshop for the staff down at Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar & DK Steakhouse featuring some of their more popular dishes.  The intent was for each of the participants to walk away with a first hand experience of wine & food & therefore have more knowledge of the hows & whys, as well as more confidence on the subject.

carpaccioHAMACHI CARPACCIO–sliced red jalapenos, shiso, tobiko, yuzu kosho ponzu & truffle oil

The wine we paired was the 2012 CF Muller Thurgau “Eurasia”, a dry, effortlessly light, mesmerizingly airy & minerally white wine from Paul Furst & his red sandstone soiled, hillside vineyard in Franconia, Germany.  The lively, refreshing acidity, buttressed by the wine’s innate minerality, acted like a fresh squeeze of yuzu-citrus which integrated well with the fish without any oak or alcohol getting in the way.  Finesse on finesse.  Wagyu carpaccio


WAGYU BRESAOLA CARPACCIO–Thinly sliced cured beef, with a lemon aioli, topped with Nalo Farms baby arugula, fresh Waialua asparagus, Ho Farms cherry tomatoes, Thai basil, Nalo Farms basil pesto, local red jalapenos, seasoned with chili pepper water & balsamic glaze.

The wine we paired with this DK Steakhouse specialty was the 2009 Domaine Fontsainte Corbieres “Les Demoiselles”.  We wanted a wine which could stand up to the thinly sliced cured beef, with enough rusticity to stand up to the earthy arugula, pesto & balsamic components, with just enough acidity to withstand the tomatoes.  This particular red wine is one of our absolute favorites from southern France because of its remarkable delicious-ness & gulpability.  Furthermore, the core of this cuvee is 100+ year old Carignane vines, which gives it interesting-ness & vinosity.  Sansei Roll

 DRAGONFLY ROLL–a Sansei specialty–spicy tuna, cucumber and kaiware sprouts rolled inside out, topped with ahi, avocado, dusted with masago & drizzled with a sweet Thai chili aioli.

This contemporary style of sushi has richness & a dazzlingly sweet/sour, slightly spicy edge to it.  It really is a natural pairing with the 2012 CF Euro-Asian Riesling Medium Dry.  We actually created this wine with Sansei’s innovative, dynamic culinary style in mind.  The wine is produced for us by Fritz Hasselbach of Weingut Gunderloch in the Rheinhessen region of Germany.  The base of the 2012 comes from the Niersteiner Hipping vineyard with small dollops of Niersteiner Pettenthal & Nackenheimer Rothenberg blended in for complexity.  All 3 vineyards are hillsides of red slate, which results in the wine’s tropical/pineapple character.  Imagine enjoying this dish….& then biting into a cold pineapple between bites to counter the Asian components while also cooling & refreshing the palate.  That’s how this wine works in this pairing. 

MACADAMIA NUT CRUSTED MAHI MAHI  Kampachicrusted with Macadamia nuts & pan seared, accompanied with roasted local vegetables and a sweet Thai Chili butter.

The wine we paired with this fresh fish dish is the 2011 Birichino Malvasia Bianca.  Produced from the highly aromatic (full of exotic lychee/grapefruit aromas) Malvasia grape variety, grown in Monterey, California & crafted by former, long time Bonny Doon winemaker John Locke, This completely refreshing white wine is surprisingly lean & taut on the palate with a riveting, lime-like edge which works magic with the sweet Thai Chili butter.  We also love how the wine’s perfume & aromatics also help accent the fish & the dish.  Definitely a very interesting pairing.  Daou

BONE IN RIB EYE STEAK (22 oz.) – Classically Aged

The Rib Eye is known generally for its richness, due to the great marbling, especially in the     outer part of the eye.  This steak is the sweetest and juiciest steak of all!  Furthermore, it is raised with no growth hormones or antibiotics.

As DK Steakhouse regulars well know, Managing Partner Ivy Nagayama has a real fascination with the wines from Paso Robles, California.  The westside, especially amongst the rolling hills of limestone/silaceous clay soils, result in big flavored red wines with amazing buoyancy at least partly due to the minerality generated by these soils.  While her fabulous winelist has many Old World specialty, rustic red wine gems to choose from…..Ivy also makes sure she stocks & showcases a good stable of apropos American grown & produced wines as well.  On this night, she & her assistant Sara wanted the staff to taste the 2012 Daou Cabernet Sauvignon with their classically aged Rib-Eye.  This wine has deep, ripe fruit which has benefited from the generous Paso Robles sunshine, but also has a distinctly rustic edge & mineral driven buoyancy which makes this quite the interesting pairing.  I also discovered when exploring her cellar, a host of even more rustic styled Paso red wines–Linne Calodo, Saxum, Cypher/Freakshow, Graves, Terry Hoage, Villa Creek & Epoch, just to name a few, which she uses to pair with the 20 to 30 day DRY aged Rib Eye Steaks they are famous for.  Crab Ramen


Sansei’s Truffled Crab Ramen–served with a black truffle butter dashi, julienne Thai basil, cilantro, diced jalapeno peppers & chunks of snow crab meat is one of those dishes one just has to try… really is that good!

 To make this savory, soothing, comforting dish even better, one should try a glass of the 2012 My Essential Rose at the same time.  We did this pairing at a wine & food workshop at this year’s International Chefs Congress in New York & it was the fan fav, by far.  If you read past blogs I have written, I have mentioned this wine or used it in other pairings on a number of occassions.  Why?  Because it really does make food taste better!  Luckily, there is still some available in Hawaii.  It seems, however, it is sold out everywhere else in the country, including New York.  I actually had to hand carry some over from Hawaii to New York to use for the Chefs Congress.  It is really hard to find PINK wines this light, this ethereal, delicious & incredibly food friendly.  Kudos to Master Sommelier, Richard Betts, for creating this wine.  Truly amazing!!!!!!

Thank you Alysha for the great pictures!

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