Friday, August 9, 2013

Down with the Count at the Carlton Restaurant

The Carlton restaurant is consistently one of the best fine dining restaurants in the City.  They also have a killer slate of wine dinners throughout the year.  We attended an interesting one last week featuring Buena Vista winery of Sonoma Valley.  The winery is one of the oldest in the U.S., founded by Count Agoston Haraszthy, a Hungarian nobleman who emigrated to the United States in the 1830's.  The Count introduced European vinticulture techniques to the Sonoma Valley, and created some of the earliest European quality wines in the New World.  In a tale only too familiar in the modern day, the Count was forced out of the operation of his own Buena Vista winery by his investors.  He set off for Nicaragua, where he was intent on making rum and spirits, but dies in a mysterious accident in 1869.

As always, the Carlton's food was spot on, with Executive Chef Simon DeJohn at his best.  My favorite was a braised short rib with beet risotto (and I don't like beets!), and the lamb manicotti, which had a Southwest vibe, almost like a savory lamb enchilada.  The whole meal was fantastic, as is the food there everyday.

That's me pictured with my wife Suzanne, and Carlton proprietor Kevin Joyce and his wife, Maggie.  With us is "The Count," that is, actor George Webber, who plays Count Haraszthy and, at the wine tasting, told his story in first person while in character.  You may think it sounded a little hoaky, but it was like having a floor show to go with your dinner.  It was a fascinating personal story and an interesting look at the birth of wine production in Northern California.

The Buena Vista wines were excellent as well, in particular the new "The Count Founder's Red."

And don't forget that we partner with the Carlton for our Cultural District packages -- the Carlton's limo will take you to and from the theater after your meal.  See here for more details.

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