Gönül’s “Wine Maker’s Dinner”

My wife and I attended our first “wine maker’s dinner” at Gönül’s J Street Café last week, and it was incredible!

We got there a few minutes early and met Mitch, Gönül’s husband and co-owner of the restaurant. After introductions were made, we asked what I suppose is everybody’s first question: How to pronounce “Gönül”? He told us it’s something between GUHnuhl and GURnuhl, with the accent on the first syllable. (All along I’ve been saying guhNULE. Oops!) Mitch showed us to one of the only 2-person tables and went back to greeting the other diners.

The featured wine maker this evening was Lapis Luna. They had some excellent wines, which were conveniently available for purchase at the restaurant that night. We ended up buying 2.5 cases by the end of the evening, including some chardonnay–a variety which we normally wouldn’t even taste, let alone buy!

The food and wines were excellent on their own, but some of the food/wine pairings were just incredible! Here’s the menu for the evening:

  • First course, Seared diver scallops with red miso cream & wasabe citrus butter
    Served with 2004 chardonnay
  • Second course, Serrano ham, Nauvoo blue cheese & rosotto croquettes
    Served with 2003 zinfandel
  • Third course, Roasted pork tenderloin with blackberry chipotle glaze & sweet potato shoestrings
    Served with 2003 merlot
  • Fourth course, Grilled lamb chop over olive mashed potatoes with porcini jus
    Served with 2003 petite sirah
  • And for dessert, Turkish bread pudding

Everything was outstanding except the scallops, which were merely good. The wines complemented their respective dishes perfectly, especially the zinfandel/croquettes and the petite sirah/lamb chop. The best dish of the evening was the pork tenderloin–even a week later, it still makes my mouth water! I really hope they add this to the regular menu. And of course the Turkish bread pudding was a delectable finish to this amazing dinner.

Like I said earlier, this was our first wine maker’s dinner, and it certainly won’t be our last! I’m not sure we can afford to do this every month, but I think we could save up for a fabulous dinner such as this every few months.

NB: I’ve previously written about “Gonul’s” (sic), and I’ll probably write about it again in the future, so I’ve added gonuls to my tag list to facilitate finding all related posts.

About Jim Vanderveen

I'm a bit of a Renaissance man, with far too many hobbies for my free time! But more important than any hobby is my family. My proudest accomplishment has been raising some great kids! And somehow convincing my wife to put up with me since 1988. ;)
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