There’s no denying it – Cincinnati loves Jean-Robert de Cavel and the feeling is mutual. He has earned a great reputation not only for his restaurants but for his unfailing charity work and mentoring young chefs and students who go on to establish their own careers. Our bailliage has always found visits to his restaurant to be a favorite for special occasions, whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, or entertaining our friends from out of town. Our first event of the year on February 11, 2013 brought us back to Jean-Robert’s Table for a culinary Valentine.
As usual there was a flurry of appetizers showing up to try as we sipped on Pierre Sparr Marquis de Perlade Brut from Alsace, a nod to Chef Jean-Robert’s French heritage. Our dinner started with a beautiful stacked Maine lobster salad since he had been on a “kick” for a couple months featuring multi-course lobster dinners. The wine selection proceeded to roam through the world with a choice of Neyers Chardonnay from Carneros. Next we enjoyed foie gras with kumquat and blue cheese duck confit quiche while sampling Robert Weil Kiedrich Riesling from the Grafenberg Vineyard. Coincidentally the German town of Kiedrich is known for its Church of Saint Valentine so that went well with our theme.
One of Chef Jean-Robert’s favorite combinations is fish with truffle and this night we had black bass with Pinot Noir truffle beurre rouge to the delight of all, here matched with Sequana Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia Highlands. A glorious meat course arrived as venison with poivrade sauce, onion compote with pomegranate, goat cheese potatoes gratin, fondue of cabbage, and candied ginger with mushroom flan. Now our wine journey took us up to Howell Mountain with glasses of 2007 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon that made for a loving pair with the venison. For a sweet finish we savored an assortment of Ode a la Gourmandaise as we basked in the afterglow of culinary pleasure. At evening’s end Chef Jean-Robert introduced his talented staff and we renewed our vows to always return to the chef and place perennially devoted to the pleasures of his diners. Amour!
J.T. Mayer, Chargé de Presse Provincial Midwest