Though my weekly routine visit to Porcellino's varies in forms and fashions -- from a quick butcher shop pick-up to a weeknight dinner date or Sunday brunch -- I leap at the opportunity to indulge in the restaurant's rare specialty evenings.
The restaurant group's rich relationship with wineries and wine distributors prompted a "Passport to Orgeon" concept with Joe's Liquors, Elk Cove and Beaux Fréres. Just as the Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman existing three concepts lie within one Brookhaven block of one another, the two Oregon vineyards lie within six miles of one another. The neighborly vibes could be felt from first introductions to final course.
I attended with a small group, and we staked our claim at a farm table toward the back of the establishment. Since I am used to minimal four-top tables, the long rows of farm tables overwhelmed yet added an instant atmosphere of coziness.
The plates, adorned perfectly and with such attention to detail, were paired with Northern "Oregonian" textures from pinot gris to "ultima." I enjoyed the winemaker's rendition of the first pinot gris, especially, who shared that the acid-drive, farm-raised harvest "loves fat." Our packed-house Porcellino's audience enjoyed 8 of the 30 labeled bottles available.
Butternut squash, meyer lemon, chorizo, pecans, apple, sorrel 2014 Elk Cove, Pinot Gris
Risotto with peas, ham, pickled peanuts 2013 Elk Cove, Pinot Noir
Duck with beets, turnips, citrus, carrots, marsala 2013 Beaux Fréres, Pinot Noir
Brisket with rutabaga, mushroom sofrito, romaine 2008 Elk Cove, Roosevelt Vineyard, Pinot Noir (Library Selection) 2008 Beaux Frères, Beaux Frères Vineyard, Pinot Noir (Library Selection)
Pavlova with pistachio, tangelo sorbet, cadramom yogurt, dark chocolate 2012 Elk Cove "Ultima"
My palette was refreshed with green apple, beet and crab in the first course. Next, an al dente risotto brought upon rich, savory tones with bright green pops of peas and pickled peanuts.
I am not ever one to crave duck, though the presentation was particularly simple and approachable. The paired Pinot Noir was heavenly.
Brisket was finely roasted with an addictive mushroom sofrito and crisp leaf of baby romaine. The dessert was surprisingly large compared to earlier courses, but I quickly remembered that sugary sweet Pavlova is light as air!
We look forward to the next opportunity to dine among Memphis' finest dining and Oregon's finest wine-ing.