Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bouchaine Estate Chardonnay at Chinn's Fishery Lisle

Bouchaine Chardonnay Estate Vineyard 2011 at Chinn's 34th Street Fishery in Lisle, IL

For an impromptu casual weeknight seafood dinner we dined at Chinn's 34th Street Fishery in Lisle, IL. Many people are aware of the legendary Bob Chinn's Crab House up in Wheeling, IL, one of the top five grossing restaurants in the United States serving more than one million diners per year! 

Chinn's is known for "jet fresh" seafood, jetted in daily from quality providers in the leading seafood markets - Hawaii, Alaska, the Atlantic, the Pacific, Florida, Louisiana and other centers where they have something to offer on any given day. 

I recall there is a connection with the famous Bob Chinn's and Stan (shown left) and Kim Chinn, owners of Chinn's 34th Street Fishery, nephew and Uncle as I remember. Whatever the connection is, it is readily apparent in Bob Chinn's 'jet fresh' approach also employed by Chinn's in Lisle. Like Chinn's Wheeling, they showcase the day's arrivals with the actual Air Bills of Lading (pictured below) from the major airlines - Alaska, United, American, Southwest ... showing arrivals that day from the seafood centers around the globe. The philosophy provides the best seafood catch of the day from all the centers. Both preach a deliver fresh catch selection, quality and value with a simple direct straightforward presentation in a no-frills setting.

A reminisce side story - I digress ... Stan and Kim Chinn cite on their website that they "landed in Lisle, a place they were both familiar with. 10 years prior to opening Chinn's Fishery, they both worked at the same location they would later purchase for their business." 

Jet Fresh Seafood !
I would bet a paycheck that very few can recall a restaurant that was there previously. Before then, going back many years (circa 1980), Linda and I enjoyed dining at this location at a restaurant called Bully's. We dined there often and rejoiced having such a quality venue with such great food in such a cosmopolitan yet comfortable setting so close to home. We dined there often. I still remember some of our favorite entree selections.

Then, we had a sub-standard visit, followed by another, and then again. Noting the trend, I summoned the MOD - Manager on Duty to inquire if there had been a change, citing our experience of notable diminution. We were advised that the property had previously been purchased and taken over by the notable restauranteur (Peter) George Makris, whose Flame Restaurant had literally burned to the ground. He took over the local eatery and established Bully's to keep his staff and business operations intact whilst he rebuilt the new restaurant in nearby Oak Brook Terrace. Then, when the restaurant was finished, the whole lot moved into the new venue and Bully's was taken over by a new owner and staff. (Makris also had 'Flame' steak houses in Chicago, suburban Countryside (closed in 2012), and West Palm Beach, FL).

Chinn's 34th Street Fishery - Lisle
Researching this further, my recollection is correct .. checking his obituary from the archives, according to the Chicago Tribune March 24, 1997, "In 1964, he (George Makris) opened the Flame, in Oakbrook Terrace that burned to the ground in 1979 but was reopened around the corner in 1982. In 1994, Mr. Makris changed the Flame's name to Bully's Chop House & Tavern Room..." It was during that interim period that we availed ourselves of team Makris in Lisle in the site that today is Chinn's. Stan Chinn took over the follow on flailing restaurant in 1995 and founded Chinn's 34th Street Fishery and are celebrating their twentieth year.

Back to the two Chinns. Another indication of the connection between the two Chinn restaurants is their common feature selection preparation options - Bob Chinn's "Eight Way" (shown) and Chinn's 34th Street Fishery "Seven Way" fish preparation - 1) Steamed, 2) Chargrilled, 3) Blackened, 4) Beer Batter Fried, 5) Sauteed with lemon, 6) Broiled Grecian Style, 7) Sauteed with capers, and 8) Stir fried with mushrooms. 

If you need further proof, try their garlic laced bread rolls common in both sites! 

From the simple, basic winelist, we selected this Bouchaine Estate Chardonnay for our dinner. Beth ordered the stuffed shrimp, Bill the sea scallops, grilled, and Linda, the crabcakes. I took the prize for the best dinner entree selection, the Hawaiian Mongchong, chargrilled, one of their signature dishes and a fresh catch of the day, which was delicious. 

Note that Wednesday nights, bottle wines are half price (except premier selections). We'll note that for our next visit!

Visitors to the Napa/Sonoma Valley region that have traversed the Napa Sonoma Road that wraps around the bottom of Mount Veeder that separates Napa and Sonoma valleys, where it approaches the top of San Pablo Bay, the area known as Carneros, will recall passing Domaine Carneros on the main highway. What is notable about that elegant stylish Chateau, is that it sits at the top of the bottom-land that reaches down to the water, San Pablo Bay, which is the north end of San Francisco Bay. Turn South towards the water there and there are a number of vineyards and wineries that feature Carneros Burgundian varietal wines - notably Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Besides Acacia Vineyards and Etude, one of the major producers in the area is Bouchaine. 

Bouchaine state they are the longest continuously operating winery in the Carneros, going back to the turn of the previous century, and under the same current ownership since 1981. The story goes that the property was originally settled by a Missourian with the colorful name Boon Fly who grew grapes and fruit trees on the property in the late 1880s.  In 1927, the parcel was acquired by an Italian winemaker named Johnny Garetto who sold to Beringer in 1961.

The current owners Gerret and Tatiana Copeland were part of a partnership that purchased the winery and surrounding land in 1981 and proceeded to develop and renovate the property. Bouchaine Vineyards was born in 1993 when they became sole proprietors. Around 1990 they added 60 acres to the original thirty, contiguous property that includes the two hills which have become icons of the Bouchaine Estate and are featured in their label design.

Today, the Bouchaine’s Estate is 100 rolling acres  planted in 7 clones of Pinot Noir, 5 clones of Chardonnay, along with some Pinot Meunier and Pinot Gris. They produce a wide range of labels with a couple vineyard designated selections. This label is their baseline Estate bottled Chardonnay that is targeted at providing a high QPR large production wide distribution bottling to introduce and establish brand awareness for the line.

Note that Bouchaine Winery will be at Chinn's 34th Street Fisher October 6th for a wine dinner. 

Bouchaine Napa Valley Carneros Estate Vineyard Chardonnay 2011

With its cooler and rain shortened growing season, being picked early, this Chardonnay is less rich and deep as vintages allowed to ripen further - resulting in higher acidity and forward citrus lemon predominating, that the winemaker states serves as a great palate cleaners between bites of buttery sauce laced foods with simply grilled dishes. Its light, butter colored, clean crispness finishing with subtle tones of pear and almond was a nice compliment to our seafood dinners.

RM 87 points.