Friday, August 4, 2023

Sullivan's Steakhouse Domaine Serene for celebration dinner

Sullivan's Steakhouse steaks and Domaine Serene for Anniversary Celebration Dinner

We went to Indianapolis and took Sister Pat and Bro-in-law Rodger to Sullivan's Steakhouse Indy to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Sullivan's prepared a table with a nice welcome/congratulations card complete on a small bed of rose petals on the table. They then took our photo and presented each couple with a commemorative photo in a nice card. 

Perhaps we're accustomed to 'big city' Chicago wine and dine experiences, or its a Sullivan's condition, considering their numerous fifteen locations across the country, including our hometown Naperville, but several things seemed a bit amiss for our diner. The dining experience begins with the front door of the venue being broken with a hand printed sign directing one to use the other door which still closed with a bang. The dining room felt a bit dated with seemingly old carpeting, decor and lighting - despite the artsy mural adorning the wall, reminiscent perhaps of a Archibald Motley painting from the Whitney in NYC or the 'Nightlife' painting that we enjoy from AIC (Art Institute Chicago), and the wine wall looking into the wine cellar/room. 

We scoured the well appointed comprehensive wine-list (not available on-line to preview or pre-select) but struggled with the fact that no vintages were shown. It seemed an bit of an arduous imposition to ask the server to check on the vintages of several considered labels. For lack of a Sommelier or Wine Steward, the waitstaff were woefully unfamiliar with the wines on offer. This exercise reduced our selection to three bottles versus a half dozen or more I would have preferred to consider. 

Never-the-less, in the end, we ordered from the winelist one of our favorite labels, an ultra-premium Pinot Noir from Oregon Willamette Valley. We first discovered this label dining at Smith & Wollensky, Chicago during a getaway weekend years ago. While being a non-significant expense at nearly $200, it was a better value at 2X retail price, as opposed to the near 3X price point of many of the wines. It is one of the few Pinots that we keep in our cellar collection.

Three of us ordered the price fixe special promotion "Sure Thing" menu of a soup or salad starter, and entree and a dessert. 

It's promotion -  "Sample the best of the best from the Sure Thing $49 Prix-Fixe menu. Choose from a 6 oz. Filet Mignon, Sliced New York Strip, or Broiled Salmon, plus the salad or side that catches your eye. Finish the night by sinking your spoon into a New York-Style Cheesecake, Key Lime Pie, or Bananas Foster Bread Pudding."

We had the Wedge Salad and the Shrimp & Lobster Bisque with Shrimp, Lobster, Sherry and Cream.

The dinner included a plate of fresh warm baked bread with whipped butter.

Additionally we ordered two sides to share, the creamed corn and creamed spinach, along with a starter of the Charbroiled Oysters with Cajun Butter, Parmesan and Lemon (four).

The starters - salad, bisque and our steaks, and Rodger's lamb chops and accompaniments were all appropriately prepared and presented with attentive and hospitable servers. 

Domine Serene Evenstad Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2015 

The Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir is Domaine Serene's flagship wine, hand selected from their best barrels each year to create a reserve wine that is consistent in both its superior quality and flavor profile. 
We've written often in these pages about this label, most recently in this blogpost - Domaine Serene "Evenstad Reserve" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and grilled beefsteak

Producer Tasting Notes: "Never shy in the glass, the 2015 Evenstad Reserve radiates a blissful bouquet of boysenberry, marionberry, dark chocolate, and sage. In the mouth, its graceful texture enters with power and seduces every part of your palate - exposing wave upon wave of alluring flavors of dark fruits, mushroom, and cola. Its silky-smooth, velvet-like tannins, give way to a long, weighted finish that endures with unrivaled finesse and persistence. This is truly a compelling wine that illustrates two and a half decades of winemaking mastery in one of the finest places in the world to grow and produce Pinot Noir."

This release was rated 95 points International Wine Report and a seeming consensus 94 points by Wine Enthusiast (Editors Choice), and James Suckling, Wine Spectator and Vinous.

Domaine Serene "Evenstad Reserve" Willamette Valley Dundee Hills Pinot Noir 2015 

At eight years, this is likely at the apex of its drinking window. From the restaurant winelist, the label was soiled and torn as shown.

Bright garnet colored with purple hues, expansive complex and concentrated yet nicely balanced, elegant and approachable with aromatic flavors of dark berries with notes of black raspberry, cherry liqueur, cola, cinnamon spice, vanilla, earth and espresso with velvety tannins on the long polished smooth finish.

RM 94 points.