Last evening, we joined our dear friend Anne Keller for dinner at Brian Polcyn’s Forest Grill, in Birmingham, Michigan. The setting is American -bistro and the menu “showcases house made charcuterie, a raw bar, clay oven baked pizzas, and traditional bistro dishes…inspired by French, Italian, and contemporary American cuisine with an emphasis on simplicity and flavor. Chef Polcyn’s vision for the Forest Grill is simple, an American bistro that uses quality local ingredients and is rooted in traditional cooking techniques.” The wine list offers a wide variety of selections from around the world, and we had no trouble finding a few bottles to compliment our appetizers and entrees.
We were greeted and seated by Anne’s friend, General Manager/Sommelier Mario Plaza, a most gracious gentleman who made us feel right at home, as did Chef David Gilbert and our waiter. Anne and I perused the list for an appropriate bubbly for starters and were more then pleased to find one from a favorite producer of ours for a great price. Champagne Jean Laurent Blanc de Blancs, 12% alc., disgorged August, 2007, $55: Pale straw color, with more than ample mousse and fine active bead; flavors and aromas of under-ripe apple and mineral, razor sharp and focused on the palate. Medium to medium full bodied, with excellent depth and acidity and a long finish. This champers is a steal at this price, and provided a fine match for the appetizers, which included: Charcuterie Assortment De Jour (Duck, beef tongue and prosciutto), Chef David’s table treat, almond oil and citrus infused crab salad with avocado, White corn and frog leg risotto, chanterelle mushrooms, mascarpone and parmesan reggiano and Oxtail and bone marrow ravioli, parmesan reggiano, black truffle jus lie, gremolta.
Anne made the selection of our dinner wine based on the entrees we all selected, and again, it all worked wonderfully. 2005 Vincent Girardin Vosne-Romanee Vieilles Vignes, 13% alc.: I didn’t ask the price of this clean dark garnet, but I do know that it was more than $100, and well worth it, all things considered. It exudes a pretty perfume of earthy plum and black cherry accented with a touch of Asian spice and overtones of well-integrated oak that takes on an almost eucalyptus-like character as it opens with air. These impressions echo and expand on the palate, with good weight and structure for several years in the cellar, but that’s not to say you can’t enjoy it now, because we most certainly do! Anne’s entree: Honey glazed duck breast, sweet bread and foie gras sausage, gnocchi a la Romano, tomato and garlic sauteed rapini. Kim’s entree: Bone marrow and confit of pork, port wine reduction, chorizo topped crostini. My entree: Veal cheeks, Parisian herb and ricotta cheese gnocchi, wilted spinach and tomato. We sampled each other’s dishes and all three were quite fine, as were the appetizers. It’s just a shame that the place was only at about 1/4 to 1/3 capacity, because Forest Grill really delivers the goods! Many thanks to Anne, Mario Plaza and Chef David Gilbert for a marvelous evening’s repast.
Reporting from Day-twah,