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Clv's Momocho Continues to Invent


NancyH
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When Executive Chef Eric Williams put out the word that Momocho was having a wine dinner celebrating the chile - I knew we had to go! We turned down an invitiation to join friends at another fine Cleveland restaurant having a wine tasting dinner last night (what a wonderful problem to have here in Cleveland - too many restaurants offering wonderful things), because we love chiles and so we had to have this!

Still - you don't often think of wine pairings with chile-inspired dishes (usually tequila or beer would come to mind). Eric says that this extraordinary menu that you are about to see actually was the work of Chef Nolan Konkoski - and it worked fabulously with wine!

We were seated at our table, which was already topped with a trio of refreshing palate cleansers - jicama, pineapple and cucumber:

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The server invited us to begin our evening with gaucamole - even though we knew more chiles were coming, we could not resist a dab of the habenero-pineapple guac with fried-to-order chips:

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course 1ne:

blistered chili poblano + cauliflower soup, topped with chile ancho crusted cebolitas, served with 2004 Kuyen cab/syrah from Chile:

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Creamy, smooth with a crunch from the cebolitas - mucho delicious! And the wine was big and fruity - so tasty that we bought two bottles of it!

course 2wo:

jalapeno chile relleno crusted with cornemeal, stuffed w/smoked bacon and goat cheese filling, topped with chile chipotle mojo and plated over the house black beans:

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Unfortunately for me, two elements converged on me during this course - first, I seem to have received the hottest pepper in the house (it tasted amazingly good, but it turned out to be a little too hot for me to handle; hubby Bob agreed my chile was hotter than his):

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The heat infused the filling - so there was no respite. And although the taste of the 2004 Crios Cabernet from Argentina paired perfectly with the bacon-cheese-bean and chile flavors - there was just too much heat for me, especially in light of the second element working against me - a new blood pressure med I had just started that day - which I think did not react well with the spicy food. I did not let this stop me from utterly enjoying this dish!

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course 3hree:

beef tenderloin "cebiche", avocado-chile chilaca relish/cilantro-lime recado, served with 2004 Vega Sindoa Cabernet-Tempranillo from Spain:

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This was a cool, soothing dish after the fire of the relleno, and the wine had hints of lovely sweetness.

course 4our was the piece de resistance of Chef Nolan's artistry:

Chile pequin dusted sea scallop with creamed sweet corn and fire roasted tepin vinegreta, served with 2005 Nora Albarino from Spain:

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The fresh scallop shell (an item seldom seen in Cleveland), when lifted, revealed the following treasures:

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Prefectly fresh and perfectly prepared scallops, resplendent on their bed of creamed corn.

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course 5ive:

To finish this lip-smacking repast - another wonderfully original creation - cantaloupe-candied chile habanaro sorbetto with a honey-lime bizcochito (cookie), topped with fresh mint and drizzled with powdered sugar:

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This was served with a wonderful sweet wine from France - 2000 Chateau Vari, and was cool and hot and refreshing, all at the same time. We found the mint leaves to be winter-tough - but a bit of muddling in the glass increased the complexity of the flavors and resulted in an exquisite end to an extraordinary meal.

Momocho, which calls its cuisine "mod mex", has a multicourse dinner once every other month on the last Wednesday. See their website here

Edited by NancyH (log)

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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