Friday, February 23, 2007

The Comfort Zone

Dinner at Three Doors Down last night is the perfect answer to the question, "You keep going back to the same places, don't you?" The affirmative answer is obvious to me, because it's when you really get to know a place and the people who work there that you enter the comfort zone.
Yesterday my consigliere DOR and I grabbed two comfortable seats at the bar of 3DD and settled in for what we both knew would be a most satisfying experience. Three Doors has a great warm feel. Most of the servers have been there for years, which always adds to the familiarity. And then there's the food. To say that Chef Dave Marth's food satisfies would be a gross understatement. If you saw Dave on the street, he of the large frame, permanent stubble, and rabid Yankee fandom, he seems more like a guy you'd be throwing beers back at the bar with than a guy who has an incredibly deft, delicate touch in the kitchen. So many things on his menus define comfort food with an Italian bent, and I can't get enough.
Anyway, we settled in at he bar, me with my new favorite thing, a cool refreshing Hendricks Gimlet, wrought with great expertise by bartender/enabler Matt. We had a couple of appetizers, including some briny good Totten Inlet oysters and their crazily good version of a grilled cheese. Picture two slices of white bread filled with fresh mozzarella, grilled and resting on the plate in a bath of lemon butter sauce and you get the idea. Insane! The 1/2 bottle of 2005 Domaine Neveu Sancerre "Vielles Vignes" was the perfect compliment to both. Sancerre is something DOR and I both have great love and respect for. If there is a better expression of sauvignon blanc, it hasn't made it's way past my palate.
For entrees, DOR chose the roast chicken which was awesome. 3DD being the only place I eat roast chicken outside of my own kitchen because Dave rocks with the bird. I was left with no choice but to have their pasta special, because Matt said those magic words I long to hear when he described it: "braised pork belly Bolognese with ground pork mixed in on rigatoni and......." and I pretty much didn't hear anything else as the pig had my head. This was fucking spectacular pasta, so rich, so filled with porcine goodness that it had me wolfing it down. I somewhat resentfully offered to let DOR try some. Luckily he took a small bite...sorry DOR, you know how petty I am when it comes to food! We started in on a bottle of '99 Feudo di San Gregorio Taurasi, a great single vineyard red from Sicily made from the aglianico grape, that I brought with me, which I was loving but DOR was so-so on. Being the one to only want for my friends happiness, I gave DOR the wine list and he picked the 2003 Limerick Lane "Collins Vineyard" Zinfandel, a choice greeted with much eye rolling by Roger and Matt. I used to love zinfandel, but lately have gone all Italian and Frenchie in my wine drinking. But I've gotta say this was delicious. Super-rich, a surprising restraint on the oak, spicy raspberry fruit, delicious finish. Pretty much the perfect bottle of zin.
By this time, we were feeling it. Dave came out of the kitchen and we had some baseball talk, and Matt insisted on comping us a small taste of their house made limoncello, which was sublime. Again, welcome to the comfort zone!

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