Wink, wink, nudge, nudge

Wink Restaurant
This past Saturday night, The Wife and I secured a babysitter and headed out to belatedly celebrate our anniversary at Wink. We only get over there once ever 12-18 months because it’s a bit expensive with entrees in the $20 range, but it’s well worth it. We’ve been 5-10 times since it took over the spot once held by Ay Chiwawa and Castle Hill in 2001 and it’s been sublime every time.

I try not to use terms like orgasmic, unparalleled or out-of-this-world, but this place makes it difficult. I’m not just saying this because we’re acquainted with Gary, who’s in charge of Wink’s impressive wine selection, and Debra, who’s one of the most experienced wait staff in town, from The Wife’s days of food service at Mars. The place would still be a favorite regardless of who’s serving the food or choosing the wine. The rest of the staff is equally professional, knowledgeable and attentive with Mark and Brendan tending to the arrivals and a waitstaff of four or five serving the 15 tables.

I’ll do a quick list of what we sampled and then comment:

  • seared dayboat scallops with sweet potato-corn hash and curry beurre blanc
  • seared foie gras with toasted brioche and vanilla honey
  • grilled wild boar sausage on parsnip-apple puree with boggy creek farm baby arugula
  • pan roasted hebi with english peas, morel mushrooms and white truffle oil
  • crisp duck breast with baby purple potatoes, beech mushrooms, and lacinato kale
  • chocolate soup with milk chocolate-ginger mousse

We shared all of the dishes which I highly recommend. You’ll end up fighting over who gets to finish each one. The portions are just the right size, in my opinion. I suppose I’d characterize them as medium to small, but not so small that you feel gypped. They offer five and seven course chef tasting menus along with wine pairings for those that really want to go all out.

The foie gras is always on the menu, as far as I can tell, but is prepared differently on most days. I get it almost every time and when I eat it, it actually makes me shudder with delight. I didn’t know this until coming to Wink, but you’ve got to pair it with a glass of Sauternes. The two together are not to be missed.

I’d never had Hebi or Morel mushrooms before this outing. I must say that I’m generally a fan of Hawaiian water fish and mushrooms, so this was right up my alley. It was excellent. As with most of the dishes at Wink, it’s clear that a lot of thought has been put into the food pairings in each dish.

The chocolate soup is also a perennial favorite, although this last time, I think there was something amiss. It may be that the milk chocolate wasn’t warm enough, but I can’t really nail down what was wrong.

As an example of the daily menu change, a re-check of the menu two days after our visit showed these new configurations:

  • seared dayboat scallops with shiitakes, baby leeks, and curry emulsion
  • seared foie gras with fresh brazos blackberries and m

1 Comment so far

  1. Fraize (unregistered) on May 26th, 2005 @ 8:35 am

    Wink ranks on top as my all-time favorite restaurant. Their menu changes daily, their produce comes mostly from local sources, and their wine list *is* fantastic. I still remember the 2000 Mettler Petit Syrah I had last time I was there. That was the same night where my friends and I couldn’t decide on a dessert, so we ordered one of each. The chef and waiter figured out an order to present them so our palates would react well to the changing flavors. Now, that is the sign of an establishment that really cares about their food.

    That said, DON’T GO! The more people learn about Wink, the harder it will be for me to get a table!

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