Submitted by Hungry Z on Thu, 05/19/2011 - 11:28pm
When I sit down for lunch or dinner I normally have the intent to review the place. During those times it is myself and one dinner companion. There are times when an invitation for a media event comes along and I join fellow food writers to sample a restaurants offerings in a group setting. These events are fun and definitely a nice perk, but I feel they do not represent a dining experience anyone else will get.
So instead of an official review today, I will give you an inside look of a recent luncheon. First thing to note during these events is that all portions are sample size and do not reflect the full amount of food nor capture the same visual appeal that the regular size entrée would have. This particular luncheon took place on my birthday at Benny’s Chophouse downtown.
Walk in the room, get a cocktail, some smoked salmon, shake a few hands and get ready to feast! Sure I said the portions are small but there are a whole lot of them! Grilled romaine with roasted garlic-lemon vinaigrette is topped with shaved Parmesiano-Reggiano offers up a nice twist on a classic Caesar salad. Take a couple sips of Ravines Riesling and get ready for the second course.
Three dishes are accompanied by three more drinks so I need to be careful not to get sauced before dinner! Warm buratta salad with basil, roasted peppers, and Roma tomatoes are paired with a Neudorf Sauvignon Blanc. Chilled steak tar tare and waffle chips go really well with the Troubadour Belgian IPA. Lastly the lump crab and lobster Louie had great hints of horseradish and was paired with some of Sonoma counties finest.
Stay with me because we’re not done yet. Next is the bone in Alaskan halibut that gives you the feeling of steak and pairs well with the Domaine de L’Aujardiere Chardonnay. Chicken “Under the Brick” had some folks talking about how moist it was but my piece was unfortunately not.
Since we are at a chop house we do need steak. If I order off the menu I usually go for a bone in rib eye, but for these events filets are much easier to produce in small portions so that was what we received. Two options were provided with one being a prime filet and another natural prime filet. Hate to say it, choose the regular as the natural seemed to have more of a mineral taste.
Desserts were beautiful little samples that would actually make for a great dessert to share with friends. Mini crème brulee, carrot and chocolate cakes, apple tart, s’mores, banana crème pie, and a key lime tart made up a fun dessert!
Did I have a good time? Of course! Can I give an accurate review of a dining experience at Benny’s? Unfortunately not. The restaurant is beautiful and the staff is clearly knowledgeable, but without full size portions and seeing the service in regular action I will simply say I had fun. I hope I didn’t come across as pretentious and that you enjoyed a little “day in the life” sneak peek of a local food writer.