Date night.  As someone who has been married for almost 16 years and the mom of a four-and-a-half year old daughter, it’s has been an important time for my husband and I to reconnect – away from the grind of the everyday realities of life. 

If you know me, you know that Abacus restaurant is high on our rotation list – we eat there often and my husband takes cooking classes there many weekends.  We realized we went there possibly too much when we received flowers from them when our daughter was born.  We still have no idea how they knew when I had given birth and what hospital we had chosen.   But, we have another place on our rotation that is as equally wonderful.

Some of you may remember William Koval, the highly lauded chef that made the French Room at the Adolphus Hotel a five-star experience as well as the youngest executive chef in history for the Ritz Carlton.  He’s a man who inspires awe in other chefs and the foodies that follow him.  After the Adolphus he had a few other gourmet stints in other cities, but has come back home.

William’s food is enough of a draw, but when you combine it with a Wine Spectator “award winning” wine list of small production, unique wines, under the direction of Tony Zaranti, you have food/wine nirvana.  What’s the price tag, you ask?   Sixty dollars for a three-course gourmet dining experience plus the cost of the wine, which has a very small mark-up.  And did I mention that you don’t tip on that?

So, I’m telling you this in the hopes that you have some friends in East Dallas and can wrangle an invitation to the wine room at Lakewood Country Club.  Our last experience included the following menu:

First Course:

Chilled Maine Lobster (paired with Moet Chandon Sparkling)

Sticky Rice, Laosion Crispy Beef, Cashew, Dried Cherry, Mint, Candied Ginger, Spicy Carrot Sauce

 Carrot Ginger Liquid (paired with Basil Hayden Bourbon; husband’s choice)

 Shrimp and Pork Shumi

 Second Course:

 Seared Nova Scotia Halibut

 Spinach, Artichoke, Parsnip, Orange Powder, Ver Jus Sauce

 Seared Sterling Silver Beef Tenderloin

 Roasted Sweet Pepper, Shallot, Garlic, Golden Yukon Fries, Black Pepper Demi

 Third Course:

We bypassed the warm green apple almond tart, fried Valrhona chocolate and the soufflés for the artisan cheese plate and sorbet with mixed berries. 

Due to a snafu with an older vintage, our main wine that night was a 05 Chateau de Beaucastel Red.  While young, it had fantastic fruit with liquorice and blackberry undertones.   I also detected some spice.  The wine list at Lakewood has received an Award of Distinction from the Club Manager’s Association of America’s International Wine Society for the quality of the list.  And, without the painful markup of most restaurants, you can pick a great wine for a great price.

As we left for the evening we received a nice breakfast package of cinnamon rolls – just a nice touch for an elegant evening of gourmet food and well-paired wine.