In Texas, there are too many restaurants that refuse to take the same care with their wine lists as they do with their food menus. Five years ago, after an experience with one of Dallas’ “venerable” institutions, I let loose with my vent and the idea that Dallas diners deserved so much better.
Then restaurants like Malai Kitchen come around and bring back hope that a dining experience should involve equal attention to food as well as the wines that bring out the full flavors of the menu. Almost two years ago, I was invited by Yasmine and Braden Wages to try the 20 wines by the glass they had carefully chosen to compliment their Asian menu. Here was my experience.
I loved that they challenged convention and had suggested pairings to make the dining experience easier and to take the guesswork out for consumers. Fast forward to December of 2015, and the Wages had added flights of red and white wines. For $22, consumers receive four white wines or four red wines equaling about two full glasses of wines. Because the menu is so diverse, it was a great way to experience a wide range of food and wines. The process also allows some discoveries about non-traditional pairings.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about our Texas Wineaux group, a group of wine lovers who have gathered together to taste wines, eat great food and generally have a great time. When I received the invitation from Malai, I knew that this group would so enjoy the experience.
Our line-up looked a little like this.
The White Flight:
- 2014 Selby Sauvignon Blanc
- 2014 Chateau Routas Rose
- 2012 Les Vignes d’Alexandre Chateauneuf-du-Pape
- 2014 Kessler “R” Riesling
We paired these with Vietnamese meatballs, Ahi Tuna tartare, crab curry spicy dip and coconut soup. The Selby and the tuna tartare as well as the coconut soup were fantastic pairings. The Chateau Routas and the spicy crab dip was amazing. While we all agreed the Kessler Riesling was a great match, it was the safer choice of all of the other wines.
The Red Flight:
- 2006 Chateau Compassant Bordeaux
- 2014 Bodegas Filon Granacha
- 2011 Renwood Old Vine Zinfandel
- 2012 Bell Syrah
We paired this with a number of dishes including the Iron Pot Green Curry Chicken, the Snapper special and the Drunken Noodles. The Chateau Compassant Bordeaux was the clear winner with both the curry and the snapper dishes.
Malai Kitchen continues to be an affordable, well concepted and fantastic bright spot in Dallas’ dining scene run by one of the nicest couples out there. And for those of you who live closer to Southlake, you will soon have a Malai Kitchen to call your own as well. Try the coconut cream pie – it is worth breaking your New Year’s Resolution.