A Birthday to Remember


It was my friend Hannah’s birthday last Sunday, but I got a present too, which was being invited to the epic dinner thrown for her by her boyfriend David—with a huge assist from the amazing team at Rubicon, which opened specially on a Sunday for the occasion.

David is a serious wine collector, so we enjoyed lots of good French wine, including a wonderful Meursault Genvrieres (Chardonnay), austere Champagne from Gimonet, Premier Cru Chablis from Louis Michele (another Chardonnay), a Bonneau de Martray Corton-Charlemagne (yet another Chardonnay), a delicious Volnay (Pinot Noir) from Jean Boillot and a giant bottle of 1995 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle (Syrah) that was just smoking.

Chef Brioza and the roast suckling pig

But the real stars of the evening—besides all the glittering guests (which included from the wine world sommelier Larry Stone, winemaker Michael Havens, and wine importers Steve and Faith Ventrello), and besides Rubicon’s excellent sommeliers Cezar and Matt—were chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski.

Chef Krasinski

If you haven’t eaten at Rubicon in a few years, it’s imperative that you go, especially if you’re a wine lover. Brioza has one of the most adept touches for creating wine friendly food that I’ve ever seen. Not only does he capture and balance flavors with an amazing sensitivity, but more importantly, he understands textures. His dishes never simply complement a wine, they make the wine sing. This was proved over and over again during this nine-course meal. Likewise, Nicole, who has made a reputation with savory desserts that also pair beautifully with all manner of drink, from wine to even beer (which she has used in and served in some creations). Hannah's birthday meal—which included whole suckling pig, smoked duck, broiled Japanese Mackerel, Tsar Nicolai caviar and burrata cheese, a frozen honey-jasmine mousse with fresh plum coulis and a scrumptious cocoa cake with Blue Bottle buttercream to round things out—was one of the greatest I've had in my life and one of the most wonderfully wine-oriented dinners I will probably ever have.

Watermelon and goat cheese

Thanks to Stuart, Nicole, Cezar, Matt, Ken and the rest of the Rubicon staff who gave a Sunday. Thanks to David for making this memorable event happen. And thanks to Hannah for having a birthday.

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