In our last installment you got the chance to hear about Ross Burtwell, the chef and owner of The Cabernet Grill in Fredericksburg. After Cassie and I visited with Ross, we stayed for dinner and ate an eleven course meal fit for a king! Here are some highlights of my favorite dishes. With the meal Cassie and I also enjoyed a glass of Texas wine from the extensive, all Texas wine list. Cassie had her favorite sweet wine, while I had a red wine blend.
While the beginning of the meal was delicious, I was especially fond of the fourth course Ross served: a bacon-wrapped fig with blue cheese and a demi-glace. Demi-glace is a traditional sauce in French cooking. It is usually a base for other kinds of sauces and is very thick. This dish was well balanced and delicate. The tanginess of the bleu cheese paired well with the sweet figs and the rich sauce.
The course that followed was my absolute favorite of the entire night. Dubbed a ‘Texas Twinkie,’ Ross took a jalapeño pepper stuffed with a house-made beer sausage, wrapped it in bacon, roasted it, and served it in a creamy sweet and spicy Jezebel sauce. The sweetness in the sauce worked as a tasty contrast to the heat of the pepper and helped to bring out the best flavors the jalapeño had to offer. When I shared my excitement about this dish with Ross, he mentioned that the staff of Cabernet Grill loved them as well. In fact, he had to stop them from ordering the dish for themselves to make sure there were enough left for the customers.
A few courses later was a sous vide beef short rib with braising jus enriched with a Malbec reduction, mashed potatoes, and onions done two ways (1) deep fried and (2) sautéed with balsamic vinegar). Sous vide refers to a cooking process that uses water, a vacuum sealed bag, and a submersible heater. The food is sealed inside the bag and submerged in the water. Then, the heater brings the temperature of the water to an extremely precise point – perfect for low and slow cooking. The result was lusciously tender – no knife required here! This course definitely stuck to my ribs and made me a happy diner.
We rounded out the evening with a trio of ice creams made using Ross’ favorite kitchen gadget, a paco jet, a relatively new invention from Europe. The process starts with freezing your ingredients. Then the paco jet uses a circular blade to shave off tiny layers from the frozen ingredients. While the blade shaves, air is added into the mix and the result is incredibly creamy. After all of this fantastic food (and even writing about it) I slept like a baby with sweet dreams of demi-glace, Texas Twinkies, and creamy ice cream. I can’t wait to get back to The Cabernet Grill and have some more of Ross’ fabulous creations.