A Dinner at Bookwalter – January 21 2013

When I think of Bookwalter Winery, I usually just think of wine. Going forward, I will think of Bookwalter Winery as being home to JBistro and a restaurant that serves some of the highest quality meals made with locally sourced product. I really enjoy eating at restaurants that use locally sourced product. It tastes better and I’ll always be one to support local businesses who also support local.

Let’s talk about what is on the menu:

Scallop Chutney Amuse-Bouche
We started off with an amuse-bouche. If you’re behind on your Top Chef vocabulary, an amuse-bouche is defined as a “single, bite sized hors d’œuvre.” The amuse-bouche that Chef Schwegel prepared was a scallop topped with a chutney. It was also served with a simple pea puree, a red pepper sauce, and a powdered olive oil. I had never seen, tried, or tasted powdered olive oil. It was very unique and honestly delicious. The olive oil dissolved as soon as it hit my tongue. It really paired well with the amuse-bouche.

Sherry Maple Black Walnut Salad
Next up on this parade of amazing food was Chef’s Sherry Maple Black Walnut salad. This salad was one of the most flavorful salads I’ve ever had. I had never conceived of trying a salad topped with maple syrup. Also, the black walnuts (sourced from a purveyor in Pasco) used with this salad were delicious. This salad is also topped with the perfect amount of Berkshire Bacon as well a perfectly cooked quail egg. This salad was so full of flavor, I would go back in a heartbeat just for this alone.

Beet & Caveman Blue Cheese Salad
Chef Schwegel prepared a second salad so we could try as much as possible. This second salad wasn’t on the menu yet and didn’t have an official name but it was dubbed the Caveman Salad. This salad was made with a bed of spinach and topped with beets prepared two ways and topped with Caveman Blue Cheese sourced out of Oregon. This salad also had pine nuts that really complimented the entire salad.

I had never been a fan of beets. However, I am now addicted to them. One of the ways this salad was topped was with beets cooked with some onions and house made beet sauce. The other method was perfectly cubed beets that really complemented the texture of the blue cheese and pinenuts.

Chimichurri Sauce
Just for grins, Chef prepared an amazing chimichurri. If you’ve never had a chimichurri sauce, it’s a simple sauce typically made with olive oil, parsley, a wine vinegar, and other seasonings. I’ve had a few different chimichurri sauces from various restaurants and this was absolutely the best I’ve ever tried. This chimichurri wasn’t part of any specific meal that was prepared for us, but we ended up trying this on everything we could. I was absolutely blown away by how flavorful and tangy this was. It complimented just about everything we put it on. I would go back to JBistro simply for the Sherry Maple Black Walnut salad, a side of bread, and some chimichurri sauce to dip it in.

Wagyu Beef (Black Label)
Wagyu Beef. It’s what’s for dinner. Or at least it should be. Wow. This was some of the best steak I’ve had in a long time. Wagyu beef referers to a special breed of cattle that produces beef that contains more marbling and unsaturated fat that other breeds. The long and short of this means that this type of beef has more flavor with a bit less cholesterol and bad fat. The best part of eating and finishing this steak was I noticed I didn’t have the “weighed down” feeling when eating other types of beef or steak. This steak had amazing flavor and is absolutely one of the best you will find in the Tri-Cities.

Chef served our steak topped with a quail egg and with a side of perfectly cooked potatoes and a delicious cream sauce. The flavor profile of this entree was incredible. The combination of the beef, egg, and cream sauce really hit the spot.

When you order a steak at JBistro, you can add their Oregon Truffle set. What this is a trio of truffle salt, truffle oil, and truffle butter. All three of these sides were absolutely delicious and really set off the flavor of the steak. Of the three, I really enjoyed the truffle salt. I thought the way the truffle salt brought out the flavor of the beef was unmatched by anything you will find elsewhere.

Chocolate Pepper
I really not much of a dessert person. I will try most desserts and be somewhat pleased. All I can say about the Chocolate Pepper at JBistro is, WOW. I haven’t had a dessert this delicious in year.

Chocolate Pepper is a creation of a hollowed chocolate shell, drizzled with a raspberry sauce, all on top of a plate of toasted pepper and Sugar In The Raw. The combination of the chocolate, raspberry, pepper, and sugar was absolutely mind blowing. The Chocolate Pepper is probably one of the top 5 desserts served in the Tri-Cities. The only reason I save some wiggle room with the rating is because everyone has different moods and might crave something different from time to time. However, if you are looking for a chocolate based dessert that will satisfy any cravings, this is the one.

My Final Thoughts
I have been searching far and wide for a restaurant that blows me away since moving back home from Seattle. I have found a few. Now, JBistro is now on that short list of restaurants. When you want to go out for a night out where you know you will be served delicious food, great wine, and the atmosphere to go with it, JBistro should definitely be towards the top of your list. When you give JBistro a shot, I really hope your experience matches the one I had. This is one restaurant I will recommend to anyone who will listen.