It was the night of the Opera. My darling and I had tickets to Sweeney Todd and we were making a night of it. Before the Opera was dinner at Morton’s The Steakhouse. Morton’s got their start in Chicago more than thirty-five years ago and has grown to over 69 restaurants all over the world.
We began our evening in the bar where I had my usual Bombay Sapphire Martini with a twist. My darling had a glass of 2013 Raymond Primal Cut Cabernet Sauvignon, a very nice Cabernet that was bold and fruity while allowing the tannins to come through strongly. Justin, our bartender was friendly, courteous and very knowledgeable, especially when it came to their selection of Single Malts, even recommending one by the name of Aberlour A’bunadh.
Having frequented Morton’s in the past, it was pleasant to note that Jason, our waiter came in to check on us while we sat in the bar and even remembered that we enjoy Pellegrino with a slice of lime and told us he would have some chilling at our table when we decided to transition to the main dining room.
When we did transition, our table was waiting and when we arrived I noted that a gluten free menu was waiting for us.Morton’s seems to take pride in remembering even the small little details.
Jason was warm and friendly while pouring our water’s and we definitely enjoyed the friendly banter. He recommended a 2013 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir by the name of . We placed our order; the Honey-Chili Glazed Salmon Fillet as a main course and the Lobster Bisque as an appetizer for my darling and I had the Maine Whole Lobster and the Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail as a starter.
Jason put a personal touch on our experience by telling me he would be shelling the Lobster personally. He left us to enjoy the ambiance of the restaurant and each other’s company. The restaurant has rich textures and dark subdues lighting that makes for a very intimate atmosphere. It is a very popular spot in Portland with many patrons having their own personal wine lockers.
Morton’s Sommelier, Patrick Kultzen (who also happens to be their Assistant Manager), who brought us our bottle of Beaux Frères, next visited us with our bottle of Beaux Frères. He gave us a quick history of the wine, which had a medium ruby red color. Notes of pie cherries and strawberries on the nose and spice components and bramble fruit follows through on the palate with the tannins finishing very nicely. After pouring the wine Patrick was kind enough to stay with us for a few minutes and discuss the various vineyards in the Willamette valley some of which we both had visited.
When my darling’s lobster bisque came, she was in seventh heaven. It’s one of her favorites and one she can rarely enjoy, since it’s generally thickened with flour and it’s almost impossible to find a gluten-free version. The soup was perfectly balanced – creamy with a tang of sherry and a soft heat from white pepper. The shredded lobster that capped this dish was a wonderful compliment. She said it was excellent.
My Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail was a true sight to behold. Misting with bits of dry ice, the shrimp were large and tender, perfectly shaped, and not curled up as shrimp usually do when they are cooked.
Patrick checked in on us again to make sure we were enjoying the wine and with perfect timing, our main courses came just as we finished our starters. It has been a very long time since I last had Maine Lobster. The presentation was impeccable and the Lobster itself was succulent, tender and brought forth many a fond memory for some 30 years past when I was in Chicago.
My darling’s salmon was presented on top of a relish of roasted garbanzo beans, corn, diced tomatoes and sautéed spinach. The honey chili glaze gave the fish a sweet tang with a little bit of heat, which was nicely accented by the relish. I am sorry now that I did not sample her dish – I was too focused on my lobster to remember to ask. However, she was quite pleased and said it was delicious. It was served medium rare – tender and just barely cooked through without being over done. This is the perfect way to serve fish, in my experience.
After the dishes were cleared, our waiter tempted us with dessert. My darling chose Crème Brûlée for us to share, while I opted for a finger of 12-year old Belvanie Doublewood. It’s not as nice as my personal favorite, the 21-year old Portwood, but it is an excellent single malt and pairs quite nicely with Crème Brûlée.
We were not disappointed. The Crème Brûlée and it’s creamy texture paired, as always, quite wonderfully with the Belvanie. When we finished, it was off to the Opera. A production that is, was and always will be our favorite.