A sumptuous feast was recently unveiled by owner/chef Keith Griffin at his Bacchus restaurant, highlighting the exceptional quality of flavour when it comes to cooking with Certified Angus Beef. The Journal was there for a sampling.
Certainly not a dinner for vegetarians, the recent focus of a special one night only dinner at Bacchus, that cosy restaurant located in the heart of George Town that feels like home from home, was squarely on the versatility and quality of Certified Angus Beef.
Keith says his restaurant’s commitment to CAB is based upon the excellent quality and consistency of their products.
“In many respects modern cooking tends to be over exaggerated and complicated and I think that we should not underestimate the appeal of good quality products simply prepared,” he says. “This is especially true when it comes to beef products. In most cases the customer is not looking for over elaborate preparations with too many flavours on the plate, rather just a high quality, well prepared steak.”
Keith explains that all CAB meats are raised under strict guidelines, governing feed and grazing for the cattle, and all meats are graded by CAB before packaging.
Dax Foster from Progressive Distributors, the exclusive food service distributor in Cayman for CAB says: “In today’s highly competitive and cost driven business environment, Cayman’s top performing restaurants are demanding quality beef that delivers consistent and tangible benefits. Today’s consumers are dialed into the age old principal of return on investment. When they are dining out to eat a steak, they don’t need any disappointing surprises and rightfully so. Why should consumers pay a fair price and in return receive a substandard meal? Progressive’s belief is that consumers are more discerning about what, where, and when they eat. This means that Cayman’s top restaurants need to be on their game as far as consistently serving beef that is flavourful, tender and juicy.”
Foster says this is attainable by virtue of the ten quality specifications found only in the Certified Angus Beef programme.
“For example, these specifications take into account defining criteria such as marbling which is the driving force behind flavour. Certified Angus Beef specifies moderate to high marbling in every steak. Essentially, more marbling means more flavour!” he says. “Another important brand specification to expect is the age of the cattle. Who wants to eat old tired product? Certified Angus Beef specifies “A” maturity cattle which means we are delivering the youngest classification of product for superior texture and tenderness.”
Foster says they are proud to work with Certified Angus Beef and fine local restaurants such as Bacchus and who are committed to serving good tasting, high quality and consistent steaks to their guests.
“With CAB we can ensure that all our meats are of the highest quality and we can be confident that our customers will enjoy dining on the best meats available,” Keith confirms.
Diners began their meal grazing at the bar with a plethora of amuse bouche available to get the taste buds into first gear. Once seated, we were graced with a delicate plate of carpaccio of pepper-seared striploin, served with quails eggs, an arugula salad, smoked bacon powder and white truffle oil, a delight for the eyes as well as the tastebuds.
This first course was served with the first of a series of excellent wines from Blackbeards, all well balanced with the dishes. The first wine was a light and fruity Erath Pinot Noir 2008 from Oregon. Oregon is currently producing some amazing Pinot Noir wines, and the Erath is a fine example, marrying the conducive climate (Pinot grape varieties thrive in Oregon’s northern latitude with occasional marine breezes and long hours of sunshine), viticultural practices whereby fruits are thoroughly ripened, and winemaking practices, combining time-honored practices and new technologies to capture the unique character of the vineyards.
The versatility of CAB was shown off to great effect with the next course (and a personal favourite), as diners made the leap from delicate and elegant to full in-your-face flavour, with a dish of hoisin braised shortrib sandwich. This was served with a glass of 689 Cellars from Napa Valley, another favourite choice.
The 689 Cellars Winery (named after Chinese lucky numbers - 6 for happiness, 8 for wealth and 9 for longevity) is a boutique winery situated in California’s Napa Valley which makes a fruity proprietary blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet, Merlot and Petite Syrah, from select Napa Valley vineyard sites. The wine is a riot of dark crimson colours and fruit forward flavours with a smoky edge made for beef short rib.
Mains was a classic centre cut of tenderloin carved tableside and served with Argentinean pesto called chimichurri and a tomato béarnaise sauce. Chef Keith served the dish with panache and diners enjoyed the meat with relish. A St Francis Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma 2006 was a great choice of wine pairing for this dish, the ripe tannins cutting through the mighty chateaubriand wonderfully. The St. Francis Winery has been producing top quality wines from mountain and valley vineyards in Sonoma County’s best appellations for 35 years creating bold, fruit forward wines, and their 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent example of this.
A delightful cheeseboard wound up the proceedings in fine style, with a hands on approach for diners to dive in and enjoy the delicious selection of continental cheese and as well as sun dried fruits, chutneys and crispbreads. A Velvet Devil Merlot from Washington 2009 was a heavenly choice with which to wind down this successful exercise in showcasing the flexibility and superiority of such superb a product as Certified Angus Beef.