As the days grow shorter and we enter a season of crisp autumn evenings, we begin to crave dinners that are roasted with herbs and served with an array of fresh harvest vegetables. When we asked six dining establishments for their recommendations for delicious autumn dishes, they shared their favorites on the menu, along with recommendations for the perfect wine to enjoy with the meal.
Fig Salad & Pinot Grigio
The Nova Restaurant and Wine Bar
The Nova Restaurant and Wine Bar’s signature fig salad is so popular that it appears on the menu year-round. The hero of this salad is the raw fig, accompanied by julienned pears, gorgonzola and toasted nuts tossed in fresh greens with a lemon vinaigrette ($8). “We’ve had it on our menu since we opened, and people love it. It’s something different,” owner Tyrrell Gaffer says. He recommends pairing it with Charles Smith Vino pinot grigio ($7). “It has nice floral fruit notes of green apple and lemon that go well with figs and pears.”
Beef Tenderloin & Barbaresco
Domacin Restaurant & Wine Bar
This mouthwatering cut of beef at Domacin Restaurant & Wine Bar is often prepared in new ways with each changing season. This month, the tender steak is served with fingerling potatoes and asparagus topped with a mushroom ragoût and blue cheese butter ($32). Domacin, which was listed in Travel+Leisure magazine among “America’s 25 Best Wine Bars” is bound to offer an inspired pairing at any meal. With this dish, manager Ethan Gilmore recommends a glass of 2008 Vingin Barbaresco ($14/glass). “It’s earthy, with complex and deep flavors that pair great with mushrooms,” he says. 102 S.
Rack of Lamb & Malbec
Luna Rossa Trattoria and Wine Bar
An impressive grilled rack of lamb is hand-selected, rubbed with herbs and spices. This savory autumn dish is complemented with harvest vegetables such as eggplant, carrots and kohlrabi, along with a choice of baked potato or pasta on the side (market price). Chef-owner Raffaele Virgillo recommends a special 2011 Saracina Skid Row Vinyard Malbec from Mendocino County ($14.99/glass, $59/bottle) to accompany this dish. “To my knowledge, I am the only one who has it locally,” says Virgillo, who knows the winemaker personally. Virgillo also recommends a Saracina Atrea Old Soul Red, a blend of Malbec, zinfandel and petit syrah and syrah, ($45/bottle) that pairs well with lamb.
Chicken with Smoky Tomato Coulis & Chardonnay
The Afton House
Putting a fall twist on chicken, The Afton House pan-sears an all-natural, free-range Amish chicken and serves it with crispy polenta, smoky tomato coulis, market fall vegetables, and finishes it in the oven with an earthy truffle oil ($18). The dish is perfect with a glass of Buena Vista chardonnay from the Carneros area of Napa Valley ($9/glass, $34/bottle). This entrée is also available at The Afton House’s sister restaurants, Swirl and the Current, this fall.
Beef Wellington & Cabernet Sauvignon
The Lowell Inn
“Our beef Wellington is a classic for fall,” Michael Flodquist, bar manager at The Lowell Inn, says. Grilled petite tenderloin and gorgonzola-rosemary sautéed mushrooms are wrapped in a golden flaky puff pastry and served with mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and a side of rich and creamy béarnaise sauce ($28). Add a glass of Rodney Strong cabernet sauvignon ($10/glass) and enjoy the best colors and flavors of fall in one magnificent meal.
Acorn Squash Risotto & Pinot Grigio
Nothing says fall quite like squash. Enjoy your acorn squash this season at Swirl, diced with fresh mushrooms and chopped shallots in a creamy barley risotto, and topped with grated Parmesan ($18). “Squash is so popular in the fall; people love it,” says owner Kathy Jarvis. This dish is also available at sister restaurants, The Afton House and the Current, this fall. Pair this dish with a Coastal Vine pinot grigio from California ($8/glass, $30/bottle) and you have the makings of a perfect comfort-food meal. Swirl is also a wine club and shop, so if you enjoy the wine, you can always bring a bottle home. Additionally, they have 80 to 90 retail bottles of wine to choose from, and Swirl often holds events such as wine dinners and tastings, plus free wine tastings on Friday nights from 6 to 8:30 p.m.