My birthday came around, as they do whether we like it or not, but there were some consolations. Chief among them, a dinner with good friends Rosemary and Jim at The Good Fork, a restaurant in the emerging but still gritty Brooklyn neighborhood called Red Hook.
It’s a small, casual place with the locavore menu and short, eclectic wine list that are standard in this new wave of new American places in Brooklyn. Sohui Kim, the chef-owner, has cooked at Annisa and Blue Hill, and adds some piquant Asian touches to the food, like black bean sauce on roast chicken, and black rice that accompanies a duck breast grilled medium rare. Prices are reasonable (with main courses $18 to $23), service is friendly and the place draws a relaxed, diverse crowd clearly enjoying themselves.
As were we, not least because Jim had pulled a 1999 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet from his cellar. It showed classic California character: smooth and dense, with a deep core of ripe black cherry fruit. Yet it had matured beautifully, adding spice, tobacco and herbal notes over softening tannins. I’d say this red is on a happy plateau that could last another five to 10 years; I rated it 92 points, non-blind. Was it perhaps a bit more serious, more grown-up, than the restaurant itself? Perhaps, but then so were we; it just made the moment all the sweeter.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review and see the current auction price for Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley The Montelena Estate 1999 (94 points, $140 on release).