Restaurant Notes Extra: A Taste of Proximo at BakerStreet Steakhouse provides heat
When we heard about BakerStreet Steakhouse giving a sneak taste of the owners’ next restaurant, the Latin American-inspired Proximo, we wasted no time in signing up. We found out from our six-course meal and wine pairing experience Sunday that the dishes likely will have lots of lime notes and touches of heat.
Both the initial Monday date of the 4820 Dinner Series: Introducing “Proximo” and the added Sunday date that we attended sold out. Taking along our friend, Gina, we found our reserved table at the restaurant, 4820 N. Clinton St. and were soon joined, to our surprise, by a former journalism colleague and his date.
Proximo will be opening sometime May-July at 898 Harrison St. in the Ash Skyline Plaza in the space that the Golden occupied, as well as the former spot of the Find. The owners, who in addition to BakerStreet operate Hoppy Gnome at 203 E. Berry St., plan to draw from a number of cuisines, including Brazilian, Chilean and Colombian for a fine dining experience while serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Owner Lysa Pilkington introduced the dishes created by chef Randy Fisher on Sunday night to pair with the six Latin American wines described by a wine representative.
Our first course featured a white wine, Marques de Caceres, Rueda Verdejo, 2016 – the Verdejo grape containing citrus notes in the wine from Rueda, Spain – with a halibut ceviche infused with lime, topped with pico and grapefruit segments and plantain chips on the side. At least that’s what the menu, and Fisher said. Our table wondered where the grapefruit segments played into the cold, meaty fish. Fisher admitted the ingredient got forgotten in the kitchen. The appetizer still had plenty of flavors, though when we tried the fish on the plantains it washed out both flavors. Separately, we enjoyed the fish and the salty plantains.
The second course provided Cono Sur, Sauvignon Blanc 2016 – from the Southern Cone in South America – with a wedge of baby romaine topped with poblano-and-cilantro Caesar dressing and Cotija cheese with large cornbread croutons on the side.
“I tried to do a play on the Caesar salad,” Fisher told the diners.
The Cotija, a cheese that originated in Mexico, provided more brine than the traditional Parmesan to go with the saltiness of the wine, he said. The sweetness of the cornbread balanced out the dish.
We can never go back to those hard bread cubes after enjoying the large cornbread croutons, which Fisher said he’d likely replace with the plantains. The heat in the dressing wasn’t evenly distributed, with it being concentrated in the heart of the wedge. We also weren’t a wedge fan. It seemed like a lot of work with various layers not getting any dressing.
The third course was a hearty stew. The carne guisada beef and potato stew containing watermelon radish. The chili sauce provided some bite and the potatoes added to the heartiness. We don’t usually like cabernets because of their oakiness, but the Tinito Negro, Cab Franc 2014 from Argentina was aromatic and pleasant.
The fourth course was pork carnitas sopes with a red chili sauce, cilantro and lime creme. Though ours wasn’t made with lard, traditional carne guisada is, and so might Proximo’s. The small circle of thick tortilla topped with meat and cream was a favorite of ours. It was paired with a Terrunyo, Carmenere 2015 from Chile. The wine representative called the Carmenere “the lost grape of Bordeaux” that vineyard owners in that region of France sent their children with to Chile after having trouble with the vines. It became the signature grape of Chile. It’s one you’ll either love or hate, she said. It has a bit of peppery spice flavor to it.
The fifth course featured a braised short rib with a grilled chorizo cake with a blackberry thyme demi glaze and grilled chayote squash. Our friend Gina praised the squash and had been looking for a new way to prepare it. The Alma Negra, Malbec Blend 2014 from Argentina was paired with it.
The finale was a cuatro leches cake. No, not a tres leches, or three milks cake, made with evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream. Fisher had to do one better and have a four-milks cake by adding coconut milk and topping it with dark cherry compote and whipped cream. We’re used to super-sweet desserts, so this was a nice luscious cake that highlighted the cherry flavor. It came with the Bodega Garzon, Tannat 2015 from Uruguay.
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