A Sweet Date at Capitol Grille

A couple of weeks back it was brought to my attention that Pastry Chef Andy Manchester of Capitol Grille recently developed a new wine and dessert pairing menu at the Oak Bar. I’ve always liked the intimate feel of the Oak Bar, but haven’t been there in quite some time, so this was just the thing to get me in the door again.

My good friend Kandace was in visiting from D.C. last week, and naturally I wanted to show her a great time, so after some nibbles at Suzy Wong’s House of Yum, we headed over to the Hermitage Hotel. Like me, Kandace has a true appreciation for food and wine, so I knew she would be the perfect partner to share in this experience.

Upon arrival we settled into a comfortable spot and were greeted warmly by the staff. It’s moments like these that I’m reminded how lucky I am to live in a city like Nashville. The service was extraordinary, yet down-to-earth, not sterile like some upscale restaurants I’ve been to in my travels. True, genuine, southern hospitality with class.

Now let me point out that although I went on this excursion with a dear friend, this is definitely date-worthy material here. Guys (and girls!), if you’re looking to impress your special someone, whether it’s a first date or a 50th, THIS IS IT. Featuring tastings of three red wines paired with three incredible chocolates, your date will be swooning before the evening is done.

The price tag of $19.50 per person may seem steep to some of you for dessert, but this is a true experience to savor and worth every penny. Generous wine pours and high quality chocolates make this a Nashville “Must Do” as far as I’m concerned.

Here’s a look at what you get:

Blackberry Truffle
paired with
Shooting Star “Black Bubbles” Sparkling Syrah

Kandace and I both loved this truffle with notes of dried fruit and tobacco, and thought this particular pairing may have been the best of the bunch. The truffle was served on that gorgeous green (completely edible) leaf you see pictured at right. It was almost too beautiful to eat. Almost.

Neither of us had ever had a sparkling Syrah before, so we were captivated by the “Black Bubbles”. Refreshing and light, peculiar but delightful, this wine is a great party starter. Chilled notes of blackberry, cherry, and bittersweet chocolate prompted Kandace to go shopping for her own bottle the very next day!

Now don’t get me wrong, as much as we enjoyed the first pairing, we were just as enchanted with the other desserts as well.

Kandace fancied the

Star Anise Ganache Brownie
paired with
d’Arenburg Love Grass Shiraz

Strong, slightly bitter yet elegant flavors in the brownie were complemented by the jammy characteristics of bing cherries, dates and chocolates in the Shiraz.

And I was crazy about the last taste of the evening, the

Cacao Berry Espresso Caramel Tart
paired with
Kaiken Cabernet Sauvignon

The dark chocolate with a strong cocoa flavor and hint of saltiness paired well with the black cherry and chocolate notes from the Cab.

Quick recap:
3 fanastic wines + 3 amazing desserts = 1 delightful evening

Even though I can guarantee that this chocolate and wine pairing will be enough to put you in the good graces of your special someone for a very long time, I’ve got more scoop that could take the experience to a whole other level:

The folks over at Capitol Grille are starting a contest today giving you a chance to win a dinner for two! All you have to do is go to their Facebook discussion board* and tell them about your most interesting first date. A winner will be announced on Friday, April 2, so get over there soon and spill the beans!

Capitol Grille Oak Bar
The Hermitage Hotel
231 Sixth Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37219


*E-mail submissions will not be accepted. You must post your date story to the Capitol Grille Facebook discussion board.

Photos Courtesy of Green Olive Media