On a recent trip to Puerto Rico, I enjoyed what has been hands down the best meal I have ever eaten in my life at Fern Restaurant at the St. Regis Bahia Beach in Rio Grande. A Jean-Georges restaurant, the menu focuses on contemporary American dishes with a global influence and local Puerto Rican twist. When there I enjoyed a degustation and wine pairing meal, with six courses in total (actually seven, as our waiter surprised us with their avocado pizza topped with jalapeño, cilantro and lime for some local flavor). The above photo is of a hearty piece of roasted grouper served with aromatic black beans, avocado and scallion, which was paired with a 2010 Cotes du Rhone Parallele 45 Rose. The dish was an excellent example of the blending of Asian and Puerto Rican flavors, with the beans being the most important flavor-enhancer in the dish.
A few other pairings I enjoyed during the experience included hamachi sashimi served with a soy-ginger dressing, radish and avocado and paired with a 2009 Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling; grilled beef tenderloin with gingered shiitake mushrooms and a soy caramel emulsion paired with a 2010 Bridelwood Bordeaux blend from the Central Coast of California; and a piece of slow braised black pepper octopus with sweet onions and aji dulce paired with a 2011 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viogner from California.
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