When a renowned chef gets a new bistro where she can experiment and give us the freshest and most tasty renditions of French countryside inspired dishes, I am the first one in the door and come back daily until I have tried every item on the the menu. That is the case with Foremost Wine Company. This hip space feels and looks like something we find in San Francisco. It has an industrial feel with cool decorating touches, two bars, a lounge and a wine shop that stopped me in my tracts with its creativeness and hand selected varietals.
Owner Rob Murray has got a home run on his hands with Wine Director, Robin Puricelli selecting the wines for sale and paired with the food. I loved the velum overlay on the menu that suggested the pairings with each dish. We tried the Malvasia Blanca by Clesi, a Chateau Guibot from Bordeaux and a Pinot Noir from Stasis to go with our first round that was from the Burrata Bar. Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella, while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture. The first one we tried was the Lemon and Garlic, with lemon crème fraiche, garlic chips, Bagna Cauda (an Italian dipping sauce) and Boquerones (small fish like anchovies). Our second one was the Chanterelle with and egg yolk vinaigrette and earthy chanterelle conserva. The menu read, Cheese – Milks leap to Eternity and we all agreed with this amazing amalgamation of flavors and textures.
We moved on to the Starters that were all unique and prepared flawlessly. The Smoked Duck Crostinis came with large slices of levain bread cooked until crisp. On them, laid thinly sliced smoked duck breast with an orange marmalade and Pozo Tome (a raw sheep cheese from Santa Margarita Ranch). We moved on to a salad of Smoked Trout Lyonnaise with winter greens from Windrose Farms, king trumpet mushrooms, fresh crotons and a perfectly poached egg. Then came my favorite dish, Rabbit Mole Tacos. An unbelievable combination of flavors that was the best thing I have ever put in my mouth. With a chocolate essence the Oaxacan mole, Mexican crèma, orange slices, avocado, and spectacular rabbit breast meat, this blew my taste buds away.
This executive chef, Julie Simon is a rare and wondrous delight in the kitchen. She is brave and understands the complexity of flavors better than most, and insists on using the best ingredients. With a chef this talented, I will try anything she prepares. We ordered 12 different dishes that night, shared them all and not one disappointed or failed to impress. The menu changes with Chef’s culinary finds and I vow to try everyone offering.
We moved on to our favorite new find in wine, a 2013 Lo-Fi Cabernet Franc. This wine is astounding by itself, but harmonized flawlessly with our next round of dishes. We also bought bottles to take home, which is a rare treat. Usually you can only consume the wine at the restaurant, but Foremost is set up like a wine shop, so you can take your remarkable finds home.
I had the Pan Roasted Skate. This is a dish I love, but very few chefs are able to prepare it. I knew that Chef Julie was going to wow me with this surprising combination of skate wing, coconut, fried peanuts and lychee. Everyone should try this delectable gift from the sea. The Quail and Cocoa Maltagliati Pasta mesmerized us with a hand cut chocolate infused pasta served with celery root, orange brown butter and pecorino (an Italian hard cheese like parmesan). The Pavè Au Poivre was an impeccable 6-ounce Wagyu fillet with wild mushrooms and a brandy cream.
We moved on to desserts and ports. Each dessert was served in a small mason jar and each captivated our already full bellies. There was a Lemon with an olive oil cake (Chef Julie is famous for this cake) layered with meyer lemon curd and crème fraiche. My favorite was the Tcho Chocolate Tourt with macerated strawberries, rose petal jam and a black pepper anglaise. They all tasted extraordinary.
The service was impeccable and everyone seems to have the goal to make sure each diner had a magnificent experience. The check came with a packet of seasonal seeds to plant and grow your own organic Toscano Kale. I loved this little gift and planted by the light of the moon. You will see me often at Foremost Wine Company, as feast creations this virtuous are a dream come true and the menu changes with the seasons.
Foremost Wine Company is at 570 Higuera Street (in the creamery) in San Luis Obispo; call them at (805) 439-3410.