Alsations, Asian Food, Degustation and Disgust (a plea to sommeliers)
When dining out at a Japanese/Sushi restaurant, ordering “Omakase” is the way to get the best experience possible: entrust yourself to the Chef. Put yourself at the Chef’s mercy, and the results will be a culinary epiphany that will enrich your life. It is very likely that you will try something you have never had before, ingredients and/or combinations thereof. Unfortunately, applying this technique to other styles of cuisine is not as reliable, despite the trend of most high-end restaurants inviting this option with degustation menus. While many mistakes can be made with the food itself in these tasting menus, there is no mistake more common or egregious than the epic epicurian failure of poor wine pairings. I’m not going to single out a particular restaurant or particular degustation/wine-pairing menu therefrom, because I don’t want to get sued; I will instead presume the guilt of all restaurants with such menus, and make this desperate plea to their sommeliers: STOP PAIRING SWEET ALSATIONS WITH ASIAN FOOD — FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. Whoever started this trend should be impaled on a giant satay skewer and waterboarded in a vat of Trockenbeerenauslese. What grows together goes together, and you can’t get much further apart than Southeast Asia and Northern Europe. The cloying sweetness of tropical and stone-fruit flavors in that late harvest Gewurz doesn’t complement the heat of that Thai curry at all; it clashes like blue and orange, like fire and ice, like Metallica and frickin’ Joan Baez. Just cut it out — seriously — or I’m never setting foot in your restaurant again…yes you.