Some days, I would love nothing more than to escape from the chaos, cuddle up on a sofa, sip some wine and wind down from the craziness that can often ensue throughout the week.
I call “some days” Fridays and thankfully on those days the historic Brown Hotel is offering up a new international champagne experience inside the lobby bar built with enchanting classic English Renaissance architecture.
Last Friday, I took a drive down to the hotel with a couple coworkers to sample the weekly menu and jump-start the weekend with a few glasses of bubbly in a relaxing atmosphere fit for royalty.
Chef Laurent Géroli prepared the menu, which he has been serving to the public since New Year’s Eve and every Friday since.
To begin the tasting, I found a cozy spot on one of the plush chairs inside the lobby and plopped down in front of an elegant glass dining table.
Chef Géroli first brought out the Kentucky Country Ham Brioche ($5) with paddlefish caviar from the Cumberland river, sour cream, chives and capers.
I’ve always been one to stray from raw fish eggs but the combination of meat and zesty toppings on soft brioche was the perfect mix, and to my surprise, the favorite dish I sampled that afternoon.
While chowing down on the brioche, I sipped on the Perrier Jouet Grand Brut ($8; retail value $55) from France. The floral tasting wine is a sweet concoction of pineapple and grapefruit flavors that is every bit as savory as the hors d’oeurve I was enjoying with the drink.
Next up on the menu was the deviled egg trio ($4) featuring a smoked salmon mousseline, roasted bell pepper and artichoke puree variation of the delicious finger food. Each deviled egg had a slightly different quality of taste, and if I had to name a favorite, it was definitely the roasted bell pepper option.
While devouring the devilish delight, I also tried a bite of the Hawaiian Tuna Poke ($7). Served with black seaweed salad on fried wonton, I was a little skeptical at first of the exotic appetizer. Though somewhat rare for my taste buds, this dish is an excellent choice for those tired of the tried and true American cuisine.
As if that weren’t enough, the chef then delivered a healthy serving of lobster macaroni and cheese ($8) complete with a lobster claw in the center of the bowl. Though, I often attempt to limit my carb intake, this sinfully scrumptious helping was too good to pass up. After one bite, I couldn’t resist another three or four fork-fulls. But, with the lobster meat pieces stirred into the pasta, could I really feel that guilty? Lobster is protein, after all.
To accompany the carbolicious course, I drank a glass of Feuillatte Palm D’Or ($15; retail value $200), a heavier-tasting champagne hand-crafted with grapes from eight Grand Cru Vineyards.
Last but not least, the delectable dessert: the mini Pineapple savarin with cream Chantilly ($4) served beautifully on a glass dish with chocolate syrup lining the plate. Though I was pretty full from all the other appetizers, I of course left room for the sugary finale. Along with the cookie doused in fruit and cream, I finished off the afternoon with the Roederer Estate Brut ($6; retail value $30) from Anderson Valley, Calif. The champagne is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with an almond tone and apple and pear flavors.
You don’t have to drink any one glass with any one dish, and if you really want to, you can eliminate the food and just sample the champagne.
Either way, the picturesque lobby of The Brown along with the satisfyingly filling fare will take off that edge the week is sure to create, and help get you into the spirit for a weekend full of fun and free from stress.
The Brown Hotel will offer its special champagne tasting menu from 4 to 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Friday.
The hotel will also offer a specialty priced hotel package for two for patrons who mention the champagne promotion. Guests will receive an overnight stay complete with chocolate covered strawberries upon arrival and a Hot Brown lunch for two on either the Friday or Saturday of their stay. The package is available for $139 plus tax on Friday nights through February 24, and also includes valet parking, free wireless internet and complimentary airport transportation. For more information or reservations, visit www.brownhotel.com or call 502.583.1234.
Photos by CHRIS HUMPRHEYS | The Voice-Tribune