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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

restaurant and wine review

so i'm not james beard. sorry. but i am a consumer. one that enjoys food and wine, and the pairings that bring out the best of both. so here goes:

we were in richland washington last week for 5 days. behind our hotel was a restaurant that was doing land office business. i mean, from 4 to 10 in the evening, that parking lot was full. so i inquired about the place. a couple of the instructors told me that it was one of the better restaurants in the area, but it was a bit spendy, and you definitely needed reservations.

so we called Anthony's and found out that we couldn't get a seat until 8:15, the next evening. that's 2015 for those of you that know how to tell time. so i set the reservation for dinner for two at 2015 thursday evening.

when we got there, the place was hopping. the great thing about it is there didn't seem to be a shortage of wait staff. we were seated, and our waitress was right there. no waiting, no craning my neck looking for someone to bring a glass of water.

we got the menus, and i immediately zeroed in on the alder plank king salmon. Moe didn't know what the hell he wanted, so i talked him into the halibut cheeks. halibut is one of the finest cold water deep fish out there, and the cheeks are the most tender and succulent part of the whole fish. and since i was in what is now being called the washington state wine country, i asked our pert and perky (but not too over the top) waitress for a recommendation. we talked about the local appelations, and the characteristics of each. she also clued me in on the fact that most of the local wines are much higher in acidity than i'm used to in the local napa valley wines i've come to love. i've had very few washington wines, and the only wines on the wine list were local. she recommended a crisp and acidic white wine by Hedges Cellars. since i was having garlic mashed spuds with the salmon, and the salmon was topped by a garlic butter sauce, i figured a nice acidic wine would be best. She brought me a glass of Hedges CMS 2004 white. it's a blend of chardonnay, sauvigon blanc, and marsanne grapes. it held its own and then some with the salmon. this isn't a sit down and have a glass of white during a gathering. it IS a killer accompaniment with salmon. i think both flavors were enhanced when put together.

so i was in gusticatory heaven, but as all things must, dinner ended. i was so bummed. they grilled the salmon to perfection. most fish take a sharp and a knowing eye when grilling. the difference between perfection and a piece of dried out fish tasting shoe leather can be as little as 15 seconds. the chef did a superb job on my fish, and Moe wasn't talking at all. he was taken by the flavor and texture of the halibut to the point where our dinner was actually a very quiet affair. along with the salmon and garlic mashed spuds, they served a lightly sauted baby greenbean dish with onion and garlic. it was all good. i didn't even have one bone in the salmon, which told me that the attention to detail in the prep was simply an extension of the attention to detail we saw throughout the entire meal.

After dinner, we ordered their "mountain blackberry cobbler", which was surprisingly good. i have no idea what the hell mountain blackberries are, but they are tiny compared to the ones i've picked my entire life. the crust was more of a pie crust than a biscuit one, but i'll give them that one.

dinner and desert, with a glass of local wine, $40.00. i suppose if you live in richland, that is spendy for dinner. hell, that was a really fair price, especially for how good the food was, and how good the wait staff was. the waitress was so good, i tipped her $20.00.

this place is on the columbia river, with the main windows facing the sunset, which was spectacular. it doesn't look like there is one bad seat in the house. very well designed, well laid out, and expertly set up. i liked this place. a lot.

the restaurant is one of a chain. Anthony's has shops all over the state of washington, including SEATAC airport. which is where we had fish and chips on the way home from richland. i wish they'd come down this direction.

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