Scott Joseph’s Supper Club convened recently at Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster for a sold-out evening of fine food, stellar service and exceptional wines from Chalk Hill Estate.
Supper Clubbers were greeted by Alice Christner, who curated the seating chart for the tables in our private dining room. Christner was giddy about leaving the following day on a vacation — the first that she and her husband, David, had taken, she said, since they joined David’s mother, Carol, in running the restaurant following Russ Christner’s death in 2005. (Those of you who are thinking about owning a restaurant, take note of the committment.)
We began with an appetizer of Fried Shrimp, and I’ll admit that I was a tad disappointed that it wasn’t the Fried Oysters that are one of my go-to orders at Christner’s. But perhaps the oysters weren’t up to standards — it was an R-less month, for those of you who still stand by that canard. But my dismay didn’t last long — the shrimp were every bit as good as the oysters, and perhaps even better. They had the same breading and were fried just as deftly. The Fried Shrimp are not on the regular menu, but perhaps it’s time to add them.
The shrimp were followed with the iconic Blue Cheese Lettuce Wedge, that steakhouse standard of cool crispness smothered with pulpy blue cheese dressing.
The two courses were served with double white wines, the 2017 Chalk Hill Estate Sauvignon Blan and the 2016 Chardonnay. The sauvignon blanc had grapefruit in the nose but not so much on the palate, which is the way I like it. Instead there were flavors of melon and honey, which were very nice with the fried shrimp.
The chardonnay had a characteristic buttery mouthfeel but wasn’t overwhelmingly oaky. Good flavors of peaches and vanilla.
Our main course was a Bone-in Filet, a fine representation of what Christner’s does best. The meat was cooked just right and the seasonings — a special blend — were just peppery enough.
We also enjoyed sides of sautéed mushrooms and au gratin potatoes.
And here we had two reds to accompany: the 2016 Pinot Noir and 2015 Red, a blend. The pinot was my favorite, a smooth and satiny mouthfeel with bits of chocolate and berries in the taste.
The red had cabernet, malbec, petit verdot and merlot, with smooth fruit flavors, blacberry and currants, and a strong bit of oakiness.
For dessert, we enjoyed a substantial slice of New York Style Cheesecake topped with berries macerated in Chambord. Chalk Hill’s 2014 Semillon could have been dessert enough on its own.
We were shepherded through the evening by Chalk Hill Estates’ representative Rachel Masters and Christner’s longtime sommelier, Dan Colgan, as well as a platoon of servers.
I’ve been wanting to partner with Christner’s for a long time. I knew it would be a memorable evening, and I can’t wait to do it again.