TN: a night of plonk, followed by a good Friuli


Tuesday I got stuck for a ride to pick up a truck from repair shop, called Betsy to save me. Made her pressed for time for dinner shopping, so I told her I'd take her out. We went to the just opened Half Moon, which had replaced the rather dreadful Chart House by the river in Dobbs Ferry. Only been open 2 days, the decor was much improved from the Chart House (no improvement on the view was possible- right on the Hudson facing the Palisades). They're aiming for upscale "beach bar" food, with lobster rolls, burgers, "clam bakes" as well as more traditional "new American" dishes.
So here was the unbelievable part to me. Half Moon is same people as Harvest in Hastings, which has a decent wine list. I asked for list, and was told they didn't have it printed yet. They only had by the glass wines, and the waiter only knew the varieties, no producers. I'll assume this is opening jitters, really totally unacceptable in a restaurant above diner level. To start, I took a fling on a glass of Chenin Blanc. Lemon, apple, a=A0 little wax. Not flabby, but not zippy either. Just off-dry (sec-tendre). I was guessing California, but a look at the bar later leads me to believe it was the Indaba Chenin from South Africa. B-
My favorite starter of the night was a small plate of "blistered" shishito peppers, with sea salt. Great snack. I also liked the duck tacos, was a little less impressed with the bland/doughy corn empanadas.
For main courses, we avoided seafood as that was Betsy's plan for Wednesday. I got pork chops (and pork belly) a la plancha, with endive, tabbouleh, and squash. Pork was well seasoned and an enormous portion, the tabbouleh and squash were both bland/underseasoned. Betsy got an ok veal scallopini with over easy egg and sauteed spinach.
I asked what reds they had, again varieties only, so got a Pinot Noir for Betsy and a Cabernet Sauvignon for me. The Pinot Noir was light and high acid, a bit sharp and short. B-/C+ The Cabernet was ripe and very sweet, not my style. Short and with a little chemical note on finish. C (I rarely leave wine I bought by glass, but My peek at bar area leads me to believe we drank the Roc Chateau Vieux Pinot Noir, I didn't spot a CS out. There was a Cabernet/Shiraz blend from Hidden something, maybe that's what I drank.
Betsy got a strawberry shortcake dessert, huge and she quite liked, though she could only eat 1/3. She liked the fact they had Harney's tea, and I got a good cup of coffee. Considering the view, we'll go back, assuming a real wine program is instituted (based on management, I'm betting they are planning on it. OK stems).
We stopped by some friends on the way home. He offered me a glass of a $7 cheapie he had just opened, the 2005 Rancho Zabaco Dancing Bull Zinfandel. Light-bodied fruit bomb, raspberry/blackberry jam, feels thick even though it's not actually a big wine. Again, not my style, but probably at price a crowdpleaser. B-/C+
So=A0not a great wine night. When Betsy told me Wedesday dinner was branzino with olives, oranges, and olives, I pondered Soave, but decided to make up for day before with a more serious Italian white. Wine was the 2006 Schiopetto Tocai Friulano (Collio). Bigger styled Friulian wine, muscular but at the same time clean and elegant. We started with a few big Alaskan oysters, a lighter Muscadet might have been more classic, but the saline minerality of this did ok. It did even better with the fish. The citrus and almond aromas of the wine did well with the oranges and nuts, while the clean acidity was perfect for the fish. No apparent oak, lemon and pear fruit, wet rocks, long finish. This is a dry wine but the fruit has a nice sweet aspect, and the mineral notes are quite intense. I seldom spend $30 on an Italian white, but this time I'm glad I did. A-/B+
Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.
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DaleW

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