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'Bring Your Own Bottle': Customized wine-paired dinners at Pinot Bistro

June 29, 2011 |  6:02 am

Pinot Bistro, located in Studio City, has recently taken their practice of a no-corkage fee policy to the next level by allowing diners to bring in their own bottle of vino for a customized wine-paired three-, four- or five-course dinner. With an advance notice of vintage or varietal, executive chef Steven Mary crafts a menu composed of the restaurant’s traditional French fare with a take on modern California cuisine, tailored to compliment the wine of choice. We sat down with chef Mary to find out what these “Bring Your Own Bottle” dinners are all about:

How did the idea for “Bring Your Own Bottle” dinners come about? The idea for “Bring Your Own Bottle” came about as a way to capture an audience, tap into a market and encourage a practice already in place that is our no corkage policy. Rather than frowning on guests bringing in wines from their personal collections, we thought it would be advantageous to extend our passion for food and wine, and create an experience that both complements and enhances the diner’s experience.

How do you create dishes for specific varietals/vintages? Creating menus to pair with wines can be challenging, but also romantically exciting. With a little research and a knowledgeable, invested staff, ideas give birth to experimentation, and ultimately artful, intentional parings that compliment and bring out the best of food and wine.

Do you consult with a sommelier when creating these customized dinners? We consult our colleagues within our working communities, to include sommeliers, chef mentors, “foodie” clientele and our innovative thinkers, but most decisions come from experience, from fond memories and from the soul when creating customized dining experiences.

Curious to know what an example of a “Bring Your Own Bottle” customized menu might be structured like, we asked chef Mary to create a menu for pairing with a 2009 Tantara Pinot Noir from Bien Nacido Adobe Vineyards. And, here's the result:

Amuse Bouche: Pate de poulet et foie gras-Terrine of chicken and foie gras, dried fruit compote

First course:Wild Oregon mushroom risotto, prosciutto crisp, micro basil

Second course: Duck confit, soft polenta, fava beans, summer cherries, spiced jus

Third course: Grilled lamb-herb gratin, flageolets and wilted greens ragout, thyme jus

Dessert: Chefs assortment of cheese, stone fruit Clafoutis, hazelnut gelato

“Bring Your Own Bottle” dinners cost $39 for three-, $45 for four- and $54 for five-courses. 12969 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 990-0500, pinotbistro.com.


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Photos: Pinot Bistro. Credit: Patinagroup.com