Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Chef custom designed a wine dinner just for us at Bistro 41 in Fort Myers, Florida


When my husband Meakin’s birthday rolled around this year, we wanted to do something extra special because it was one of those “milestone” years that calls for a celebration. We tossed a lot of ideas around, but finally decided to throw an intimate little birthday dinner party at one of our favorite restaurants in Florida – Bistro 41.

Bistro 41 is an upscale yet casually elegant bistro-style restaurant located in the Bell Tower Shoppes in Fort Myers, Florida, and was established in 1997. We’ve dined there on numerous occasions and have always had an excellent meal and excellent service. I particularly like the relaxing atmosphere of the dining room and the colorful artwork displayed throughout the room.


We’ve also gotten to know the chef a little. So for this special occasion, we made an appointment with Chef Reiner Drygaka and sat down one afternoon to discuss our ideas for the menu. Chef Reiner is the kind of chef that’s easy to visit with, very easy going, and, best of all, full of great ideas. We explained that this was a very special birthday, there would be four of us, we would like to dine in their small private dining area, and we wanted something a bit out of the ordinary. Meakin added that his brother would be flying down from New York for the occasion and was accustomed to dining in gourmet restaurants and we wanted the chef to impress him. Here’s the wine birthday Surf & Turf dinner Chef Reiner suggested and it was a real success.


To begin the meal, we all toasted the birthday boy with flutes of dry Louis Perdier Brut champagne and dined on a spring salad of baby field greens with fresh mixed berries, topped with Chevre goat cheese and candied pecans, drizzled with a light, slightly tangy  raspberry vinaigrette.


At first I was a bit concerned that the butter poached lobster would be too rich as the main course, but since the chef served the lobsters and tournedos of beef over a creamy herbed risotto and accompanied them with sautéed Swiss chard and Belgium endive finished in a citrus beurre  blanc sauce, it was a perfect balance of flavors and textures. The wine was a McMannis Pinot Noir from California, a rich deep Pinot with a slight hint of fruit and Asian flavors.


One of our desires was to finish the meal with a light dessert and emphasized no birthday cake with candles or anything heavy. Chef Reiner suggested a cheese plate of Maytag blue accompanied with fresh strawberries served with a swirl of chocolate ganache. The St. Supery Napa Cabernet Sauvignon was a luxurious young wine with hints of black berries and Cassis and also happens to be one of the chef’s personal favorite wines.


I always consider a dinner party a success when everyone goes home happy, smiling, and well fed. Here we are thanking Chef Reiner and our server at Bistro 41 for custom designing a wine dinner just for us. Happy birthday Meakin. May you have many, many more.


51 comments:

  1. What a beautiful restaurant with a delicious menu for your husband's birthday. I love the salad and the entree! I hope that he enjoyed his special birthday, Sam and that both of you are enjoying Florida.

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  2. How very special and a beautiful picture of you two!! I had never even considered strawberries with blue cheese...always going for pears. You know I have to try it now. The meal....everything looked outstanding. Happy Birthday, Meakin, and yes, many, many more with your beautiful bride.

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  3. Happy belated birthday to Meakin who certainly dined in delicious style! The food is beautifully presented and what nice combinations! Wonderful photograph!

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  4. You all look great..Happy Birthday..Lovely resto too!

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  5. A wonderful meal! Good to know that your enjoyed it.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  6. And Happy Birthday to Meakin from the Northern parts! Dare I say I would look forward to a milestone birthday, if I knew it was centered around such lovely wine and food? I'm planning to try that combo of blue cheese and strawberries.

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  7. What a beautiful dinner. That steak and lobster made my mouth water. I like the dessert selection and St. Supery is one of my favorite wineries and wines. Happy Birthday Meakin.

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  8. Happy, Happy...I LOVE that restaurant! The celebration looks exquisite.

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  9. What a wonderful way to enjoy a milestone birthday. Dinner looked scrumptious!
    Hugs,
    Penny

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  10. All look delicious and amazing, nice pics! gloria

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  11. A lovely meal, how neat that the chef planned a special menu. Happy birthday to your husband!

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  12. Thanks for introducing us this wonderful place. Well, Happy Birthday to you darling Meakin! The food looks marvelous. I'm sure you all had a fabulous time. Have a good day & Best wishes.
    Blessings, Kristy

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  13. The menu sounded and looked absolutely divine. I have never been to that restaurant but will try to go there next time I am down in that area. It looks like a lovely restaurant for a very special occassion. Happy Birthday to your DH. What a memorable dinner.

    Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

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  14. What a heavenly meal! I can't think of a better way to celebrate a special birthday!

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  15. What a great idea!!!

    Wonderful to have a local favorite like this with such an easy to work with chef.

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  16. Happy Birthday to Meakin. What a lovely dinner. Milestone birthdays require no less. Many more happy birthdays and wonderful meals to come for both of you.

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  17. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing. And you look lovely, btw.

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  18. What a beautiful menu for a birthday.

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  19. My kind of post Sam; you made us live the whole planning and enjoyment of this great occasion.
    Sounded Perfect!
    Happy belated Birthday to Meakin!
    Rita

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  20. What a beautiful way to celebrate a big birthday! I'll have to recommend that restaurant to my folks who live in Naples. Thanks for coming over to my blog from Penny's!

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  21. how extraordinarily special - HAPPY BIRTHDAY Meakin

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  22. What a fabulous meal Chef put together for you all, just wonderful! Obviously, my favorite part was the tournedo of beef fillet but it all looks great.

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  23. Happy Birthday to M. Looks like a wonderful dinner.

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  24. What a great dining experience. Happy birthday Meakin and since it was a milestone event, I guess you finally turned 40.

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  25. Looks like a spectacular dinner to celebrate that special birthday! I've become partial to blue cheese with berries since I discovered it a few years ago. I've usually taken it a slightly savory direction, with a drizzle of balsamic and a bit of basil. But this combo with the chocolate ganache is most intriguing!

    Belated birthday wishes to Meakin, and thanks so much for sharing this with us.

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  26. Happy Birthday Meakin!! and what an absolutely delightful menu - I am literally drooling at the mouth!
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful occasion with us readers of your lovely blog. xx

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  27. Happy Birthday to Meakin and that looked like a fabulous place.

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  28. Happy Birthday to Meakin! What a beautiful and delicious celebration. Good food, good wine, good times! I love your last photo - what happy faces.

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  29. What a meal! Made all the more special when it was designed to please the man in your life and (yes!) you did not have to slave over a stove! That's what I would call heavenly!

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  30. Sounds like the perfect b-day to me :) Great food and great company!

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  31. What a wonderful celebration! The food looked sublime and so wonderfully thought out... a true birthday feast! Beautiful photo of you and your husband, hope he enjoyed the spoiling!

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  32. Now that's a glowing birthday party! Happy Birthday to Meakin. I would have loved to join you during the lobster course! And you ended the meal perfectly with the berries and cheese. Great start to a new year.

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  33. Happy Birthday to your husband! Your dinner looks lovely and perfect for such a special occasion.

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  34. What an elegant bistro and ever so elegant meal!
    a very happy birthday to your husband...may you share many more milestones!
    Ronelle

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  35. What a lovely meal. It could not help but be a wonderful celebration. I hope Meakin had a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

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  36. What a wonderful birthday menu. I hope Meakin had a wonderful day. The dinner looked absolutely marvelous.

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  37. How awesome that you could plan a custom menu for your husband's special birthday! Everything looks so delicious!

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  38. Sounds like a wonderful dinner! I don't like heavy desserts either.

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  39. Happy Birthday, Meakin! What an elegant dinner!

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  40. Happy Birthday, Meakin! What an elegant dinner!

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  41. Happy Birthday to Meakin!! What a fabulous idea, Sam, and a delicious dinner. The menu looks perfect. And so does that happy photo!
    Definitely putting this restaurant on my go-to list when I get to the Fort Myers area.

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  42. What a special way to celebrate a birthday. Happy belated birthday Meakin. May you have many more delicious wines, dishes and laughter in years to come.

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  43. Happy Birthday to Meakin from the East Coast of Florida! What a fabulous birthday menu and the food & wine pairings sound positively delicious. I might need to make a trip over there to dine at Bistro 41! Love your photo too - looks like you all had a lovely evening:)

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  44. I love restaurants like this and the food looks fabulous! Lucky Meakin (Happy Birthday!!) to get such a special and amazing meal on his birthday!

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  45. Congratulations on a wonderful event, great menu, beautiful relaxing restaurant surrounded by all your special people;-)

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  46. Cheers and Happy Birthday wishes to Meakin and many more happy and healthy birthdays!

    Looks like it was a fabulous dinner!

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  47. Happy Belated Birthday to your husband, and many happy returns!

    The meal looks so delicious, I could scrape it right off the screen.

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  48. What a great meal you guys had! I saw your MD post too...so many good memories. My son is getting his degree in Education, and I look forward to him being a wonderful teaching soon.

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  49. Happy belated birthday! That meal looks wonderful!

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Sam