Mr. FvF's lovely grandma has started a new tradition of taking us to a nice dinner the day after Christmas. Everyone loved Ertel's Winery and Bistro so much last year, we decided to make that our designated place. Rural southwestern Indiana doesn't exactly have a plethora of fine dining choices, so it's a good thing Ertel's is pretty legit, or we'd be having Christmas dinner at Long john Silver's.
When we went last year, mostly everyone else has steak or lobster. The Black Forest Pork was calling my name, though, and I wasn't disappointed. But, I'll admit I was a little jealous of everyone else's succulent looking rare steaks when they cut into them. So, I'd promised myself I'd get cow this go'round. We got in and poked around the front area doing some wine tasting and checking out the specials and BOOM - blackened sirloin with whiskey glaze? Decision made.
This is a piss-poor cell phone photo that doesn't even close to doing the meal justice. The potatoes were whipped into submission and buttery as the day is long, and the green beans were nice and garlicky. But the steak - oh, sweet sassy molassey. I started out telling myself that this was the best sirloin I've ever had (by far my favorite cut of steak, anyhow), but this was hands-down the best steak I've ever had in my life. Normally I like my prime cuts to be kept simple - just salt, pepper, and garlic - no fancy glazes or reductions. But, this whiskey glaze was an elite exception to the rule. Smokey and sweet, it complimented the steak so perfectly. I've never seen a cut of beef cooked this well in my life. A flawless bright, warm red all the way through, and practically fork tender.
Mr. FvF had the pan-fried grouper, which I finally found time to ask him about after I finished dry-humping my plate (you can stop wondering what my in-laws think of me now). He said it was top notch, as well - and he is now officially a panko convert. Funny thing, he's lived on or near a coast for the better part of his life, and never really ate seafood until he moved to Ohio. I guess everything that comes out of West Virginia is backwards in one way or another.
Can you believe I went to a winery and I'm talking more about the food than the booze? Well, that part was amazeballs, too. Ertel's specializes in heavily fruit flavored wines, which isn't always up my alley. I like some noticeable currant and berry notes to my reds, and the occasional super-apple-y riesling, but if I liked the taste of Arbor Mist and Boone's Farm, I would have just stayed in junior high. All of Ertel's fruit-based wines somehow toe that very fine line between wine your white zin-drinking mom would like and the $20 Pinot Noir that you only buy on special occasions. The only had two bottles of blackberry left for the season, so I got all up on that before some other sucker could. I mean, I didn't drink all two bottles with dinner. It's Christmas, and Jesus was watching.
Oh, and although it's usually the last thing on my mind there, service at this place is always top shelf. I think if I asked them to chew my food up and spit it back into my mouth like a mother bird, they'd do it.
5 out of 5 sporks!