Every family has restaurants that are the scenes of family birthdays, anniversaries and a variety of celebratory experiences. When I was a child, my family used to celebrate occasions in Manhattan at a restaurant on 72nd and 3rd called Faye & Allen’s. I loved the blue and white decor, the sesame seed bread sticks my grandfather used to finish in a thrice, and the seafood combination. Faye & Allen’s closed long ago and alas alack, that part of the family has moved on to other realms. For most of the last 20 years another upper east side restaurant in Manhattan on 8oth and 3rd – Parma – has filled the role. Lately though, we have branched out to a restaurant that reminds me of my youth and those days at Faye & Allen’s- the Atlantic Grill on 77th and 3rd avenue. The crowd is different, the acoustics are too but there is something about the restaurant that brings me back to high school graduation and days long past. Maybe it is the decor, the color scheme, what have you, but whenever I go to the Atlantic Grill, I can envision my grandfather’s chubby fingers grabbing a breadstick and I smile.
On a recent visit to celebrate my parents 49th anniversary, yes 49th, I had the usual cold seafood platter with oysters, clams, mussels and half a lobster. It was perfect. We drank a fabulous wine by Francois Cazin, a winemaker in the Loire Valley. His 2006 Le Petite Chambord from Cheverny was delicious. Cheverny is an appellation in the Loire Valley. In order to use this appellation, a Cheverny must be a blend of varietals. This one is a mix of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. The wine was a true gem with fruit, floral and mineral notes on the nose and palate. It was well integrated in terms of its alcohol and acidity, with a velvety mouth feel. It had a lovely touch of biscuity, yeasty undertones and a hint of residual sugar. I had been introduced to Francois Cazin’s wines by the very capable sommelier at the Monday Room on Elizabeth Street. There I tried a wine made with an indigenous grape from the Loire Valley, Romorantin. That Cuvee Cour-Cheverny was very memorable. I would highly recommend both Cazin wines to any and all who are looking for a delicious wine to pair with seafood, pasta and white meats.