Impressed. This single word describes my entire experience at The Red Lion Hotel in Pasco. Hungry. This is the word that describes how I’m feeling right now, re-living the culinary experience at the hotel restaurant, Bin No. 20. Jealous. This is the word that you’ll be thinking after reading this post, looking at the pictures and watching the accompanying video. Living in Spokane, I’m very fortunate to have access to some top chefs, quality food, and top notch experiences. My first thought would not be to make the 120 mile drive to the Tri-Cities to have those experiences elevated to a new level…but I was open to be proven wrong.
When I was invited to a winemaker dinner at Bin No. 20, I was in from the mention of the word “Fidelitas.” Fidelitas Winery, situated in the Red Mountain growing region outside the Tri-Cities, has been a longtime favorite of mine. Regardless of what the food experience was going to be, I knew that the wine experience would be off the charts. Watch the video for my interview with owner/winemaker Charlie Hoppes for more information on Fidelitas Winery.
While the Pasco Red Lion is getting along in years, the hotel is timeless in its architecture and has a grand entrance to accompany its three restaurants and well appointed rooms. We were fortunate enough to be put up in the Presidential Suite and were impressed with the spaciousness of the room, separated bedroom / living space, large bathroom with separate shower and jetted tub and a balcony. I’m not a hotel room snob. The room was spacious and clean, the bed was comfortable and I slept well.
Having had a preview of Chef Jonathan Gilbertson’s menu, we entered the restaurant in eager anticipation of the night. My how our expectations were exceeded. Chef Jonathan brings a vast restaurant experience to Pasco by way of top restaurants in Vail, CO, Palm Springs and San Diego, CA. Having him at Bin No. 20 in the heart of Washington wine country is a stroke of brilliance.
Course One (not pictured)
Pan Seared Diver Scallops served with vanilla bean savory grits and Maryhill peach coulis. This was my favorite dish of the night. Sadly, I missed taking a picture of it because in my excitement, I devoured it. The scallop was perfectly prepared and the combination of the creamy grit and the sweet coulis matched amazingly with the Fidelitas Optu White (blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon).
Hudson Valley foie gras and Key West spiny lobster Napoleon. Served with malbec infused mission fig and mallard remoulade. The lobster was flown in from Key West overnight and once again the marriage of flavors was succulent. This wine was paired with the somewhat earthy vanilla and blueberry Fidelitas Malbec. The wine provided more structure and content for the foie gras than I expected.
Intermezzo of Gialla Watermelon Consomme & Raspberry Sorbet
Beautiful palate cleanser as we moved into the final two more hearty dishes.
Majoram Venison Loin served with celery root puree and rabbit saddle jus. I’m not a huge venison eater but this was cooked very nicely. The meat was exceptionally tender and was easily cut with the fork. The Fidelitas Columbia Valley Merlot was, once again, a great pairing.
Queen Charlotte BC Salmon served with saffron pancetta risotto and el maiz-fennel compote. I liked the combination of the pancetta risotto with the marble laden salmon. While my serving of fish was slightly dry, the flavors were still well balanced in the dish. The tricky part here was the pairing of the Fidelitas Columbia Valley Cabernet. While I’m all for breaking the molds when it comes to wine pairing, the curious combination did come across as slightly disjoined to me and my guest. Others at the table raved. The wine, stand alone…beautiful.
I’ll let the picture speak for itself. This artistic creation was as tasty as it was beautiful. Charlie Hoppes opened a special treat with their award winning Champoux Vineyard Cabernet. This highly extracted dark fruit wine was a little big for the chocolate…but at this point…who cares! Both were spectacular.
Bin No. 20 Wine Dinners
Red Lion and Bin No. 20 will continue hosting winemaker dinners each quarter. The price tag on this dinner was a mere $80 per person (easily worth it). Visit their website for a schedule and plan a visit to the hotel as soon as you can. With over 160 wineries within an hour’s drive, this is a great location to call base camp while you explore the amazing variety of Washington wine.
We were so excited by Chef Jonathan, the hotel staff, and the wine tasting experience, we have started the talks to bring Chef Jonathan to Spokane for a preview dinner and then a wine tasting journey through the Tri-Cities. Tickets will be limited, join our mailing list (top right of this page) to be the first to know.