Just this week I had the opportunity to return to East Harlem’s Tastings Social space (251 East 110th Street, tastingsnyc.com) and once again taste the culinary magic of executive chef Cedric Durand and experience exceptional hospitality. What began as a Monday night only pop-up concept has blossomed into a Spanish respite not to be missed. Welcome again to Gaudir.

On this Monday night I, and my good friend Katrina, journeyed over to Tastings for Gaudir’s first wine pairing dinner of 2020, occurring every last Monday of the month. We were in for a treat as this five-course dinner was paired to highlight the wines of Portugal courtesy of Esporao (esporao.com).

The meal began with divine warm hearty peasant bread and a fruity but spicy Portuguese olive oil, also produced by Esporao. Kelly Coffman Rudy of Now Wine was our guide for the evening. She thoughtfully and accurately informed us of the intricacies of wines produced in Portugal and how the wines we were to embark upon were uniquely paired with the plates of Chef Durand.

We began with one of my favorites of the evening, sea scallop tartare with orange supreme, truffle dressing and caviar. The wine was Verdelho, a white wine, slightly green in color and taste. The bright crispness of this was perfect with the briny richness of the scallop and truffle. Could have had another—both the wine and the food.

Second course was bacalao stuffed piquillo peppers atop braised fennel and chicken jus. I adore the combination of seafood with poultry essence like my cod stew made with chicken broth. The combination brings a richer depth to seafood. Chef Durand really created something special with this dish.

It was the second course where Kelly roped us in with the pairing of Esporao’s Reserva White made with Antao Vaz and Arinto grapes. It was like an oaky chardonnay but cut at the right moment with lime notes as if to say, “now hold up, rewind and sip again.” Esporao uses a unique methodology of stirring in fresh mash into the wine to cut the buttery oak flavor. Brilliant! This is a wine for which I will be seeking out in NYC wine stores.

We moved on to our next two courses of lobster suquet (stew) and ribeye cooked sous vide with artichoke, pearl onion and Gaudir’s spicy romesco. Esporao took this opportunity to pair both with their reds. Respectively, Monte Velho, resembling a clean pinot noir with fruity notes of syrah, and two reds, Esporao Reserva Aragonez (cabernet) and Quinta Dos Marcas. All held their own.

Finally, our dessert course of goat cheese mousse and poached apples topped with cayenne lime merengue chards was a balanced, light palate cleanser. And if that did not clean your palate the Spanish cava did.

Brava again Gaudir! Looking forward to the next experience with you.

Happy eating and thanks for reading!

Kysha Harris is a food writer and editor, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service in NYC for over 15 years. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc, and her blog, www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations! Email AmNewsFOOD at AmNewsFOOD@SCHOPnyc.com. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @NYAmNewsFOOD and tag us with #SoAmNewsFOOD with your food finds!