kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits & lifestyle writer / wine educator

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Liquid highlights at Inox

For his latest gig, Chef John Wabeck stepped out of the kitchen and out of his toque, to serve as Sommelier at the recently opened Inox in Tysons Corner, where he is responsible for the inventive wine program, and also helps create the bar's signature cocktails.

Last night I had the pleasure of dining at Inox at a table for 6 overlooking the kitchen. The restaurant's name refers to the French word for stainless steel, and sleek touches throughout the restaurant, including a metal wine rack around my table, served as reminders of the unusual yet striking name.

Chefs Jon Mathieson's and Jonathan Krinn's eight course tasting menu was inventive and amazing--highlights for me were the Pan Seared Gulf Coast Red Snapper, with kohlrabi, winter radish and okra in a ginger-lemongrass bouillon; and the succulent yet hearty combo of Butter Poached Maine Lobster, served with a red wine braised short rib ravioli and melted leeks. De.lic.ious.

But it wasn't just the food that impressed. I started out with a Campari and rhubarb-bitters based cocktail, and then moved onto the Inox Club. Its New Amsterdam Gin, Domaine de Canton, Lemon Juice, House Infused Syrup and club soda were refreshing and balanced, and it easily carried over to my amuse bouche and first course without overpowering.

All of John's wine pairings made sense, but one in particular stood out for me. I've long been a fan of Gewurztraminer, but sometimes their enticing peppery-ness is matched by a body that's too heavy, alcohol that's too high, and a taste that's too sweet.

For the red snapper dish I mentioned, John paired a 2007 Casata Monfort Gewurztraminer from Trentino, Italy. Since Trentino is in the northern section of Italy (i.e. close to the Alps), the climate tends to be cooler than other spots. So the Guwurz doesn't get overly ripe/sweet/hot. This wine had great acidity and a lighter body, yet didn't lack Gewurz's signature spiciness. I often pair these wines with Asian cuisine, and here the snapper's ginger-lemongrass broth was a perfect match.