Most people think it's a bit strange to get seafood in the dessert, but Bluewater Grill has been serving up the freshest, sustainably caught or farm-harvested seafood in Phoenix for years. They fly it in fresh almost every day and now they're pairing it with some great wines at a series of wine dinners. Let me share a bit about Bluewater Grill Phoenix with you and what you can expect when you go for a seafood and wine pairing dinner at Bluewater Grill Phoenix.
Fresh Seafood at Bluewater Grill Phoenix
Bluewater Grill is a family owned group of restaurants with locations in Newport's Cannery Village, King Harbor in Redondo Beach, at The District at Tustin Legacy in Orange County, on the water at Avalon Bay on Santa Catalina Island (one of my favorite locations), in the former Hotel del Coronado boathouse on Coronado Island in San Diego, in Temecula Wine Country, and right here on Camelback Road in central Phoenix. Two more restaurants will open in 2017—one in Santa Barbara and one in Carlsbad.
Bluewater Grill Phoenix, just like the other locations, serves fresh, sustainably caught or farm-harvested seafood and has for 20 years. Yes, that's right, even here in Phoenix, they serve fresh seafood. It's flown in fresh almost every day so that we here in the desert can get fresh fish that was swimming this morning. That's pretty amazing and you can taste the difference when you eat the fish at Bluewater Grill Phoenix. Imagine my excitement when I discovered they pair their amazingly fresh seafood with some very cool wines.
Bluewater Grill Phoenix Wine Dinner featuring Carmel Road Winery
I had the pleasure of attending a dinner on May 3, 2017 featuring seafood, wine and fresh produce from Monterey County. Jamie Gallimore, executive chef of Bluewater Grill Phoenix, worked with Kris Kato, winemaker for Carmel Road Winery and Drew Barrymore Wines to host Central California Coast at Bluewater to bring the flavors of Monterey County to Phoenix. And they succeeded!
The Evening's Menu
We started our night with a reception. Kato poured the 2016 Barrymore Rosé of Pinot Noir. This was the perfect start to the evening, paired with Gallimore's nibbles of dried tropical fruit phyllo cups and shrimp lollipop with mango purèe.
Kato was excited to share the Rosé of Pinot Noir. “Pinot expresses itself more than any other variety, in terms of being nuanced-driven,” he explained. “We work closely with Monterey-area fruit including our Panorama Vineyard. I love to make small lots of wine from different parcels—and the results pair beautifully with seafood.”
He and chef were spot-on with this one and I preferred it with the starter—seared jumbo scallops, with orange, frisèe, prosciutto and a crème fraîche. The actual pairing was the Carmel Road Unoaked Chardonnay 2014. However, I'm not a Chardonnay fan. So, after tasting it—and agreeing it was fairly crisp and light for that varietal—I stayed with the Rosé of Pinot Noir.
Chef Gallimore continued the evening with a duo of fish paired beautifully with two Carmel Road wines. He served an Alaskan Halibut with roasted nut risotto, baby greens, apple chips and a Barrymore Pinot Noir reduction. It paired with Barrymore “Drew's Blend Pinot Noir 2013. The Cajun Spiced Redfish with parsley infused potatoes and petite root vegetables served with Carmel Road Panorama Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013.
Both the fish and the wines impressed. The Barrymore Pinot Noir was a softer pinot that brought out the softness of the Alaskan Halibut. It had a nutty, earthy taste that paired beautifully with the soft white fish. In contrast, the Carmel Road Panorama Pinot was bold and spicy, a perfect accompaniment for the bold cajun spices of the redfish.
We finished our evening with a classic crème brulèe that paired beautifully with the Carmel Road Riesling 2014. It was a true German-style riesling that had a subtle sweetness that brought out the vanilla in the dessert.
Where to Get the Wines
While these specific dishes were only for the dinner, you can taste Chef Gallimore's dishes every night. You can also pop into Total Wine & More at 1670 E. Camelback Road to pick up some of Carmel Road's wines or order a selection of the featured varietals from the Carmel Road Wine Club.
Next Winemaker Dinner Features Phoenix Icon Sam Pillsbury
As part of its continuing Winemaker Series, the next Bluewater Grill Phoenix winemaker dinner is June 13, 2017. It will feature Arizona's filmmaker-turned-winemaker Sam Pillsbury, founder of Pillsbury Wine Company in Wilcox, Arizona.
This time, Chef Gallimore has teamed up with Pillsbury to create a five-course tasting menu pairing Bluewater's sustainable seafood and shellfish with the winery's award-winning Rhone-style wines. Gallimore explains, “We're trilled to continue our Celebrated Winemaker Series with an evening dedicated to one of Arizonas most influential winemakers and tastemakers who continues to set culinary trends in Phoenix and beyond.”
The Evening Menu at Bluewater Grill Phoenix
For the evening with Sam Pillsbury, Chef Gallimore has an exciting menu on tap.
Meet Winemaker Sam Pillsbury
Taste 2016 Rosé (First Release)
Ice & Fire—Oysters Four Ways
2014 Chenin Blanc
Herb Smoked Tuna, Poached Fennel, Orange Aioli
Wild King Salmon, Artichoke, Anchovy, Purple Kale, Mousseline Sauce
2014 Reserve Chardonnay
Duck Three Ways with Pillsbury Pickled Vegetables
Chocolate Chiptle Mousse
2013 Petit Syrah
If You Go
The “Bluewater Salutes Sam Pillsbury” dinner is Tuesday, June 13 at 6 pm at Bluewater Grill Phoenix at 1720 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix. The cost of the evening is $80 excluding tax and gratuity. Only a select few tables will be available, so reservations are required. For details and to make reservations, call 602.277.3474. Bluewater Grill Phoenix offers a great opportunity to showcase the wines of Arizona melding with sustainable seafood and shellfish and bringing it home to the desert. Be sure to check the website for future wine pairing events and stop in any day for great fresh seafood!