Executive Chef and Owner Josef Zimmermann of Sasse's Restaurant in Fort Myers started off Sasse's wine dinners on October 26, with this well-attended wild game dinner-a true sensual delight one might find in Germany or Denmark. Ah, a decision to be made. Two roads diverged in the wood on this; dine without wine for $65, or dine with five different wines for $85. I chose the latter path and that made all the difference. A properly paired wine greatly enhances a dish's flavors.
Chef Josef Zimmerman is, hands down, one of THE top handful of chefs in Southwest Florida. I've had a variety of his dishes before, and I'll have quite a few different creations more times in the future, be it lunch, dinner or a wine dinner. Word of mouth fills Sasse's seats, off Season or in Season. The restaurant's setting is warmly cozy in size and ambiance. Seating is thus limited, so reservations are encouraged.
Sasse's cuisine leans toward Northern Italian and Mediterranean influences, With the menu changing weekly-you won't be bored! Chef Josef combines his creativity with old school training, and selects the best local and US sourced foods for his culinary creations. The servers are professional, friendly, and second to none in their fine quality of service.
This Fall themed game dinner started with Essence of Creamy Wild Game Soup "Hubertus."
This alone could have been my "happy meal" for the evening-it was that richly flavorful! Jalapeno-seasoned wild boar sausage in a sour cream and lingonberry sauce is the written description- that barely hints of the rich, earthy concentrated flavors, or the cool dollop of creme fraiche. Tellingly, fellow diners used their baguette bread to sop up every morsel.
From the forest came the Wild Boar Cingale, a Tuscan specialty, with the ragout served over pappardelle paste, and paired with Castello di Cacchiano Chianti Classico Reserve.
|Wild Boar Cingale|
The tender boar was not "gamey"-this is a function of both getting a younger boar, and knowing how to spice and slow cook it. Some less experienced chefs may overcook game meats.
From the sky descended sliced Pheasant Breast with Onion,Apple wood-smoked Bacon and Tender White Grapes.
|Pheasant Breast with Onion,Apple wood-smoked Bacon|
The tartness of the Champagne sauerkraut, and pumpkin gnocchi pangrattato (with Italian-style seasoned breadcrumbs) put this over the top! Paired with a 2015 Piesporter Michelsberg Riesling Kabinett, the sweet Riesling masterfully matched the sweetness of the white grapes, deliciously accenting the sliced pheasant's delicate flavor.
The pasture brought forth a Duet of Fallow Venison- Noisette and Loin.
|Duet of Fallow Venison- Noisette and Loin|
This savory dish had a hint of fruitiness with the juniper berry sauce brightened with lingonberries, house-made German spaetzle, and a red wine-poached Williams pear. The Poppy 2013 Cab paired nicely with the fork-tender venison in both the noisette medallion and the longer loin presentations.
The five course meal finished on a sweetly earthy note with the Fall-inspired Pumpkin Crème Brûlée.
|Pumpkin Crème Brûlée|
|Chef Josef Zimmermann (on right)|
Chef Josef deftly torches each ramekin's sugary top to a glassy firm finish before serving. Paired with a good glass of hot coffee, it had just enough pumpkin flavor with a hint of raisins within the delectable custard. This was then topped with a tiny "pumpkin cake" He sparing incorporated the oft-overused pumpkin "spices"so as to not overwhelm other flavors.
Not a wine drinker? Have a Krombacher wheat beer with your meal, or a glass of black coffee with dessert. After partaking of this wild game dinner's dishes from forest, sky and pasture in Sasse's warm setting with chilly winds outside, it brought back frosty memories... of stopping by Vermont's woods on a snowy eve. You get a true bonus-to savor Chef Josef's culinary creations through all four seasons, while being a short drive from Florida Beaches!
Check out Sasse's schedule for upcoming monthly multi-course dinners-they are well worth your time and wallet. Lunch and dinner are served Tuesday-Friday from 11:00 a.m., to 8:30 p.m.. Dinner is served 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. Sasse's is closed Sunday and Monday.
Sasse's Restaurant, 3651 Evans Ave, Fort Myers, Phone: (239) 278-5544, http://www.sassesrestaurant.com