Invited to dinner by the lovely Vivian Valenty, we chose 98 South Wine Bar and Kitchen as a place to relax and enjoy a friendly evening. 98, the year of Internet Enlightenment, no wonder I like the name of this new swanky restaurant and wine bar located in center of Chandler, AZ at 98 S. San Marcos Plaza. And I enjoyed the total dining experience right down to the live music performed by Aebi/Coulson and Salzman. Their dreamy lounge sound is a perfect complement to the delicious cuisine. Ron Wojcicki, who should be congratulated for adding wonderful dining experience to the area, owns 98 South.
Vivian and I shared the Roasted Vegetables and Humus appetizer. The humus was perfect for dipping asparagus, onions, baby carrots, and Portobello mushrooms.
On their wine menu they offer tastes of wine, which allow you to sample and it is perfect for those of us who like a sip. I tried the 2001 Goats Do Roam South African Blush, lite almost non-existent taste. I’m use to thick, dark, chocolate South African wine. Letting it sit for a few minutes didn’t change but I’m glad I tried it. Liz, our lovely and attentive dining host, suggested I try 2002 Rex Hill Willmentte Valley, Oregon, Pinot Noir. This wine is a treat, very deep red, full body and aroma of cherries and clove with a hint of barrel toast. Spot on! It blended nicely with Pork Tenderloin, bleu cheese potatoes and garlic spinach which I enjoyed eating every bit of. Pork Tenderloin was cooked so perfectly (medium rare), the juices added extended favors.
As I discovered they will cook to order. Vivian, on a salt-free diet, asked to have her Scallops with Forbidden Rice and Blood Orange Sauce as salt free as possible. While we ate she told me the story behind Forbidden Rice, which turns indigo when cooked. The legend says Forbidden Rice was reserved only for the court of the ancient Chinese emperors for its nutritional properties and as an aphrodisiac#. High in nutritional and medicinal value, Forbidden Rice is rich in iron and considered a blood tonifier.
My favorite part of dinner is the dessert, that little extra special something to cap off a wonderful evening. Karma, the very pleasant and handsome manager of 98 South, presented us with some very exquisite puddings. The Chocolate Cake, moist and rich surrounded by a river of dark chocolate syrup and topped with vanilla Gelato. Adrian’s Chocolate Banana Fritters, hard exterior cookie engulfed lightly grilled banana topped with dark chocolate sauce with a side of vanilla gelato. I asked Liz which dessert wines would she pair with these desserts. She suggested St. Francis Merlot with the Chocolate Cake because of the subtle hint of chocolate. And for Adrian’s Chocolate Banana Fritters she let me sample Nivole, Moscato d’Asti. Very delicious and nice mix with the Banana Fritters.
98 South, great for lovely dining with friends, imitate dinner with that special someone, and lounge atmosphere was enjoying drinks.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005 between 6-9pm 98 South is hosting a special fundraiser for Tsunami Victims. “An evening of wine and great food to raise money for Tsunami Victims.” Silent auction featuring local merchants, complimentary wine glasses, and live entertainment. $50 per person. 602-418-4866.