It was both an honor and a privilege to attend the inaugural winemaker’s dinner of Shai Cellars at Fabs Corner Cucina, in Sherman Oaks. Shawn Shai Halahmy is the owner and wine maker of Shai Cellars, a boutique winemaker showcasing some of the best wines of the Santa Ynez Valley. Shawn has the Midas touch when it comes to winemaking. His first vintage, the 2008 Adome is a stellar blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. It has been very well received and was awarded 91 points while his ’09 Adome, recently garnered 94 points from Tasting Panel Magazine. These are well deserved awards because once you taste them you will truly understand the unique blend and delicate balance of these wines.
The recently remodeled, Fab’s Corner Cucina, is one of the best Italian restaurants in the San Fernando Valley. The culinary team at Fab’s sources the best farm-fresh ingredients and also supports independent winemakers and has extensive wine list and a unique blend of craft beers on tap as well.
For the Shai Cellars dinner a special tasting menu was created by Chef Ian Jerde who paired each course with one of the 3 Shai Cellars award wining wines.
Chef Jerde & Amelia Yokel, wine buyer for Fabs, collaborated with Shawn on the menu development and pairings for the evening. The talented trio emceed the entire event from the front of house, back of house and everywhere in between. The pours were generous and some of LA’s elite wineaux’s and industry tastemakers were all in attendance showing their support for Shai Cellars & pleasing their taste buds all at the same time. Photographer & tastemaker, Rico Mandel dined with us and the esteemed and cultured Goddess of Wine, Denise Lowe was entertaining her table next to us in between bites and sips.
Chef Ian Jerde is a chef that has definitely honed his skill and earned his steel and street cred. After graduating Le Cordon Bleu in 2009 he went into an extensive externship program at Alice Waters’ famous culinary institution Chez Panise, in Berkley California. It is where the American farm to table movement got it’s start. From there he went on to One Market in San Francisco before traveling to Rhode Island to work at Ocean House. Tired of the cold weather and missing his California roots he came back to Los Angeles and worked at several local Michelin starred institutions, Melisse and Providence before coming to Fabs Corner Cucina in Sherman Oaks.
The events hostess with the mostest was Amelia Yokel, a passionate food enthusiast and visual artist has been merging her talents for food & art. She has an extraordinary palate for wine which is evident when you taste the list that she and owner Sebastian Sackson have put together at the restaurant.
The Menu didn’t have any room for “meatless” options and there were no vegetarian or vegan requests at this farm-to-table affair. Duck, Lamb & Beef were all center of the plate options that paired exquisitely with the Shai Cellars wines. We could not pick a favorite because all items were divine and fit for a king. Dinner was generous, a trademark at Fabs and the ambiance inviting and comfortable all of which made for an awesome evening of food, wine and good times. Check out the menu and you’ll see what I mean.
Our first course
Arugula and Fennel Salad, garnished with Oranges and Duck Confit
Paired with 2009 Shai Cellars Grenache
The second course
Spicy leg of Lamb, Mushroom Risotto and Spaghetti Squash
Paired with 2008 Adome
The third and final course
Glazed Chocolate Short Ribs, Creamy Polenta and a medley of Seasonal Vegetables.
Paired with 2009 Adome
No dessert necessary was the name of the game here and I was glad that they threw in the ramekin of Espresso ice-cream in between the second and third courses to sweeten up the amazing menu deal.We will definitely be back real soon to our local Italian watering hole where food, service and family vibes are commonplace.
Fab’s Corner Cucina
4336 Van Nuys Boulevard
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403