Beaune (pronounced bone) is the wine capitol of Burgundy situated between Paris and Geneva. Beaune is world renowned for gourmet foods, artisanal cheeses, and of course, wine. In Tampa you can get a taste, an exquisite taste, of the best of Burgundy at Beaune's Wine Bar in the West Palm Wines facility, 2009 North 22nd Street at the edge of Ybor City.
For several years, while a student at the Ybor campus of Hillsborough Community College, I would pass this nondescript, concrete block building with nary a clue as to the gastronomic rewards that awaited me inside. Last night my bride, the Belle of Ballast Point, and I ventured inside Beaune's and were treated to one of the finest wines, tastiest cheeses, and gourmet French meals that we have had this side of Paris.
As you approach Beaune's on 22nd, make a right turn onto East Palm and pull into the fenced area in the back of the building where you will find the entrances to both West Palm Wines and Beaune's. Upon entering, we felt as if we had been transported back to a quaint bistro in Paris. We were greeted by Mark the manager who guided us past the wine bar and into a warm and comfortable dining area.
I had read on-line that while the wines by the glass were spectacular a better bargain would be wine by the bottle. Rather than trying to choose from the massive selections in the wine cellar, we asked Mark for a recommendation. After determining a price range, our taste preferences and food choices Mark suggested a 2003 Pommard Vaumurianes Billard. From the first sip we were hooked. This red had a most pleasant "nose" and a complex fruitiness that paired perfectly with our food choices.
From the appetizer menu I chose the Moules a la Mariniere, French style steamed mussels in a broth of white wine, olive oil, garlic, lemon, and seasonings. The crusty breads presented to the table were indispensable for soaking up some of that broth. Rather than an appetizer, my dining partner chose a cheese platter with Comté – classic 15 month aged French cow’s milk cheese accompanied by olives, dried fruits, nuts, and cornichons. She was more than pleased with her choice, and mentioned that on a future visit that she will make an entire meal from the Cheese and Charcouterie menu, and I think I will follow suit.
On this night we chose from the dinner menu - the succulent Duck Confit nestled on top of a savory cassoulet for me and the Boeuf Bourguignon for my Baby. C'est magnifique! The duck was perfectly prepared with a crispy exterior caressing a tender and juicy middle. The beef in the French beef stew was melt-in-the-mouth tender. Our taste buds may have physically been in Tampa, but they were magically transported back to France by these two dinner choices.
We ended this French dining adventure with the Flourless Chocolate Cake with freshly whipped cream - another delight that went well with the last of our Pommard. Left-over wine? You surely must be jesting!
Keeping our wine glasses filled and overseeing the evening was Kate, the charming lady who created Beaune's interior ambiance. One additional treat was the opportunity to sit and chat for awhile with Beaune's Executive Chef Paddy, a most talented and delightful person.
Dinner with two bottles of that exquisite Pommard came to $237.27 and we tacked on a well deserved 20% gratuity. We also promised ourselves a return trip to this Tampa gem.