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Wine dinners at Daniel’s Restaurant offer a diverse array of pairings

SO RAISE YOUR GLASS — Wine enthusiasts can take part in wine pairing dinners at Daniel’s Restaurant, located at 174 Buffalo St. in Hamburg.
HAMBURG — Those who enjoy wine with dinner offerings – while possessing a diverse taste palate – can now take advantage of Daniel’s Restaurant’s wine dinner pairings, the next of which will be held on Thursday, April 24. That event will feature wine-make from Frog’s Leap Winery of Napa Valley, Calif.

Cabernet is one of the primary wines featured as part of the upcoming event. Currently listed Frog’s Leap wine releases include 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, 2012 Chardonnay, 2011 Zinfandel, 2011 Merlot, 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 Rutherford and 2011 Petite Sirah.

Daniel’s Restaurant personnel said that the Frog’s Leap event is filling up quickly, with limited seating remaining. The evening will include a five-course dinner; the winemaker will be present.

Annette Winder, one of the tri-owners of Daniel’s, described the upcoming event as unique to Western New York. Daniel’s had reopened under new ownership at its 174 Buffalo St. site on Dec. 7. It closed briefly, after 23 years of business with former owner Daniel Johengen.

Longtime area restaurant owner Henry Matuszewski and Head Chef Scott Donhauser are the other owners; the trio has vowed to retain many of Daniel’s longtime, traditional dishes, combined with some new culinary ideas and a remodeled restaurant interior.

Although the business’s regular dining takes place between Tuesday and Saturday, the owners said that Sundays and Mondays would be offered as special event days or for those looking to book private lunch or dinner parties. A New Year’s Eve food and wine pairing was one such event, to go along with a local pharmaceutical company’s special dinner event.

March 16 marked the first official wine dinner, leading into the March 23 event, which featured a six-course meal at Daniel’s that matched dishes with appropriate wines.

Donhauser prepared specialty meals, while Daniel’s servers provided wine to those seated at the tables.

Laurie Stack, the accounting development specialist for Empire Merchants North, presented an overview of the beverages served, using her expertise from 14 years of wine promotions experience.

The first course featured tuna crudo with pickled squid, cucumber, smoked sea salt and blistered tomato vinaigrette. The crispy dish was complemented by the wine pairing of Greystone Sauvignon Blanc 2011, which had a mainly dry taste with, as Stack noted, “nice acidity.”

Grilled quail was the second course offered, with tapioca goat pearls and roasted pear, accompanied by pomegranate gastrique. The tapioca served as a sweetening element to the dish. Michelle Chapoutier Belleruche Cotes du Rhones 2012 served again as an even-tempered, semi-dry wine pairing.

Course No. 3 included nine-herb cannelloni with ricotta and Neufchatel cheese, as a side option to black truffle pasta and red onion soubise. Mazzoni Rosso Toscana IGT 2012 was the paired wine, serving as a sweeter option than the prior two courses.

“Intermezzo,” or intermission, brought white peach sorbet with pecan “foam,” to separate the courses.

Courses four and five featured lamb tartare and veal Valencia, accompanied by wines Tamari Malbec Reserve and Protea Red Blend 2011. The lamb tartare served as a dipping option, with similarities to caviar in texture and taste. Veal Valencia was described by some in attendance as a “great French dish,” with saffron-cauliflower puree, crisp chorizo and Pedro Ximenez – sage demi. The Protea Red Blend 2011, a post-dinner wine, possesses a sweet flavor.

The dessert course presented a feuille de brick with a soft chocolate ganache, roasted banana ice cream and candied ginger tuile, accompanied by a sweet, bubbly Villa Sandi IL Fresco Prosecco wine.

Part of the diversity of Daniel’s Restaurant was attributed to Donhauser’s culinary skills and the management’s stated desire to provide a wide range of eating options.

The former head chef at Daffodils Restaurant and Butterwood Sweet & Savory is a graduate of the Tampa Culinary Institute. He became a head chef at age 24 and was later recognized by the duchess of York. Always looking to pick up new tricks of the trade, he said that he is slated to attend a 28-course event at the Alinea Restaurant in Chicago.

Winder, the owner of Allstate Insurance Company on Camp Road and co-owner of Interstate Battery, said that Daniel’s has an updated Facebook page at Additional information may be found at

For more information about Daniel’s Restaurant, or to book reservations for regular meals or the upcoming wine dinner, call the local restaurant at 648-6554.

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