A memorable meal at Shimo, Healdsburg

Last night’s meal at Shimo, Healdsburg will live long in the memory. It describes its offerings as ‘modern steak’, and the steak we had was probably the best I’ve ever experienced.

Between five, we ordered two significant hunks of meat. A porterhouse (below), and a bone-in ribeye (above). They were prepared on the rare side of medium/rare, with a perfect crust and tender, flavourful meat.

There’s a Japanese twist to Shmo’s ‘theme’, and many of the side dishes have a subtle Japanese element to them: they are utterly delicious, too. I really enjoyed a spiced beansprout side.

Shimo only really does steak, but it does it brilliantly well.

To drink? Three vintages of Sliver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon – two of which were the Alexander Valley Cab (1994 and 1987) and one of which was the Napa Cab (1989). These had all aged incredibly well, and were quite beautiful. I was surprised: Silver Oak uses just American oak, and the young wines have a reputation for being oaky. But these three older bottles showed no sign of noticeable oak (no vanilla or coconut notes) and while they showed some evolution, still had really expressive fruit characters.

Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1994 Sonoma
Expressive, slightly mineral, earthy-edged blackcurrant fruit, showing some evolution but still fresh and fruit driven. The palate is elegant, expressive and smooth with fine blackcurrant fruit. 94/100

Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1989
Beautifully evolved: savoury with some mineral, tarry freshness as well as plum and blackcurrant fruit. Savoury and dry with real complexity. Still has fruit but also tar and mineral notes. Quite dry and savoury, and food compatible. 93/100

Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1987
There’s some spicy richness on the nose, with hints of meat as well as sweet, ripe, smooth alluring blackcurrant and blackberry fruit. Beautifully expressive with lovely sweet fruit and real complexity. In a beautiful place. 95/100

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