#WineDownWednesday: Brilliant Pairings with Pappas Bros.

by Robin Barr Sussman on May 22, 2019 in Food, Drink,

Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, a Houston pioneer of top dry-aged steaks, award winning wines and seamless service, knows not to mess with a good thing. But recently the chef rolled out irresistible new small plates to complement the classics.

These Pappas Bros. starters, available at all their Texas locations, are generous and luxe—the perfect alternative when you don’t want to commit to an entire meal. To elevate the bites, talented master sommelier Steven McDonald, wine director of the Pappas Bros. Galleria location, culled global wine pairings.

Duck into this softly lit and polished Houston landmark and take a little culinary journey of out-of-this-world pairings. You’ll surely discover a new wine gem.

Burrata Salad

All natural burrata cheese served on Italian-style salsa verde with vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes and golden baby beets, finished with Sicilian pistachios, baby arugula and lemon vinaigrette. Surprise! Master sommelier Steven McDonald, wine director of the Pappas Bros. Steakhouse Houston Galleria location, pairs this fantastic starter with a red wine! Photo courtesy Pappas Restaurants

Steven’s pairing: Occhipinti Il Frappato Sicily 2012.

“This dish reminds me of having a snack on the sunny coastline of Sicily. Young, rock star winemaker Arianna Occhipinti crafts it with the Sicilian grape frappato and it drinks like beautiful pinot noir. It’s red-fruited, floral, soft and bright; the crispness of the wine contrasts the richness of the cheese. Pistachios and tomatoes, which appear everywhere on the island, make a natural pairing for a Sicilian wine.”

 Spanish Octopus

This robust dish is prepared with tender grilled Spanish octopus, sweet roasted cippolini onions, charred red pepper romesco sauce and a cannellini bean salad. Photo courtesy Pappas Restaurants

Steven’s pairing: Mentrida, Daniel Landi Las Uvas de la Ira (garnacha) 2014.

“Spain is a treasure trove of exciting and diverse wines. Daniel Landi is another up-and-comer from a region just outside Madrid. The rustic spiciness of the wine stands up nicely to the bold Spanish-inspired flavors.”

Lobster and Brioche

So decadent, this creation may make you swoon. Four thick pieces of toasted brioche are topped with buttery, Maine lobster and nestled on a bed of havarti cream sautéed spinach. It’s finished with white truffle-infused extra virgin olive oil and freshly sliced truffles. Photo courtesy Pappas Restaurants

Steven’s pairing: Suenen Reserve Brut NV.

“There is no better classic pairing with lobster than Champagne. Suenen is a tiny grower and a very promising vigneron making some of the best value Champagne in the region. The crispness and saltiness of the wine plays nicely against the richness of the brioche and the sweetness of the lobster.”

Mary’s House Smoked Salmon

The thick, house-cured New Zealand king salmon is complemented with a brisk fennel radish salad and zesty remoulade perched on grilled ciabatta. Photo courtesy Pappas Restaurants

Steven’s pairing: Tyler Bien Nacido-West Block Vineyard chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley ‘13.

“The ripeness of the wine matches the richness of the salmon and the Meyer lemon plays nicely with the dill-citrus remoulade.”


Cover photo courtesy Pappas Restaurants

Robin Barr Sussman is a freelance culinary and travel writer who studied at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone California. As a chef for Sonoma County wineries, her specialty was food and wine pairing. A columnist for Houston Modern Luxury Magazine, Prime Living and Houston House & Home, Sussman’s work appears in Texas Monthly, Fodor’s and Private Clubs Magazine.