RICHLAND, Wash. — Seattle seafood restaurateur Budd Gould long has enjoyed bird hunting and golfing in the Tri-Cities, and he liked the idea of starting a steakhouse in the middle of Washington wine country.
Less than a year ago, he pulled the trigger and opened Budd’s Broiler. That it’s a 1-iron from his successful Anthony’s at Columbia Point makes it more delicious as his company becomes a stakeholder in the high-rent district of the Richland Yacht Club while helping to develop a culture of fine dining for the Tri-Cities.
“We’re getting discovered by people who really like steaks,” said Lane Hoss, longtime vice president of marketing for Anthony’s Restaurants and one of the top wine judges on the West Coast. “And this gives us the opportunity to go out and buy more of these great Washington reds.”
For the record, it was Gould’s employees who pushed their beloved boss into using his name for the dinner-only steakhouse. This spring, his team will open its 30th restaurant in the Pacific Northwest, making its debut in the Idaho market with an Anthony’s in Coeur d’Alene near the Spokane River.
While Anthony’s operates neighboring seafood houses as well as steakhouses in Bellingham, Everett and Olympia, it took a different and deliberate approach with Budd’s Broiler. The building began as the Sundance Grill but was shuttered within two years. Gould purchased it in 2006 and operated it nearly a decade as an events center for his popular Columbia Point restaurant before the somewhat playful remodel.
“When I opened my first restaurant in ’69, there really wasn’t a wine industry,” Gould said during last year’s ribbon-cutting. “In our restaurant, we were selling Mateus, Lancers and liebfraumilch, so it’s been a great journey for myself to learn about the wine industry and see what we’ve done in the state of Washington.”
Gould, a graduate of the University of Washington and Harvard, toasted the June 2015 opening of Budd’s Broiler with a fundraiser for Washington State University’s wine program and gathered luminaries from the Washington wine industry to help him celebrate.
“It’s a big deal,” Norm McKibben, the Walla Walla Valley vintner and grower, said at the opening. “Anthony’s has definitely supported us — the wine industry and Pepper Bridge — all the way around. When they dropped us an invite, there’s no way you can turn it down.”
The world-class quality of Columbia Valley red wines combined with mouthwatering slabs of Double R Ranch beef or dry-aged, 14-ounce New York steaks from Snake River Farms’ Wagyu American Kobe create matches made in heaven for carnivores.
Regional chef Tony Ring, who opened the flagship Anthony’s at Pier 66 in 1996, said Budd’s Broiler and its steak program has been fascinating. If the Richland grill continues to succeed, expect it to serve as a template.
“I hope so,” Ring said. “It’s fun and different than what we’re used to. I’ve learned a lot about meat and dry-aging in the last year.”
His executive chef at Budd’s, Matthew Nobbs, doesn’t try to hide his enthusiasm.
“I have all the tools I need here,” he said. “I couldn’t be any happier.”
Dry-aging meat is akin to managing a grape for an ice wine, as the grapes become desiccated their sugars are concentrated.
“We age it for 30 days wet in a vacuum-sealed packing and then it goes into dry aging, a minimum of 14 days and up to 30 days,” Ring said. “What that does is condense the moisture in the meat, becoming intensified so the flavors are huge — amplified. We do it for one cut — just the New York.”
At Budd’s Broiler, Nobbs starts the process in a refrigerator-sized dehumidifier with a layer of rock salt that covers the bottom of the chiller to pull out moisture. The humidity target inside the unit is 87 percent, and the salt is replaced every two weeks. Nobbs receives updates from the unit on his phone.
“After two weeks, I trim the fat cap off,” Nobbs said. “The color isn’t the vibrant red of a fresh steak. It’s more of a dark red.”
Its appearance might rattle the uneducated American consumer. However, after fat becomes caramelized in the Jopser, a charcoal broiler oven built in Bellingham that achieves a temperature of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Nobbs’ larger grill is fired by locally harvested apple wood. Their combined efforts result in the sizzling product that’s the equivalent of meat candy — suave, decadent and something to be savored bite by bite.
“When the fat cooks up, it’s like eating sugar,” Ring said, “but it is expensive to do this.”
There’s little doubt Nobbs is in his element at Budd’s Broiler. Before he graduated from Southridge High School in Kennewick, he’d assumed the role of grillmaster for backyard barbecues. A decade later, he’d climbed through the ranks at Anthony’s and took over the kitchen at Budd’s Broiler by the age of 29. That makes him the second-youngest executive chef in the company.
“Syrah is usually what I drink,” Nobbs said. “I love going out and wine tasting, and my aunt from California is a wino and she loves coming up here. It’s cool to get her perspective.”
Managing the cellar at Budd’s is sommelier Eric Zegzula, who joined the company in 1989 as a server at Anthony’s HomePort in Des Moines. There, he began his wine training and arrived in Richland as a wine manager when Gould opened that restaurant in 2004. Six years later, the Washington State Wine Commission named Zegzula its sommelier of the year. His standing within the Tri-City wine community continues to help build the following for Budd’s steak program.
“As word has gotten out, we’re getting more savvy people coming in and ordering their steak ‘black and blue’ or “Pittsburgh,” Nobbs said. “It’s not uncommon at all here anymore.”
Arguably no other restaurant group supports the Washington wine industry to the extent of Anthony’s Restaurants. The Washington State Wine Commission has recognized that, having presented its highest honor — the Walter Clore Honorarium — to Gould and Hoss. That work is not lost on the region’s winery executives and winemakers, who have embraced Budd’s Broiler, too.
“It has been fun to get to know the wine community,” said Mike Tvedt, who manages both Richland restaurants. “We have people from the wine industry at both restaurants all the time, and they’ve been a big help to us here from the beginning in 2004.”
Myriad factors contribute to the rising market price for beef — including the grain market in the Midwest — but Gould’s company tries to mitigate the fluctuations. It recently developed its beef company after years of success with its own seafood operation. Diners at Budd’s Broiler can take advantage of that via the four-course Early Bird menu weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m. for $19.99. That bargain lights up the 128-seat steakhouse, bar and in-season patio early each evening.
“We have the Wagyu top sirloin on our Early Bird dinner, and you could not get that top sirloin anywhere in the country at that price,” Tvedt said.
Hoss added, “The early dining is a signature program for Anthony’s.”
A special occasion for two calls for Nobbs’ Tomahawk Rib Eye - a steak priced at $90 and sized for Fred Flintstone — paired with a bottle of Woodward Canyon Dedication Series Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon off Zegzula’s list. While the nearby Anthony’s wine list is essentially a 50/50 split of red and white, at Budd’s Broiler it leans predictably red at 80 percent.
For the Match Maker assignment, it seemed natural to spotlight two Yakima Valley winemakers who’ve enjoyed a long association with Anthony’s — Rob Griffin of Barnard Griffin in Richland and Wade Wolfe of Thurston Wolfe in Prosser. Both were among the cadre of Columbia Valley winemakers and growers invited for the ribbon cutting.
“Our relationship with Rob and Wade goes back to when they were both at Hogue Cellars,” Hoss said.
Griffin’s continued excellence with Pinot Gris off his Caroway Vineyard explains why it’s one of the few white wines left on Zegzula’s list. Ring, Hoss and Nobbs collaborated and offered their Cilantro Grilled Ocean Prawns with Cornbread Pudding, one of the few seafood items left on the menu at Budd’s Broiler. It’s yet another example of the bromide “Pinot Gris and things from the sea.”
The pesto and lemon-garlic aioli combine savory and citrusy elements that work nicely with the grilled approach to the U-15 Mexican prawns and spotlight the fruitiness in the Barnard Griffin 2014 Estate Pinot Gris. Those who balk at the traditional grittiness of corn meal will become fans of this corn bread creation, which involves heavy cream. That moist corn bread, which helped Anthony’s win Alaska Airlines’ Copper River salmon competition three years in a row, becomes almost decadent alongside the bone-dry Pinot Gris.
“It has got enough body to stand up to the prawn and the creaminess of the cornbread pudding,” Hoss said. “It has a nice acid balance to it, too. And the lemon in the aioli brightens up the pesto, which goes nicely with the wine.”
Wolfe’s suave and dense expression with his 2012 Zephyr Ridge Petite Sirah — a grape that typically produces a sinewy wine — led to a seamless pairing with the dry-aged New York strip. Delicious and ripe red fruit flavors and tamed tannins alongside the lean, flavorful and juicy New York created a lingering finish of caramel and black licorice.
“We had a lot of fun trying the different steaks with the Petite Sirah,” Hoss said. “When we had it alongside the other steaks on the menu, the wine seemed a little soft. With the New York, the lack of that big tannin explosion really is nice.”
Ironically, that thoughtful, dry-aging to steak seems to fit within the overall approach of Anthony’s.
“We’ve been around for 40 years, and we don’t even have 30 restaurants yet,” said Tvedt, who began working for Gould in 1993. “We’ve been able to maintain a culture that other companies lose because they grow too fast. When I bring in potential employees, I remind them about the tortoise and the hare. We’re not the fastest here, but we’re going to win the race.”
*Budd’s Broiler, 450 Columbia Point Drive, Richland, WA 99352, 509-946-8178. anthonys.com.
Thurston Wolfe 2012 Zephyr Ridge Petite Sirah, Horse Heaven Hills, $20
297 cases, 14.5% alc.
PROSSER, Wash. — Petite Sirah does not make for a dainty wine, nor is it a blueblooded Syrah.
Instead, its birthplace is France’s Rhône Valley, a chance crossing of Peloursin with Syrah in the nursery of botanist Francois Durif in the late 19th century.
In Washington state, the grape shines year after year in the hands of Prosser winemaker Wade Wolfe. Last year, the Thurston Wolfe 2012 Zephyr Ridge Petite Sirah ranked No. 7 overall on The Seattle Times 50 best wines of 2015. The quality and price point are just two reasons why it’s on the list at Budd’s Broiler in Richland.
“Back when I was working at Hogue Cellars, Hogue was producing the Anthony’s custom Chardonnay and Merlot, so we have that history going back to the early 1990s,” Wolfe said.
The vine’s small berries and some confusion with Syrah planted early on in the Bay Area inspired Californians to call it Petite Sirah. These days, historians and a few winemakers refer to the variety as Durif - its original name. (To learn more about the grape, go to psiloveyou.org.)
Wolfe, with a Ph.D. in plant genetics from the University of California-Davis, was brought to Washington in 1978 by Chateau Ste. Michelle as director of vineyard operations. Twenty years later, he convinced the Watts family to establish Zephyr Ridge Vineyard in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills near the Columbia River town of Paterson. Plantings featured Petite Sirah and Primitivo, and Thurston Wolfe began using Petite Sirah from Zephyr Ridge in 2002.
“I would say that through 2007, we did make Petite Sirah in that bigger, bolder, rugged style, and people were enamored with that style a lot,” Wolfe said with a chuckle.
However, the cooler vintage of 2008 prompted Wolfe to alter his winemaking.
“I decided to make a more lighter style wine in terms of the tannin load,” he said.
Rather than fermenting to dryness then pressing, he began pressing at 5 percent residual sugar to tone down the tannins. In 2011, another cool vintage, he moderated the tannins again — this time by using whole-berry fermentation.
“The 2012 vintage was a product of whole-berry fermentation and early pressing, a combination to essentially manage the tannins a bit more,” Wolfe said. “There’s been interest in the market for it, and the response that I get from people is that they seem to like the milder Petite Sirah.”
Another transition has been to go from a barrel program of 50 percent new oak down to about a third new oak with more lower levels of toast by the cooper.
“And my Petite Sirahs have always been exclusively American oak,” Wolfe said. “I think the variety lends itself to American oak when trying to take advantage of the higher fruitiness than they get in California.”
It’s a good thing Wolfe is a patient man. Despite the success he’s had with the grape in the past decade, many consumers need to be educated. Fortunately for them, they won’t find a better teacher.
“I was pouring my 2011 Reserve Petite Sirah the other night in Yakima, and probably 50 times I had to give the explanation on the difference between Syrah and Petite Sirah,” Wolfe chuckled.
Thurston Wolfe, 588 Cabernet Court, Prosser WA 99352, 509-786-3313, thurstonwolfe.com.
Chargrilled New York Steak with Irish Champ Potatoes and Marinated Tomatoes
New York steak
4 one-inch thick cut New York steaks
1 teaspoon of your favorite steak seasoning
8 ounces marinated cherry tomatoes (see recipe below)
Champ potatoes (see recipe below)
1. Salt steaks with kosher salt and char-grill on high heat until desired internal temperature is reached (125 degrees for medium rare).
2. Sprinkle your favorite steak seasoning. Serve with champ potatoes and marinated tomatoes.
4 medium russet potatoes
2 cups whole milk
8 ounces salted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup chopped chives
1. Peel potatoes. Heat large pot with water until boiling.
2. Steam or boil potatoes until fork soft (about 7 minutes). Drain/remove from heat and put into large bowl.
3. Heat milk over medium heat until warm (about 3 minutes).
4. Add milk and butter to bowl with potatoes and mash until it has reached desired consistency. Serve immediately.
Marinated Cherry Tomatoes
1 pint cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
1 shallot finely minced
2 ounces green olives with pimentos roughly chopped
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 ounce red wine vinegar
1. Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate. This can be prepared two days in advance.
Barnard Griffin 2014 Pinot Gris, Columbia Valley, $12
1,500 cases, 12.4%
Anthony’s Restaurants can’t get their hands on enough of Rob Griffin’s perennially award-winning Sangiovese rosé. His 2013 Merlot ranks among the best in the Northwest, and yet his skill with Pinot Gris earns Barnard Griffin placement on a steakhouse’s wine list.
“Well, Anthony’s and Lane Hoss have been wonderful supporters of our industry and our winery over the years,” Griffin said.
The story of his Pinot Gris starts in Caroway Vineyard, not far from the Columbia River community of Finley, Wash. Griffin and his wife, artist Deborah Barnard, share ownership of the vineyard with Carol and Wayne Miller. The site, coined by simply blending the Millers’ first names, was established around 1980.
“They started it up and haven’t thought of a better use for it,” Griffin said.
Its history includes Riesling, and grapes have gone to wineries such as Hogue Cellars, where Griffin worked while launching his own winery.
“They planted Pinot Gris there about 10 years ago, but among the things that are important about that site is that grapes were planted there in the ’60s - some vinifera and some French hybrid stuff way back when,” Griffin said.
Global climate change has worked in their favor because Caroway offers a slightly northern exposure.
“That’s normally against the playbook, and the soils are thin and poor, which is best for quality and not for quantity,” Griffin said. “It’s been incredibly winter hardy, though, and we’ve decided that the standard bilateral cordon trellising is the best way to cultivate it.”
Accumulating sugar is not Griffin’s primary concern with Pinot Gris. Rather, it’s preserving acidity for food applications. In 2014, that meant harvesting on Aug. 24. Last year’s record heat prompted an Aug. 14. pick.
“That’s just insanity,” Griffin said. “That’s not just because of the variety, but the season in general.”
Another worry is that if he hangs the grapes longer, the skin will turn reddish or “gray” — which is the English translation of gris.
“As it gets riper, the pigment in the skin becomes more soluble, and I don’t want more color,” he said. “And we have not barrel-aged Pinot Gris because that’s not the flavor profile you want, and it’s probably an inappropriate idea for the variety.”
He also avoids lees contact because he’s worried about the potential of unwanted aromas and taps out any residual sugar.
“We pretty much ferment it and get it off the lees right away,” Griffin said. “It comes into its own after about a year in the bottle.”
That responsibility rests with the consumer because Barnard Griffin has sold through the 2014 at his tasting room. The 2015 was bottled in late February, and he looks to capture subtle aromas of guava, kiwi fruit and pear, followed by clean and brisk flavors of Asian pear, starfruit, honeydew melon and lemon.
“Shellfish is great with it, as it does have some refreshing acidity,” Griffin said. “Chicken? Not as much, in my opinion. I would go in the direction of Chardonnay for that.”
So he agreed with the Budd’s Broiler approach of Cilantro Grilled Ocean Prawns with Cornbread Pudding. He looks forward to going over the cornbread pudding recipe.
“I make cornbread pudding myself, but I’ll bet theirs is better,” Griffin deadpanned.
Barnard Griffin, 878 Tulip Lane, Richland, WA 99352, 509-627-0266, barnardgriffin.com
Cilantro Grilled Ocean Prawns with Cornbread Pudding
16 U-15 large prawns, deveined and butterflied
2 cups of cilantro pesto (see recipe below)
1 cup aioli sauce (recipe below)
2 tablespoons red bell pepper diced
4 long skewers
1. Put eight butterflied prawns onto each skewer. Marinate prawns in cilantro pesto for one hour in refrigerator.
2. Char-grill prawns on medium-high heat for about 1 minute on each side until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.
3. Remove from heat and top prawns with some of the remaining cilantro pesto. Drizzle aioli sauce over prawns and sprinkle with the diced red peppers.
4. Serve with cornbread pudding.
4 bunches cilantro chopped fine
2 cups olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
2 cloves of finely minced garlic
1. Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until needed. Yields 2 cups.
1/2 pound cold cornbread cut into 1-inch cubes (a fine-milled cornmeal or box mix works fine.)
3 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese grated
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup yellow onions diced
1 teaspoon parsley chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Put cornbread cubes into a well-oiled 9-inch x 9-inch pan.
3. Add onions, cheese and parsley. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, cream and salt together until well incorporated. Pour egg mixture evenly over cornbread mixture.
4. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cut into 4 large, triangular pieces.
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 ounce white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1. Process eggs in a food processor or blender until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
2. With the processor still running, slowly drizzle in oil. Add remaining ingredients and mix to combine.
3. Mixture should be moderately thick.
4. Refrigerate until ready to use.