Friday, May 27, 2011

Restaurant Review: La Belle Vie

Well--I do not know how I can possibly review this place. It was absolutely perfect and although there were things that I ate that were okay, but only okay compared to the other things I was eating them with. I will just take through the courses and share my experience with you.

1st course--Artichoke Custard with Blue Crab, Trout Roe, Preserved Lemon and Chives accompanied with a Spanish sparkling wine (Montsarra Cava Brut).  The crab was my favorite part of this dish. The trout roe (trout eggs) were interesting and I liked them much more than my dining companion. Overall, this course was light, airy and the perfect start to the meal. The wine was awesome and I definitely would like to try it again. 

2nd course--Sauteed Halibut with King Crab, Ramps and Goat Cheese Sebayon--accompanied with a Corbiellieres Rose' from France.  The halibut was done perfectly, the crab was wonderful and if you are wondering what ramps are, they are a leek-like onion and were also very delicious.  I have to admit that I am glad this course was small--it was delicious, but the goat cheese sebayon made it incredibly rich.  I loved the wine, but I almost always like a good rose'.

3rd course--Mascarpone Gnocchi with Braised Rabbit and Morels accompanied by a red wine blend from Italy.  The star of this course was a tie between the gnocchi and the morels.  I kept on staring at my plate debating which savory morsel to eat.  This was my favorite dish by far, but I honestly could have done without the braised rabbit.  I have had braised rabbit before and I do not know if this rabbit missed the mark because the gnocchi and morels were so savory and delicious or if it just was not as good as it could have been.  Either way--this dish was a winner!  I also have to compliment the wine.  it was a blend from Italy made from grenache grapes, which brought me back to Italy since a lot of house wines in Italy are made with these grapes.

4th course--Pan Roasted Poussin with Foie Gras, Black Mission Figs and Hen of the Woods Mushrooms accompanied by a California Pinot Noir. Poussin in a young chicken, which makes it incredibly tender, however what I remember most about this dish was the hen of the woods mushrooms.  Their texture was perfect and they were loaded with flavor.  I honestly did not take much notice of the fois gras. It is not something I ordinarily order, but I did not object since it was on the tasting menu.

5th course--Dry Aged Beef Ribeye with Potato Mille-Feuille, Bordelaise Gastrique, Marrow and Beech Mushrooms.  The ribeye was done perfectly. You know you are at an awesome restaurant when the server does not even ask you how you want your steak does it and the chef just cooks it to his liking.  It was tender, juicy and full of flavor.  Potatao Mille-Feuille is almost like a potato cake.  It was slightly crispy and very flavorful.  Once again--I loved the mushrooms.  Are you noticing a theme here? Oh and the wine for this course was a big bold Nebbiolo from Italy. Delicious!

Now for the cheese and dessert courses....
6th course--Monte Enebro with Blueberry Mostarda and Thyme accompanied with an Amontillado Sherry from Spain.  Monte Enebro is a goat cheese with a very distinctive rind.  The cheese comes from one herd of goats raised by one farmer in Spain.  It is aged in caves, and has a very distinct flavor.  The server warned us that we may not like the rind, but we both thought it was delicious.  The cheese was very very good--maybe a bit citrusy? I loved it.  The amontillado was probably my least favorite of the wine courses.  It was not bad, just not my favorite.

7th course--Compressed Honeydew Melon with Cucumber-Elderflower Sorbet. Time for a palate cleanser! I loved the cucumber-elderflower sorbet.  I love cucumbers and the elderflower gave it some light floral notes that made it very enjoyable.  The honeydew kind of had a strange texture, but was enjoyable nonetheless.

8th course--Almond Custard with Strawberry Pearls, Tarragon and Sour Cream Sherbet accompanied with Moscato d'Asti.  I was a bit nervous about the almond custard since I am not the hugest fan of nuts.  I also find that almonds get a bit too sweet for my taste.  The almost custard was better than I expected, but the real winner in my book was the sour cream sherbet.  I absolutely loved it.  It was like frozen Greek yogurt and I think you all know how much I bring up Greek yogurt on this blog...Anyways, the Moscato d'Asti was light, sweet and a very delicious way to end the night.  I will never complain about beginning and ending my meal with a bit of bubbly!

I thoroughly enjoyed my gastronomical tour of La Belle Vie and am so incredibly thankful I was given the opportunity! It was definitely a meal I will never forget.

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