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Chez Spencer Report (long)

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Chez Spencer Report (long)

Meredith | Mar 24, 2005 06:18 PM

Walking through the gates of Chez Spencer into the outdoor patio/seating area relaxed me already. There were little white lights, heating lamps and cute café tables with lots of greenery around. One table was tucked by itself into a tiny tree surrounded alcove that I would recommend in the future when someone is looking for the most romantic spot.

We, however, still chose to sit inside though the outside was pleasant enough even on a cold night. Inside was also pretty, lots of candles, soft lighting and white clothes everywhere. I had read that it gets very loud but at 7 on a Wednesday it was only about two-thirds full and the noise level was perfect. Not so quiet that I felt the table next to me could hear my conversation but not so loud that I had to even try to hear what my companion was saying.

Now to the important part – the food.

My first course was a “bouillabaisse”. They put it in quotes and I should have asked why. It was basically a thick seafood stock with a crouton with aioli floating in the center. The soup was good, but missing something. If it had pieces of fish it would have been more of a bouillabaisse or cioppino, if it had cream it would have tasted like bisque, but as it was it tasted like it was waiting for something to be added. My friend had the asparagus with truffled emulsion, but the one thing I read said to wait for the white asparagus for this dish, which was why I passed. I did, however, seem to eat more of his than he did and agreed with an old post that the delicious bread wiped through that sauce is worth the looks you might get. Not that anyone even appeared to notice. The service here was excellent, and very warm.

The next course I had the foie gras with pink lady apple tart. It was perhaps the best thing I have eaten this year. I had to close my eyes every time I took a bite and fight just to stay upright. My companion’s second course wasn’t as successful. The langoustines with a lobster sauce and scallops were just okay. The scallops were great but the bitty lobsters themselves were fairly tasteless. Of course it didn’t help my friend that his one food fear is things with eyes, which these had.

For the main course, I had the antelope with little potato cakes and an amazing jus. I had read that the chef is a wonder with sauces and it really shone through on this dish. The antelope was good, never having had it before I have little to compare it to, but it was tender well-cooked lean red meat. But rubbed around in the sauce it became amazing. The potato cakes had a layer of cheese sauce between two layers of potato, which picked up the sauce well. They were one of the better potato accompaniments I have had, as I got full it became hard to decide whether to eat those or the antelope.

We had to skip the cheese course as both of us were getting way too full and only split the chocolate pudding cake. We ordered that mostly to justify two glasses of port, I mean you can’t have chocolate without it, right? The dessert was fantastic. I am not usually a huge dessert person, in fact dessert was the only thing that disappointed me when I ate at Gary Danko, but this was great. The best way I can describe it was as the world’s best mostly cooked brownie.

All in all the entire experience from the setting, to the service to fabulous food was wonderful. I would definitely come back to this place.

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