Went there last Saturday to celebrate my gf's birthday. I made reservations on OpenTable for 6:30pm.
When we got to the valet station, there was no one there for around two minutes so I had to do a quick and dirty parallel park so I wouldn't block the lane. After the car was stowed away, we entered the restaurant. The woman manning the reservation podium also doubled as the coat check girl. Finally the co-owner Mr. Rouas seated us in the main room, but at the two-top next to the curtained entrance. While I would have liked a better table it wasn't that big of a deal except that I could hear almost every word of our neighboring 2-top's conversation.
What is rather annoying about the main room is that while it's pretty small and they try to space out the tables as much as possible, the tables along the border compete for chair space with the tables in the middle area, so when the waiters/runners walk between tables, sometimes they would keep slightly bumping the back of my chair. I noticed Mr. Rouas also expressing annoyance when the waiters weren't careful with the cheesecart and were hitting chairs when they were navigating across the room.
The menu was the same as the one they post on their website except for a few items so I knew generally which dishes I wanted to try. We both opted for the 4-course prix-fixe for $72.
The amuse bouche was a canape in a beef gelatin. Interesting mix of flavors. My girlfriend didn't really like the gelatin though.
My first course was the tasting of cold foie gras with a side platter with two brioche "buns" each in an individual warmer. There was a about a 3/8"x1"x1" square of a classic terrine which I enjoyed very much. The pistachio crusted version was also very good. The duck breast and foie bras in a gerwurt. gel. didn't make sense for me.
She started with the "untraditional ahi tartare." (off topic: Does it bother anyone else when the menu/waiter reads "ahi tuna"?). I guess she likes the more mainstream "traditional" ahi tartare. I didn't taste much of it but it looked like a chopped ahi on a circular beef gelatin mound. She didn't like the gelatin (which I thought was quite flavorful) so for her the untraditional ahi tartare failed for her. She did, however, eat all the ahi.
My second course was a salmon dish that, I believe, is different than the one on the website. Overall it was just so so, that I wasn't even interested to thinking or remember what ingredients were in the dish. The fish was fresh and cooked very well (almost a bit on the raw side which is perfectly fine by me).
Girlfriend had the seared scallops. There was some truffles on top instead of caviar I believe. This was the first time she had truffles so she was interested. She liked the scallops the most. The dish was well balanced.
I had the colorado lamb loin dish. The plating was really boring for this dish. There was two silver-dollar sized bites of meat in a puddle of a honey, mint oil sauce with a small pot of Alsatian sweet potatoes on the side.
Girlfriend had the veal tournedos with ris de veau "fritters." I didn't taste this dish, but I don't think she was amazed either.
We had preordered (for a $5 supplement each) a chocolate souffle for her, and a classic Grand Marnier souffle for me. I didn't try hers but she enjoyed it. She prefers the hip, modern "flourless, molten" chocolate souffle that is seen everywhere, but she did like the classic version. The GM souffle was very good, but the accompanying sauce seemed too "light" or thin.
Service was efficient. It seems that unless the waiter is natually outgoing or service-talented (can't word it right), service seems to hit a ceiling. There were some minor things like reaching across the table. This might be because we were two-three feet away from the neighboring diners, and the back of my chair was probably relatively close to another diner's chair, if the server chose to walk around and serve from the correct location he might bump or intrude in the space of another diner. Perhaps the owner should try to work some of those logistics out.
Digression:--> Perhaps the best waiter we ever had was in LA at the Belvedere restaurant in the Peninsula BH hotel. The man was probably in his 50-60's so he was probably a lifetime, experienced waiter. He did everything right, including exuding the right (for me) amount of warmth, humor, and small service touches (bringing my gf, who didn't want to drink that night, a glass of juice without us asking). It's probably the only time I remembered a waiter's name. He was that good.
Ok back to FdL. So the service was just okay for the calibre of restaurant.
Wine list was pretty good with a wide selection of half bottles and a couple of pages wines-by-the-glass. I had to drive, so I had to limit myself to one glass of a pinot noir from mendocino county (I forget the maker) for $13.
A shot of espresso and a nice platter of mignardises ended the meal. After tax and tip it came to be $250.
Would I go back? Maybe, but there are other restaurants to try or better restaurants to return to. (I overheard the woman at the table next to us opine that the food was soso but the service and wine excellent. They ordered lots of wine. Two glasses of an aperatif, a '93 DRC grand cru, a half bottle of a batard montrachet, and a half bottle of Krug NV.)
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