Chowed at Lumiere with fellow hound barleywino; we liked it for the expert preparations of classic straightforward French fare. No extraordinary combinations; just good simple preparations that are executed impeccably.
The most daring dish was a velvety and flavorful foie gras torchon paired with a variety of dried fruits (a fairly traditional combination) in a syrupy reduction sauce of some sort (maybe slightly too sweet in my mind, but not a serious faux pas). It breaks from tradition but serving it on a very fluffy brioche French toast instead of warm toasted brioche. I prefer tradition here, mainly because toasted brioche offers a crispy counterpoint to the soft foie gras that the soft centred french toast lacked.
Duck confit went nicely with earthy lentils and a tangle of frissee with a slight acidity from a fairly well balanced dressing.
We both admired the skate, beautifully pan fried. Nice well browned crispy surface and soft silky articulated fibres underneath, moist and and well carried by the subtle mustard sauce. The accompanying sauteed cauliflower with soury capers edged by a nice mild bitterness was very well matched for the fish. We tasted all kinds of flavors in the cauliflower sautee, it's mostly from a nutty smoky brown butter sauce.
The grapefruit sorbet was a standout -- wonderful soft flavor of the fruit without excessive stringency. Great support from a very well calculated tequila lime sauce -- hardly any alcohlic sharpness, yet hints of lustrous complexity. Nicely rounded off by an array of citrus fruits (blood orange, grapefruit etc...) -- a nice echo of the sorbet.
The pear tart was decently good, but not outstanding. Came with a thick pear sorbet (almost like a pear puree), and was punctuated with walnuts.
Creme brulee had a good vanilla flavor and a nice thick caramelized sugar crust, but the creme itself was a little off, with a pudding like texture and buttery oiliness instead of rich creamy smoothness.
It wasn't inexpensive by any means (entrees mid-$20s to $30), and there was little invention in the cooking. But for the savory courses, textbook flavor combinations was wielded with extreme finesse and items were well prepared. The skate was one of the best examples of its kind I've had in a while and worth the ride from Boston (thanks barleywino!).
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