Ornate ceilings, old world bay windows, serene tones. Thanks to Joanie, 8 ladies lunched today in one of the most stately settings imaginable. Quiet elegance yes......silencing and uptight, no. L'Espalier managed to pull off the delicate task of combining professional service with whimsical lightheartedness.
Most of us ordered the $24 lunch prix fixe. All started with wine.....a bit expensive at $15 a glass. My cabernet, thanks to my lunch mate Barbara's suggestion, was big, bold and dry. A well-informed server held an enticing basket of bread, pointing out the olive bread, fig, foccacia, and sour dough. Our bread plates were re-filled regularly. I chose for my first course sauteed shrimp with caponata and smoked cockle vinaigrette. I huge white soup bowl dwarfed its contents, but the tastes were large. Fresh, snappy shrimp. lovely thick tomatoey caponata and little cockles strewn about (looking a bit like tiny clam bellies to me). My main course was perfectly cooked salmon over a dense vegetable puree, complemented by several summer vegetables strategically placed to look oh, so pretty. Dessert was espresso scented creme brulee, topped with two lighter than air biscotti-shaped cookies and accompanied by a spoonful of seasonal berries in berry sauce. A heady concoction.
As if we all had done a good thing by lunching, we each received on our way out a little present tied with a bow (a tiny baba?). It's nice to be appreciated!