I met up with a few friends for dinner at Bastide this rainy evening. For $100, the seven courses were a great deal. So here's the rundown:
1. A Lobster Taco Deconstruction - There was a flour tortilla crisp, then a spoon of lobster and avocado, followed by a shot of tequila that contained a lime sorbet. This was a great way to start the meal.
2. Bluefin Tuna
3. Tuna Tartare and Uni and Lobster Sashimi - The star of this was by far the tuna. In the small bowl, it appeared as if the tuna was sitting in vinegar (hence the tartare), but it was actually a gelee. Underneath was a layer of incredible uni! It provided the perfect balance to the tuna. This single thing, this 1/3 of a course, exhibited a ridiculous amount of finesse.
The next course was a soup made from carrot and coconut milk, combined with those other familiar Thai flavors of ginger, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf. Lumps of crab rested at the bottom, and there were a small amount of crushed peanuts also. The soup was not as thick as some coconut milk soups I had, but it still had a nice sweetness due to the carrot (though personally I could have used more carrot and less ginger)
The fish course was an impeccably cooked piece of seabass. It was accompanied by peeled grapes and chanterelles. I loved the slight bit of sear on the seabass, as it provided a nice textural contrast, but the fish itself was so wonderfully succulent.
Another shining star for the evening was the pasta course, and it was so simple. Pumpkin ravioli, shaved parmesan and a few drops of 30 year old balsamic. In the center was a hard-boiled quail yolk, meant to add a bit of "silk" to the texture, but in my mind it was extraneous. The rest of the dish was amazing.
Our beef course was a piece of short rib. Good fat content, and while it wouldn't have hurt to keep it braising a little longer, I still think it was a great piece of meat. It was accompanied by a host of mini-sauces and mini-sides on the plate, including hollandaise, a piece of celeriac, a gratin of potato and a few others that escape me.
There was a selection of four wonderful cheeses, though my favorites were the semi-hard cheese and the blue cheese.
1. Mascarpone ice cream with strawberries
2. Hot chocolate and chocolate cake with coconut sabayon - There was an accompanying quenelle of ice cream but at this point I was completely decimated and didn't really note it. I'm sure it was delicious, though.
The wine pairings were, for the most part, good but not great. Only the fish pairing (Antoine Arena, Carco, Vermentino, 2005) and the beef pairing (Redoma, 2004) stood out. The trockenbeerenauslese with dessert (Familie Schreiner, Sonnenmulde, TBA, Samling 88, 2002) was also pretty good.
For $100, it's a phenomenal deal given the quality of food, the amount, and the service. Next time I'll skip the wine pairings (an additional $100) and just stick with the two outstanding bottles; unfortunately there's no BYOB.
While the whole meal was excellent, the two standouts were the tuna tartare amuse and the pumpkin ravioli. The tuna was inventive and exciting while the ravioli was simply flawlessly executed. Both were extremely delicious, but again the whole meal was fantastic. After four hours at dinner, Chef Walter greeted us and even let us poke in the kitchen (and we met the pastry chef there, too).
I also appreciated the fact that the 4 course tasting menu was completely different, but for only $20 more, why not go for the 7 courses? Either way, I highly recommend Bastide.
8475 Melrose Place, West Hollywood, CA 90069