JudiAu | Feb 18, 200306:46 PM     6

My husband and I ate dinner at Bastide on Saturday. He thought he was being clever by not scheduling it on V-day but we had the V-day menu and the V-day "issues" anyway. Every dish was very good, very refined, but nothing was "transcendent."

Amuse of white asparagus veloute (wonderful- I spent part of Monday trying to copy it)

House-cured salmon with sevruga and fennel salad (very suave, very French, entirely different texture than the excellent salmon from Traktir, interesting to compare the two dishes)

Half lobster tail in the shell in a reduced lobster sauce (tender and succulent lobster, but where was my fish fork and knife? and what am I supposed to do with a salad fork and a sauce spoon, besides push it around the plate! And maybe a fish fork and knife really don't work well for an in-shell lobster, but if you aren't going to remove it from the shell at least give me a knife!)

Tenderloin, (I am not a huge fan of tenderloin but this was the best I have ever had, I believe it was probably cured and the flavor was exceptional)

Creamy white French cheese, unchallenging

Signature "porcupine" dessert with crisp meringue (the world needs more lavender ice cream)

There was an excellent wine pairing, $50 each

After the bad press on these boards a few months ago I really wanted to like Bastide. I don't mind the all French list and I was excited to get a new formal restaurant in town. However, I really felt like the kitchen and service made assumptions about the v-day rubes and treated them/us less than perfectly. I would like to eat there again and get a better picture of what the restaurant can do but I won't be rushing back.

Some of these assumptions were validated by several badly dressed, loud-mouthed, annoying diners. (One table included a man in a sports shirt, a man in a oversized leather "club jacket" which he wore throughout the meal, and a women dressed entirely in red, including her feather boa.)*

Various service difficulties: we were given butter and tapenade but we only got bread after our amuse, after we asked for it, and after we saw another table being offered it when they sat down.

I asked the waiter if the cheese was raw milk and he mumbled something in French. Then my husband asked him, in French, and he said he didn't know in English. We said he would ask the chef but we never saw him again.

We were not offered the wine pairing. When we asked we were told there was one. We had to ask specifically what the wines were. We were told dessert was being served with a "French port."

Hugh? As far as I know, there are a variety of sweet French dessert wines but unless the French want to entangle themselves with endless EU regulation and an invasion from Portugal, there probably isn't French port. It turned out to be banyuls. Why call it port unless you think that I am wine idiot?

Dinner was almost $400, including wine.

* This prompted a fun conversation where we detailed all of the formal French restaurants we had eaten at which involved grossly inappropriate behavior by an American. Favorites include the Texan in suspenders and bolo tie, who only ate well done meat, used remarkably profane language, and snapped for the waiters at Boyer-Les Crayere in Champagne and the American business man who drank scotch and smoked a cigar throughout his all crustacean dinner at Les Ambassadeurs in Paris.

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