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Beggars' purses at Le Charm

Tida | May 31, 200105:43 PM

Had dinner at Le Charm in SoMa finally. It's been on the list forever after I had heard that it serves great country french at very reasonable prices.

They have a 3 course prix-fixe dinner for $25 that includes app, entree and dessert. App was a leek tart followed by augmoniere of oxtail followed by a orange-infused creme brulee.

The leek tart was very good. It was much larger than I expected but of course, I finished it all anyway. The crust was buttery without too greasy/fatty on the tongue. The filling was all leek. Many times savory tarts can be overwhelmed by too eggy of a taste. Not this one. All leek. It was served atop some lightly dressed frisee with small green leaves placed around the plate.

The augmoniere was explained to us as a crepe filled with braised oxtail meat taken off the bone. Little did I expect that our entree would be two beggars purses of savory, tender oxtail meat. I don't think I have ever encountered beggars' purses in a restaurant in America so I was very pleasantly surprised. I love long slowed cooked meats and I'd have to say that braising is my favorite style of cooking. This dish completely hit the spot for me! The purses were set on a sauce reduction of some kind of meat (more than likely the braising liquid) with sauteed spinach and some lightly fried turned potatoes(tasted a little starchy). There were also some wonderful roasted perfectly caramelized shallots on the spinach.

Lastly, I had the creme brulee. Very standard ending to a french meal. The first thing I did was tap the sugar crust with my fork as I like it when the sugar is very crunchy. This passed the test with flying colors. It was distinguished for me as it had been infused with orange, more than likely grand marnier. Very nice, light ending to the meal.

Service was provided by a French waiter who seemed not to see anyone who looked in his direction. It was kind of funny but it did take a little work to get his attention. All in all, I'm glad I finally went.

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