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Restaurants & Bars 3

Cafe Brasserie

Carolyn Tillie | Oct 22, 200101:06 PM

403 N. PCH, Redondo Shore Shopping Center, Redondo Beach (a-top RiteAid and Whole Foods).

Went for dinner last night, compliments of a nice boyfriend who knew I needed a good French meal to set my weary mind to rest.

Very nicely furnished restaurant with large, vintage French advertising posters in the windows (apparently for sale in the $1,000 range), lovely yellow-orange mottled walls, and lots more little framed French images. The tables had some classic Provencal linens (you know, the kind with olives and lavendar on them).

We started with an appetizer of Seared Sea Scallops with Lemon Beurre Blanc, Crispy Leeks, Green Asparagus Tips, and California Sevruga Caviar ($12). With this, we shared a glass of Chateau de Beauregard '99 Pouilly Fuisse ($10). The scallops were grilled with a golden surface and the frizzled leeks and beurre blanc were light and quite delicious (so much so that we had to ask for a bit more bread to sop up the sauce which, by way of their advertisement, is 90% free of cream or butter, but I'm not sure how...).

For our main courses I ordered a slowly braised Lamb Shank served with fresh Linguine and "braising vegetables." ($19) Shawn ordered a Sonoma Magret de Canard (duck breast) with a Nectarine Confit and Roasted Potatoes ($19). These were accompanied with a split of Chateau d'Arsac '96 Margaux, which was recommended and a good match. ($16)

Of the two, the duck was a much better dish. My lamb shank was exceedingly large and tender and it was surrounded by parsley'd linguine, all atop a brunoise of roasted vegetables. (A brunoise, for those that don't know, is where the vegetables are uniformly cut into squares that are exactly 1/8" in size -- it takes a great deal of skill to do this). I guess the downside of my dish was that I wished for more sauce. I believe the vegetables were cooked in a sauce as it had the roasted vegetables and a large amount of fresh diced tomatoes on top of the shank, but with the buttered linguine, I wanted a bit more moisture.

The duck was served with what was called "Nectarine confit" but what was really nothing more than stewed, dried apricots. The roasted potatoes were heavily-laden with garlic and the combination of the rare duck, the stewed dried fruit, and the garlicky pototatoes was very complementary. Again, it was the sauce that brought it all together.

We finished up with coffee and a classic Tarte Tatin with Creme Fraiche ($6). Apparently we ordered the last one of the evening, it is that popular. Here, what it actually consists of is a very thin layer of crust (a pate brisee) and dozens upon dozens of thinly sliced apples. These were paper-thin and perfectly layed out in a circle. It was perfection in that it was so classically prepared. Too often (IMHO), I find Tarte Tatin laden with a sickly caramel syrup where as this was just warm apple slices and a nice creme anglaise.

$110 total and a nice meal to boot. I am anxious to go back and try more of their seafood courses, like a traditional Bouillabaisse... Very extensive wine menu and all-in-all, a quiet, pleasant evening.

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