Restaurants & Bars

Disappointment at Bouchee in Carmel

Emma | May 9, 200502:42 PM     10

My husband and I had dinner at Bouchee in Carmel on Satrurday night. It was diappointing. We had reservations but were pleasantly surprised that our table was available a few minutes early. So far, so good. We both decided on the tasting menu with wine pairings. The experience went downhill from there.

The wine pairings seemed to be chosen on the fly, rather than planned based on the evening's menu choices. The selections were fine, but they arrived 15 to 20 minutes before the paired food. More on tardy food below.

The first course was to be hamachi tartare served on a bed of avacado in a broth. The avacado was your average guac. Combined with the salty broth, it overpowered the fish. This was probably for the best, considering that the fish was hardly top notch. It was somewhat tough. I get far better yellow tale from my local sushi joint.

A good half hour after finishing the tartare and receiving our second wine selction, we were served the main course. Where's the soup? And what is the point of wine pairing if the course comes so late the wine is gone? Nonetheless, the main course was taken away and replaced with the soup.

The second course was asparagus soup with a crab cake and meyer lemon creme fraiche. Except that the soup was bright green, there was no way anyone would guess that this was asparagus soup. It tasted like chicken stock. And the wine pairing...oh yeah, we finished it before the food.

No apologies were made for the tardiness of the soup. For graciously not complaining about being served the main course before the soup and for the over all tardiness, we were rewarded with the main course which had been baking under heat lamps while we ate the soup.

I am sure that the salmon was perfectly cooked to begin with, but was overdone by the time we got it. The plate was so hot that blisters would have resulted from touching it.

The saving grace of the meal was my husband's cheese plate. However, there was no wine pairing with the cheese!! (At least, we were not offered one.) I had the black forest cake. Now, I like Duncan Hines boxed cakes as much as the next chocoholic, but at an upscale restaurant I expect something more. And again, no pairing. We were not even offered an after-dinner drink. No port, even the offer of coffee was withheld until we already had the check.

At that point, I was too disappointed in the whole experience to bother complaining about any of it. I just wanted to get out of there.

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