Man, did I not know what we were in for. I don't really have time for the full food-porn essay that I'd like to do, but I'll put the major points into bullet form.
- After I'd called the manager asking if we could arrange a vegetarian tasting menu, Chef Christophe Eme actually called me back personally to discuss it.
- Champagne cart pushed over at the beginning of the meal is irresistible. As was the sparkling chardonnay I ended up trying.
- We lost track of how many courses there were. Most likely, somewhere between 13-15 including the amuses and desserts. Just when we thought we were done, they'd come over and put down another knife and fork. Over a three-hour meal, all told.
- Some notable courses: lettuce emulsion atop ratatouille atop potato puree, served in large shot glasses; english pea and fava bean gelee; roasted eggplant caviar; soft egg with vanilla whipped cream, served in the shell inside of a volcanic rock; sauteed root vegetables including paper-thin potato puffs; herb-crusted chevre in a couple different configurations; pumpkin gnocchi that made me realize what pumpkin gnocchi is supposed to taste like. For dessert, chocolate mousse in a thin chocolate casing, multiple sorbets, amazing plate of petit fors.
- Service on par with the best we've ever had.
- And, oh, by the way, they charged us $30 a head *less* than the regular meat-filled tasting menu. Makes sense, since we weren't eating any of their most expensive foods, but I've never seen a place actually do that.
- We are now in love with Ortolan.