this is a bit overdue, but i wanted to share my experience at Fleur de Sel last week, as i at least owe that to the 'hounds who provided such great recommendations. thanks again everyone.
we went to celebrate my girlfriend's birthday and, i must say, it was a spectacular dining event. we were immediately seated by Mr. Ratha Chau, the manager. our server then came with the menus and asked if we'd like any drinks to start. i then mentioned her that we were going to opt for the tasting menu and asked if she had any recommendations for glasses of wine that would go well with the dinner overall and, also, suited our individual tastes. for me, a Vacqueyras (as i prefer red) and for her, a Lynmar Chardonnay (as she prefers white). both were excellent suggestions. as for the tasting menu, whatever my gf ordered, i got the opposite so we could taste everything. here goes:
her: spanish mackerel tartare w/ mustard ganache and caviar. never thought that she'd like tartare (but the other option was oysters, which she is allergic to). she was, in fact, quite pleased with it - the mustard ganache, which had the perfect bit of zip to it, went nicely with the mackerel (as did her chardonnay).
me: unfortunately, they did not have the white truffle ravioli, which i was looking forward to try (maybe next time) so i had the pine island oysters. i found the sauce to be a little too tart for me, but the dish was decent. i preferred hers better.
her: goat cheese & artichoke ravioli w/ red beet dijon-jus. very, very good. the beet jus was nice and sweet while the ravioli completely melted in your mouth.
me: scallops with maine lobster in consommé. this was wonderful. the lobster was cooked perfectly and the scallops were sweet and succulent. add black truffles to the consommé and it's over.
her: seared wild striped bass w/ corn and couscous. i liked this dish a lot, as the bass was cooked to perfection and the corn was an interesting ingredient to add to this dish but worked very well. its red wine sauce also matched my wine choice.
me: east coast halibut, basil oil & fresh herbs. i enjoyed the fish, but the sauce was OK. i told my gf that night, "it tastes like my backyard" by which i meant it was extremely herby (i think i tasted some sage in there, but i'm not sure about that or any other herb in that sauce). in any case, the overall theme of the dish was interesting at best, but i wouldn't get it again.
her: veal confit w/ seared foie gras, smoked morel sauce. wow. i heard reviews about the veal and the foie gras, each a separate entity. but together, totally unbelievable. a nice, thick cut of veal surrounded by a hearty-tasting sauce, morels on the side, and topped with a foie gras that was perfectly seared, mildly crusted on the outside, divine creaminess on the inside. amazing.
me: venison filet, yukon potato & apple gratin. double wow. three large pieces of venison cooked to a nice medium topped with a julienne of truffle and smoked venison sausage--i savored every bite like it was the last. it's like you've known this dish for the longest time (though i've never had venison before) and, while you're eating it, you can't imagine being prepared any other way.
both dishes were equally incredible. i dream about that foie gras.
raspberry feuilleté, white chocolate caramel ganache. the hype is well-deserved. this might be my favorite dessert of all time. it seems simple; two crusty rectangles of phyllo dough sandwiching fresh raspberries, topped with a white chocolate concoction. at first bite came the initial amazement at how simple fruit could be turned into a masterpiece of decadence. immediately, she turns to me asking, "can you taste it?? the fleur de sel???" ever so subtle, but undeniably present was the slightest tingling--the salt-signature of this restaurant's namesake. i can't say enought about this amazing dessert.
banana mousse, crème de café & chocolate dentelle. before this dessert came, i realized that placing the raspberry feuilleté at the end of the meal might cause restaurant-goers a bit of insanity (i know i'd go insane if i wasn't brought down to earth). that's what this dessert is--a down-to-earth, classic dish, well-executed and completely satisfying. with a cappuccino, delightful. with my favorite person, completely unforgettable.
midway through our meal, our table was seamlessly handed over to another server (our first server's shift had ended, it seems). he was very knowledgeable about the food he was serving, answering any of our questions about ingredients. i asked him at the end of the meal if Chef Renaud was around; "Cyril Renaud is in France and will return in about a week." even without their executive chef, the entire staff of this restaurant truly knows how to create a wonderful experience for its customers, solidifying Fleur de Sel's reputation for both quality of food and hospitality.
our server even snapped a few pictures for us. our reservation was at 8:00pm--we were one of the last few to leave at around 10:40pm, no rush. i can't wait to go back.
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