My interior designer friend and I chose French 75 in Laguna Beach for our requisite dining the other night. (Our last was at the tasting menu in the Studio at the Montage Resort). I thought I'd get the John Dory because it had Haricots Vert, but he was into making decisions that night. He decided we'd have a "surf and turf plate," and ordered the filet mignon for himself.
He then told the waiter I wanted the John Dory dish. Except, they changed the menu at French 75 about a week ago and Haricots Vert were no longer being served with the John Dory, gnocchi was. I agreed to order the John Dory with gnochhi with little resistance. I love potato gnocchi, but don't often find good gnocchi in any restaurant. I found their's was.
I asked the waiter if green beans were still in season and my friend explained that I had scoped the menu out on the internet because we two always get to talking and forget to look at the menu, and I had wanted the green beans with the fish. Then, without further mention, the waiter brought a side serving of green beans, sorry, Haricots Vert, for me with my main course. Wonderful surprise. Now, that's service!
There were about four or five pieces of the butter sauteed potato dumplings on my plate and a hoard of mushrooms and truffles (too many for me to eat) underneath the John Dory. No sauce. I shared some fish and dish with my friend who then cut his bite-sized piece of gnocchi in half. It was the best bite I have had of gnocchi and wish I could order a plate of it on occasion. (Italian restaruants should offer it as good). The piece of beef he gave me, I had to cut with my butter knife.
We shared each others plates of our appetizers oysters on the half shell (very small and tender) (also new to the menu) and smoked salmon (good - just enough oil) on rosti cake (rather dry potatoes) sauteed with a little butter and a lot of pepper. Then we dipped into one order of French Onion Soup with gruyere cheese. I wanted to taste it to see if mine homemade was better. He said it needed salt.
During the main course, my friend opted to take the waiter's offer to order a perfect chocolate souffle (and I asked him if he knew how to cook - he didn't) When ready, we watched the waiter dive bomb the center of it with a spoon (carrying some center stuff out with it) and replaced it with a dollop of freshly whipped cream that he then quickly drizzled the chocolate syrup over from side to side. After a while, I decided to dip into the centerpiece for a taste. A bite from the middle reminded me of the chocolate pudding cake mom would make at least once a week. The chocolate flavor was darn near the same. He was in heaven, as was I from that memory of mine.
If I dine there again, I might order a Louis XIII with Tattinger champagne or something wild like that before the appetizer. This time, our interest was sparked by the bottle that the sparkling water came in. A glass cylinder with a silver cap.
They had recently changed the chef and Scott Dolbee is at the helm. And, my friend picked up the tab (I hope he tipped well). He gave me a tour - pre appetizer - of the upstairs "tent" room also. I heard a Michael Buble tape of him singing a song that Rod Stewart has on his Americana album (40's stuff). That's when my friend noticed for the first time the funny slanted brick "chimney" post in the middle of the area before the tent room. I didn't notice the music again until exit time. All in all, the experience was just dandy.