Since I live in Berkeley, I don't make it out to the Piedmont Gregoire very often. After a wonderful dinner last night, I'm pleased to say that they still deliver the goods - delicious food made with organic ingredients at a very reasonable price. If you're seeking grass fed meat, organic produce and sustainable fish and poultry, Gregoire is the best deal in town.
Mrs. Mousse and I shared the Australian lamb chops with a garlic and herb vinaigrette. Gregoire's lamb is always incredible. It's very fresh, with a clean flavor, none of the "gamey" qualities I associate with meat that is less than perfect. The chops were cooked rare as ordered, and the dipping sauce went well with the meat.
We also shared the Moroccan style braised short ribs. Total comfort food, perfect for a cold night. The meat was just the right texture - fall off the bone tender, with enough substance to make for an enjoyable chew. As with the lamb, the flavor of the beef is out of this world. Gregoire uses a very high quality grass fed beef from Montana, and I've had few cuts of beef with such a well balanced flavor profile. The stewed vegetables rounded out the dish nicely.
We also shared the soup of the day, celery tomato. It had a deep celery flavor and a silky texture. The soups are always good, though I wish they weren't always vegetarian. Vegetarians have killed the soup of the day in Bay Area restaurants; so often all a soup needs is the punch of umami delivered by bacon or ham or chicken stock. Ah well, that's a topic for another thread.
Of course, no visit to Gregoire is complete without his famous potatoes. I was thrilled to see the scalloped potatoes on this month's menu. Everyone loves the puffs, but the scalloped potatoes are my favorite. Soft and creamy, with a crispy brown top.
Portion sizes are very generous at dinner time. A few hounds have complained about meat portions in the lunches. Personally, I favor a light lunch. But I can assure you, if you come to Gregoire for dinner, you will not go home hungry. We're big eaters, and we couldn't finish the potatoes.
We ended the meal with a tasty banana bread pudding.
The total bill for all of this delicious food was about $50. I can't think of another restaurant where I could get such a fine meal, with such good ingredients, and such spot-on execution by the chef, for $25 per person. I've paid twice as much money for food that was half as good.
I'm surprised the place wasn't busier. I guess it's just taking Piedmont a little while to catch on to this new gem. Seems like it would make a lovely evening to start off with a cocktail at the new Cesar, and then walk down to Gregoire for dinner.
The chef also mentioned to me that they've been doing a lot of catering, for both lunch and dinner. This is several steps up from most catered food, but their prices are still competetive.
I'll be sticking to the Berkeley Gregoire, because that's the one in my area. But if I lived near Piedmont, I'd be a regular.
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