My husband and I had business to conduct at Fashion Island, Newport last Thursday afternoon and afterwards we realized we were starving! We found ourselves practically in front of Rouge Bistro, so we thought, why not??
It was late and as we entered, there was only one party left in the elegant dining room and a few more people were relaxing in the lounge/bar area. So much for the "see and be seen" detractors, it was almost as if we had reserved the whole place to ourselves--and during the holidays, even! But would the food be any good at this time of day?
It was to be a simple lunch. I ordered the daily special of black cod with beurre blanc and pommes Parisienne and a glass of Carmel Valley Bernardus Chardonnay. Hubby had the duck Alsace (thank you, Yvon) with sauteed cabbage, rich mashed potatoes and sauteed apples and a glass of Robert Sinskey Pinot Noir.
My cod's skin was perfectly seared and crisp, topped with flakes of fleur de sel, which added just the right amount of saltiness to the richness of the fish and butter sauce and was perched on a bed of sauteed spinach. The pommes Parisienne were tiny balls of potato which had been sauteed in butter until the outside was crisp, while the inside was soft and creamy--excellent! The Bernardus chardonnay was of the butter and oak type, full-bodied with a long finish.
Hubby's duck was tender, rather than crisp and the apples, pommes and cabbage were comforting and a fine accompaniment to it, he said, as was the tasty wine.
For dessert we chose to share a simple coupe of house-made vanilla bean ice cream. This was memorable for its flavor, creamy texture and holiday presentation. A tall coupe was filled with ice cream, scattered with raspberies, a chocolate-filled cigarette and a sprig of mint, all sprinkled with confectioners sugar, giving the impression of a fresh snowfall--so simple, yet beautiful and perfect with a double shot of espresso. Btw, service was young, polite and very caring. And at this time of day, it was much more than we had expected. Total including tax and tip, around $95.
A scene? Absolutely not at this time of day, but the timing is everything. I suppose I should be keeping this to myself, but what the heck, happy holidays chowhounders!