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Restaurants & Bars 2

Madame Matisse

lil mikey | Aug 5, 2002 11:05 PM

After reading its praises on Chowhound, we finally tried Madame Matisse the other night. It's on Sunset in Silverlake. This place is small. There are about 4 tables inside, along with a counter against the window with several chairs. Outside, there are about 6 tables right on Sunset (with a clear plastic hanging “wall” that effectively cuts the noise of Sunset), and another table all by itself in a little alcove on the side street. I love the atmosphere. Very small and personal. I really felt like the servers were glad we were there. I felt like a guest, which is a feeling I don’t often get. It’s at the same time casual, professional, and very friendly.

They don’t serve any alcoholic beverages, but the waitress pointed out that next time we can bring our own…no corkage fee. In retrospect, I should have known this from the Chowhound posts. I just forgot. Anyway……

My smokin’ hot babelicious dining companion had the potato, leek and turnip soup, which was pureed, smooth and seasoned perfectly. It was the “special” soup.

I had the endive and avocado salad, which came with a generous portion of smoked salmon that tasted marinated, like ceviche, but you could still taste the smokiness. It was really good.

For our main courses, the Lady had the Moroccan chicken, and I got the sliced turkey breast.

The Moroccan chicken was served in a large bowl with a generous portion of couscous, the grilled chicken, and various sundry fruits and vegetables like carrots, raisons, bell pepper and star of anise. It had a nice delicate Moroccan curry flavor, and a fiery dollop of pepper sauce conveniently dripped on the brim of the bowl (not in the actual dish), so you could add as much as you like. Overall, the dish was too dry. It needed some broth or something to bring the dish together. The chicken was fully cooked, and not too juicy, although the flavor was nice. It just needed something to break up the dryness of the couscous.

The sleeper was the sliced turkey breast. I had just read the “Zone” diet book, and when we went to Madame Matisse, I had not fully understood the book. So I just picked a dish that looked relatively healthy: Sliced turkey breast served with mashed potatoes, green beans and a white wine and mustard sauce. It looked harmless enough. I was going to order the Moroccan chicken, but as the Lovely was ordering it, I chose something else. Boy was I surprised. The turkey was a wonderful dish. It is served in a shallow bowl. The turkey slices are from a real turkey. It’s not deli-style. It’s thick white juicy turkey breast meat. The mashed potatoes are creamy, but not starchy. And they’re not too dry. They were spot-on. The beans were beans. I don’t get too excited about green beans. But what brought the whole thing together was the sauce. It was smooth, but not watery. It was kind of thick, like the consistency of the soup. The flavoring took the acidity of the wine, the ever-so-slight bite of the mustard, and blended them with just the right amount of salt and other seasoning to become a blend that causes you to crave the next bite, even as you’re finishing the last one. Whew…I think I just drooled between the g and the h on my keyboard.

So the turkey was a winner.

For dessert, even though I was full we ordered the apple tarte tatin. Now this is something to save room for. I think next time, I’ll save most of the entrée (I love the endive salad, so I don’t want to skip that), and take it home. Then I’ll have more room for dessert. It’s a large slice, with apples layered on a nice crust. The sauce is not too sweet, and the tartness of the apple, along with the delicate cinnamon and clove flavoring is great. It is served cold with a large dollop of ice cream and crème fraiche. I also had a cup of green tea.

The whole dinner was about $50 before tip, and we tipped generously because they took such good care of us. We’ll be back.

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