Day 1: Luke disappointment/Sylvain triumph
Arrived very late Monday due to 2 hour late United flight. Thankfully B (husband) and I had split a gourmet cheeseburger and fries at Buckeye Roadhouse, in Mill Valley, before the airport. Great meal, now my go-to en route place.
Tuesday morning we headed to CDM but the line was too long so we spun through French market and got right in at Cafe Beignet on Royal. Split an order of beignets that were close to perfection, and the kitty cats and birdies gave us a great show as the rain started falling. Did a little Chartres street shopping including B's white chocolate, pecan turtles at Laura's Candy. Love that place.
Buttoned up and crossed Canal to head over to Luke. B was counting the number of foot massage places.
When we arrived the waitress took us way, way back to that enclave near the glass enclosed kitchen and I WISH I had followed my intuition and insisted we be in the front room. I felt cornered.
Except for the pate de campagne, and my daughter's bisque soup, Luke was a disappointment. B's St. Charles streetcar cocktail was too sweet and my oyster salad was a big mess.
The oysters and the bacon on were overcooked, tough and dinky. The rest of the salad was romaine and the dressing nothing to crow about. Years ago I had a wonderful oyster salad at Patois but this was a big disappointment. My husband (B) got the flamenkuche: thin Alsacien onion tarte, bacon, w/ Emmenthaler cheese. Undistinguished, not much to report.
Honestly, I think we ordered wrong, but the whole experience felt much less charming and more corporate than my past experience. Service was friendly but not very knowledgeable. Perhaps Mr. Besh is too busy promoting the new cookbook. I should have just had oysters. Grrrrrrr.
Fortunately the evening completely redeemed our lunch. Sylvain was just about perfect. Great service, impeccable timing, topped off by lovely manager Alexis introducing herself -- and we had a great talk about Sonoma County wine - which was *no*t on their wine list. [She gave us some great advice about sitting at the R'Evolution bar & their wine list!]
I had the Kindness of Strangers cocktail x2, a great concoction! B. had a Moscow Mule + plate of fried eggplant (huge plate!. I started with a yummy chicken/tasso dark roux gumbo. Great choice.
Our neighbors, at the adjacent table, became or "new best friends." He raved about the redfish daily fish special and I got on board: the fish was plump, spice-dusted sitting on gently chewy rice, walnuts and kale. Most of the slightly tart pink sauce was on the side of the fish, with a bit drizzled on top. This was smart because the fish had a solid flavor and did not need too much "dressing."
The night just kept getting better; we ambled to Frenchmen to see Glen David Andrews at dba and downed a couple of nice Sazerac rye on the rocks to accompany some fine fine fine music. Danced of some calories.
It will be fun to see if Peche can surpass Sylvain's fish -- tonight. Both Sylvain waiters told us we were making a good choice with Peche.... and confirmed top dishes were a) whole fish and b) tuna dip -- choices that sanglier suggested on my post querying Peche, Tivoli & Lee and Rio Mar.
Hands down my favorite in the quarter place is now Sylvain. Love the dark ambiance, the tiny room, the cozy tables, and the buzz. I cannot believe it took me this long. But a perfect date night!