On Saturday night, my wife and I took a good friend out for his birthday.
In short, one of the best meals Ive ever had.
Warm Frise salad with fois gras
I have been having quite a few variations of these salads over the past month or so, first at Zax Tavern and then Chez Panisse. Although this salad was perfectly fine, I kept missing the foil of poached egg that I love so much at Zax. I find that egg yolk contrasts best with the bitterness of the frise. The fois gras on top was nice, but overall this salad was just good. The fact that it was the weakest part of the meal was a small statement, because the overall meal was wonderful.
Mussels w/Pomme Frites
I have so many good mussels these days that what separated this dish were the great pomme frites. My wife said that these are her all-time favorite. I love French fries, and I loved these as well, but would recommend in the same breath the wonderful versions at Jojos in Oakland and Gregoire in Berkeley.
Duck LOrange (I dont if I misspelled)
This was a quite large duck leg perfectly cooked with a wonderful sauce. The vegetables and sliced potatoes underneath soaked up a lot of the good flavor. The meat was tender and fell apart, but still maintained enough resilience so that you knew you were eating duck.
My oh my, was this good. My previous favorite warm chocolate cake/soufflé cake variations have been at Jojos in Oakland and the Blackhawk Grille in Danville. I have found a new champion. I still highly recommend the above two.
This was a warm chocolate cake in the molten fashion, with the oozing chocolate from the middle. It was served with a rum raisin ice cream and some sort of caramelized banana in the middle. Perfect, absolutely, perfect.
Like I said, I have been having a stretch of eating at some really nice places over the last month or so, so why was this meal so memorable?
Service and friendliness
From the minute you walk in, the Chef-Owner Phillipe greets you warmly and shakes your hand. His wife, graciously explained the dishes to us, my wife was the only one among us that understands French. At the end, he came out again and thanked us. He even gave my wife a few kisses on the cheek. These folks are oozing with charm and sincerity.
As for the tally:
Two four course meals (appetizer, fish tasting, main course, dessert)
One three course meal (appetizer, main course, dessert)
Extra appetizer to share
3 flutes champaigne
2 glass of wine
Coke (I know, I know, but my friend is strange and doesnt drink wine!)
With tax and generous tip: $240