Showing posts with label french cuisine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label french cuisine. Show all posts

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bouchon Yountville

Following the Micheline Guide for San Francisco Bay Area & Wine Country, we visited the recipient for 2011, Bouchon restaurant in Yountville.  Thomas Keller created Bouchon as a traditional Parisian bistro, a more casual version from the French Laundry.  With two other locations in Beverly Hills and Las Vegas, Bouchon offers French classics as well as a raw bar.  
As we walked in the restaurant, it was lively, crowded and noisy.   It was much too hectic and we were asked to choose between squeezing cheek to cheek at the bar, or burn in the sun outside on the patio.  I decided to sit out on the patio and bask in the sun instead.  The weather was nice, it was more calm and serene.  I couldn't help but admire the beauty of fall foliage coupled with a nice sunny weather.  

The house made French knots were served with fresh butter.  The knots were served warm with chewy doughy inside.  The crust was still pretty hard to bite into.  

The soup of the day was sunchoke soup.  It was fresh though there wasn't much flavour.  It was thick and creamy on its own and became too heavy with the added creme fraiche.  It wasn't so bad after I dunked the French knots in the soup and let them bathe in the bowl.  The bread soaked up the creamy soup quite nicely.

The beef tongue salad was quite delightful and turned out to be more pleasant than I imagined.   Tender thin slices of beef tongue with added crisp had executed flavours.  There were sweetness from beets, tart from berries, and fluffy creme fraiche.  It was a fairly sophisticated dish and I didn't feel like I was eating beef tongue.

The roasted lamb leg with lamb jus was a rustic dish.  For medium rare, the lamb a bit over-cooked, and quite bland.  The jus has a concentrated onion flavour, but it could've been more rich with lamb flavour.  It was a dish that had so much potential, but didn't go very far. 

I was a bit disappointed with the soup and entree as they were only mediocre, and the fact that the most impressive dish was the salad.  It was good, but not great enough to book one month in advance or obsess over.  In my opinion, you can find much better value with comparable quality and at lower price elsewhere.  


Bouchon on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Authentic French restaurant, Les Sans Cullottes, NYC

Les Sans Cullottes is a traditional french ‘revolutionary’ restaurant that has been opened since 1976. The name meaning “without trousers” is a reference to the merchants fighting in the french revolution without uniforms.  It has a very traditional French bourgeousie theme decor notable in wallpapers, fixtures and drapes.  I noticed all the servers were peruvian, and was a bit perplexed. I had to ask, and was told that the owner is indeed French.  

The prix fixe dinner for $25 isn't bad for those who really want to test their limits.  For the appetizers, we were seved a basket of whole fruits and vegetables, a whole rack of sausages or charcuteries, bread rolls, a full tub of terrine and house-made dressing.  To us, the appetizers were already the main course on its own.  The terrine was rich and delicious,and the vegetables were very fresh.  With all that wholesome food it front of us, it was hard to slow down. 

We just came from the market.
A wholesome meal on its on right here!
Afterwards, I felt like I just ate the whole market. Consequently, we were full before the entrees arrived.  I ordered the crispy duck breasts ($32) withe sherry sauce, while my sister ordered tilapia filet with almond sauce(she’s been ordering fish in every meal so far).  They were also quite large. They were also very rustic and traditional the way they were prepared and represented.  While the duck was crispy, I found it to be a bit to dry and grainy, indicating it may have been overcooked. 

The desserts we had were creme caramel, and chocolate mousse.  The creme caramel was soft and sweet, though I preferred the chocolate mousse since it was not so sweet and almost malty. The texture was light and velvety, and not so thick and rich.

Les Sans Cullottes is definitely an authentic restaurant that offers the total dining experience through the atmosphere, and rustic and traditional french cuisine selections.  It was a unique dining experience. 

Les Sans Culottes East on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hermitage Review (CLOSED)

The French restaurant has gained its reputation since its opening in 1988.  Their decor is somewhat outdated and nostalgic.  Since it was my first visit there, I won't be able to blog about the consistency of the quality.  But I could tell you that I had a good dining experience.  Our server was very attentive and we were happy with how the food turned out.  Three course dinner set usually starts from $35 - $38 ++ per person.  The menu is updated frequently.  Be aware that they do not serve bread, and if you ask, they will charge you (and apparently for hot water too?).  Luckily, we didn't learn that first hand.  Here's my three course meal:
First course: Asparagus soup
 The soup was served warm.  I usually like my soup to be served hot.  It's not too bland or heavy on the cream, and has the natural asparagus taste.
Second course: The entree, Halibut with lemon caper butter
 The halibut was cooked perfectly, tender and flakey.  The acidity from the capers and lemon butter sauce went well with the fish.  I didn't care about the rice as a side dish and thought they could've prepared something better.
The Dessert: Chocolate  Profiterole
Cream puff pastry with vanilla ice cream in the center surrounded by thick and sweet chocolate sauce and sprinkled chopped almonds.  The pastry was okay although a bit hard (Beard Papa's puff pastry is not as dry).

Here's another entree we ordered:
Beef tenderloin
Beef tenderloin with sauteed mushrooms, puff pastry and spring vegetables.  The steak was medium rare, very juicy and flavourful.  Now that I'm looking at it again, the tenderloin is quite small in size.

The price is definitely on the high spectrum, and, depending on the menu selections, I would go back again.

Visit their website for regularly updated menu here.
Hermitage on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hidden Gem: Salade de Fruits Cafe

Located at the French cultural center, Salade de Fruits is known for its eclectic decor, vibrant ambience, and casual service by francophones.  Best of all, the restaurant is known for its simple yet tasty selections of french comfort food.  During lunch time, the place is packed and buzzing with returning patrons. Their moules et frites (mussels with fries), at $12.99 for regular and $15.99 for large, are the best price offered for the sheer size of the portion you get.  I got the regular size mussels to share with Quiche Garnie.  Two of us were absolutely stuffed.  The mussels were big.  They were well cooked and well-seasoned.
Jumbo size mussles in their glory $12.99 for lunch
Accompanying fries with garlic aioli 
The mussels here don't shrink

The spinach quiche was definitely made fresh.  It had a soft pudding-like texture with a crispy crust.  The side of mixed greens and cranberry dressing also was also very refreshing.  Again, a very generous portion and quality for $6.99.
Quiche Garnie  $6.99 for lunch

Visit their website for detailed menu and hours of operation.

Salade de Fruits Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 23, 2010

Favourite Restaurant in Victoria: Bon Rouge

If you are looking for best bang for your buck restaurants, Bon Rouge is a gem in each and every way.  Located on the corner of Courtney street, the bistro outside decor is warm and inviting.  The parisian style decor, the comfort food, and jazz music softly played have made Bon Rouge my all time favourite place to go for brunch.  

Summer features menu
Two menus are offered, the summer features and the brunch menu.
The decor
The bistro is divided into 3 sections; the patio, the bistro interior, and the restaurant interior.  Jazz music. Casual and relaxed. Friendly service.

Champaign cocktails - $5
Drinks specials are champaign cocktails for $5 until 4 pm every weekend and a glass of wine for $5 every wednesday.  Martinis are $7.50 for 2 oz. and are exquisitely named after famous French figures; Coco Chanel, Yves Saint-Laurant, Bridgette Bardot, etc.

Freshly baked french loaf, complimentary
We were already excited about the french bread as its freshly baked aroma swarmed us. As we pulled the bread apart, we could hear the crunch and the softness of the inside dough softly pulling apart.  Crispy on the outside, warm and fluffy on the inside. Wow.

Prawn crepe $12 - Pan seared with fennel shallot and garlic cream sauce
6 giant succulent prawns nestled inside!
I do mean it when I say the prawn crepe at Bon Rouge was the best crepe I've ever had.   The giant prawns are cooked perfectly and in perfect harmony with sauteed vegetables in fennel and garlic cream sauce.  We appreciated each and every single bite.  For the sheer size and for only $12, it was truly amazing.

Croque Monsieur $12 - Baked ham and gruyere cheese on house made brioche loaf and mornay sauce, with a side of fennel soup

I've always been more accustomed to traditional Croque Monsieur with baked cheddar or swiss cheese  on top.  Instead, the mornay sauce, which is made up of half parmesan and half gruyere, offered a subtle  texture that complemented the brioche loaf.  It was light, creamy and not overwhelming.  The fennel soup was aromatic but was a bit too salty.  However, the intensity was brought down a couple notches when alternating between the Croque Monsieur or the french loaf.

French Onion Soup $8 - Gruyere on crostini
We were debating on what to order for the dessert but we kept thinking about the French Onion soup.  Since I'm a fan, I knew I would have to try.  So we ended up getting it as a dessert instead (lol).  The broth was rich and, again, still a tad too salty for me.  But if you are a cheese lover like me, you would really enjoy the thick layer of melted gruyere and added bread made up for it.   

As we stumbled out of the restaurant an hour and a half later, though I may have easily gained 5 lbs, I was ecstatic and could not wait to come back again.

Visit their website here.

Bon Rouge Bistro on Urbanspoon