Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lune de Miel - Part IV - One Epic Meal

There is no debating that D. and I love to eat, but given our financial status, when we go out we usually choose safe investments with tried and true cuisine that we know we'll like and isn't too outlandish on the price scale. This is not to say that we're conservative eaters. Far from it. It's just to say that super haute cuisine, molecular gastronomy and experimental restaurants aren't really on our radar. Which is why it was a good thing that our concierge made our reservation at 11th Art after being unable to secure one of our two 'safe' choices Michelin starred L'Univers or La Cave de L'origine.

We had no expectations when we arrived at 11th Art for our 10 p.m. reservation. A quick flip through the menu made the multiple course tasting menu the obvious choice - which we both made along with another bottle of Cotes de Provence.

Our choice included some French menu regulars from jambon et melone to magret de canard even foie gras, but nothing could have prepared us for the deliciousness we were about to incur.

Course #1 Foie Gras & Pain Perdu

A long rectangular plate  - on the left: raspberry preserves in the middle: raspberry sorbet with crumb swirl, on the right: a thick slice of foie gras perched on top of a piece of french toast.

Exquisite. Foie gras with raspberry? A revelation. 

Course #2 Jambon et Melon 

A reservoir of raspberry coulis topped with a pastry cylinder filled with cream nestled next to a miniature ball of cantaloupe. Inside the cylinder: surprises. A mound of gelatin or aspic and a singular chive.

I go for the melon first. D. accuses me of being short-sighted, he was right. Although delicious with a light coating of coulis, it is nothing compared to the smoky, meaty filling of the cylinder. Maybe it isn't pastry, but bacon? No. Maybe the aspic is ham? Not really, more melony... no it's the cream - whipped ham bacon cream. Ham bacon cream that tastes better than bacon or any other pork product on earth. Salty & rich; I literally licked my plate clean.

Course #3 Sea Bass

A perfectly cooked sliver of fish served on top of green peas with a smudge of red paste of deliciousness. Neither D. nor I can place the flavor of said smudge (paprika?) but we eat it in its entirety and eagerly await...

Course #4 Magret de Canard et Peche

Gorgeously browned and glistening with fat the duck is tucked into a mound of polenta. D. keeps exclaiming 'what is this!!??' in reference to the polenta. Its creamy sweetness the perfect off-set to the rich meaty duck and juicy morsels of peche.

If not for the jamon et melone, this would take the cake.

Course #5 Pre-dessert

A rice-pudding like concoction of coconut served in a petite bowl with an equally petite spoon and drizzled with more of the raspberry coulis.

Course #6 A Grand Finale

A small chocolate sphere, more raspberry coulis & sorbet drenched in grand marnier and set ablaze, the chocolate shell melting away to reveal additional sorbet on the inside.

Although the pyrotechnics receive high marks - I would have preferred a second helping of the foie gras.

We wrapped up our meal with deux cafe and stumble out of the street, the last ones in the restaurant. We toss around the idea of going out before realizing the time - already well into the next day...