Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lunch at L'Espalier

I was lucky enough to get the chance to experience a tasting menu at L'Espalier some time ago and have been meaning to recap ever since.  Hopefully you'll forgive the delay and enjoy our fabulous meal with me now-- I hope you saved room!

We started the meal (although to call it just a meal seems to short-change it) with an Island Creek Oyster with cucumber foam and American caviar.  You'll have to imagine this presentation, as this was the one course I missed :(

Butter-poached Maine lobster

Next up was butter-poached Maine lobster with squash soup and piccalilli; Siberian caviar.  The hand-crafted dish this was served in was incredible, I wish I could've taken it home!  I'm not a huge fan of lobster, but it was certainly done well and sat above a tasty soup.

Risotto with preserved lemon

Risotto with preserved lemon.  Wow.  I was totally amazed by the preserved lemon risotto and need to try to recreate it at home!!  It came with parmesan crisps (tasty of course) and escargot, which was...  earthy.   Kind of reminded me of a mushroom?

Hudson Valley foie gras terrine

Hudson Valley foie gras terrine with apple puree, ginger snap biscuit, and candied ginger.  I had a feeling foie gras would be a part of the meal and here it was.  I tried not to think about it too much and give it an honest chance.  With a texture of butter and a taste that was spicy, almost like Christmas, it actually paired really well with the ginger snap biscuit and topped with some of the candied ginger or apple puree.  It was quite a large piece of foie gras however and I couldn't eat it on its own, so our waiter graciously brought me some more ginger snap biscuits to finish it off...  because, you know, there wasn't going to be more food coming ;)

Georges Bank cod

Onto the Georges Bank cod with PEI mussels, black pudding gnocchi and grilled endive.  The cod was great and perfectly cooked.  The grilled endive, however, was my least favorite bite of the night.  Bitter and ick.  I tried the gnocchi and mussel as well, and that's all I'll say about that :)

You would've thought that was the main course, right?  Well I suppose it was...  along with the next dish of black garlic and oat-crusted lamb loin with fennel pure and Apple Street Farm winter vegetables.  I don't eat lamb that often, but this was delicious!  And the fennel puree a very yummy accompaniment.


Of course there was a cheese course!   From mild to pungent (L to R): Brie de Meaux (France), a sheep's milk cheese (Vermont), Le Chevrot (France), Organic Champlain Triple (Vermont), Cabot Cloth-Bound Cheddar (Vermont), Colorouge (Colorado), Caveman Blue (Oregon).

To accompany the cheese there were wine-poached apricots, candied walnuts, local honey and baguette slices.  This could've been a meal in itself!!  I seem to recall my favorite being the Champlain Triple, but it was tough to choose.

Pear Jasmine Sorbet

The pear jasmine sorbet that followed was delightful.  Light and delicious, this was definitely a winner.   That was dessert, right?  Wrong.

Chocolate Decadence Cake

We ended the meal (appropriately!) with the chocolate decadence torte, served with vanilla ice cream.  Rich but not too dense (or maybe my senses had been skewed by this point?), it stood no chance!!

Beyond stuffed.

A wonderful afternoon with a good friend, incredible food, and a kings' treatment, lunch at L'Espalier was one for the books!  I was proud of myself for trying so many things I hadn't tried before or thought I didn't like (oysters, lobster, escargot, caviar, mussels, foie gras), but if I ever have another opportunity to do something like this, I'll likely opt for the vegetarian tasting :)

Which course would have been your favorite?  One you might not have wanted to try?

*Disclaimer:  This was a gift from a friend (not the restaurant), but was such a fun experience I wanted to share!*


Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

Wow, this sounds like an amazing lunch! I have a gift certificate to L'Espalier for lunch and maybe I should give it a try!

Elizabeth said...

What a fabulous lunch. Of all the dishes, I have to say I got most excited about that cheese platter.

vanillasugarblog said...

lucky you! how fabulous is that?
this is the kind of dinner that i like to take 2 hours to eat with good convo. i hope you did both!

Elina (Healthy and Sane) said...

I really love tasting menus and have been dying to try L'Espalier's for a while. Loved the review and good job for stepping outside your comfort zone a bit. Did L'Espalier change your mind on anything?

Unknown said...

Fun & Fearless- Definitely!! Incredible.

Vanilla Sugar- I think it was 3 hours :)

Elina- Nope! C'est la vie :)

Joanne said...

Awesome awesome awesome! Definitely a great opportunity to try some new foods (but not have to spend any money on them if you don't like them. Score.)

Unknown said...

i like fois grois, would have totally tried that!

Delicious Dishings said...

That lamb loin looks fantastic... and all that cheese... yum!

Kerstin said...

What an amazing meal/experience - everything looks fabulous! I haven't had foie gras before and feel like I need to try it.

BigAppleNosh said...

Yum, I went to L'Espalier for a celebration dinner and it was amaaaazing! Looks like you had a great experience!

Jess said...

Whoa! I have never had...many of those things. The torte looks like a block of chocolate. Mmmmm.

kitchenbelle said...

Your photos are gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

An excellent meal, I would sure love to try every dish!

Rosiecat24 said...

How fun! I'm with you: the cheese course would have been my favorite. And yes: go for the vegetarian tasting menu next time! And invite me to join you ;-)

Emily said...

What an incredible meal! Everything looks fabulous!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Wow - that lunch is crazy incredible! I can't believe that's only lunch . . . can you even imagine how crazy dinner is??

Yeah, I tend to enjoy
vegetable tasting menus more too!

Kelly said...

Mmmm. That looks fantastic. It's been awhile since I did a chef's tasting menu (at La Belle Vie in Minneapolis which was fantastic) and I've really been wanting to do one again. That all looks fantastic; I'm especially smitten by the look of the foie because I will admit I adore it.

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