Monday, June 21, 2010

A Meal with a View

Every morning when we go to school, we cross the chef of the restaurant La Table d'O walking his daughter to school. The smells already coming from his kitchen at this early hour have always made us dreamy, they're so complex and delicious. Going there is super special: we went with my Mom, Alison and Mallory went on their last night in Josselin, Mac went with Steve and Gina (it's a go-when-the-kids-are-at-school kind of place) and it was a completely marvelous and different menu each time. Well this morning, we decided that it was high time that we celebrated our anniversary (which had come and gone on May 23, as it so often does in the midst of Eleanor's birthday events and other May mayhem, completely unnoticed) and so we booked a table on the terrace. The view is breath-taking, the cuisine is inspired, the experience is sublime. Here is a recapitulation.

I never take an appéritif, but when the waiter asked, it seemed like the most natural thing to do. Kir breton, of course, but with griottes instead of just cassis. Mac had his much beloved Ricard - thus the happy face. The little taster bowls have spreads of sardines, fresh fresh fresh cheese with cucumbers in it, and salmon - all to be eated on little delicate crostinis. Mmmm

Mac started with the Assiette de Saison: melon, with prosciutto, and white asparagus, drizzled with the juices of "tomates confits" (stewed in its own juices for a really long time). The tiny sprouts and arugula made all of the colors pop even more.

I went with "Filet de Raie aux Agrumes" - delicate cuts of stinray interspersed with beautiful, thin slices of kumquats and other citrus fruits, and an even sproutier decoration for accompaniment.

For his Plat de Resistance (indeed, who could resist?) Mac had a Filet de Dorade Rôti à l'Estragon à la Provençale (fillet of sea bass roasted with tarragon served with tomatoes and artichokes with herbs of southern France). Isn't it gorgeous? Inspired by the blogger who also loved La Bourse ou la Vie, I took photographs of every single part of our meal. It's funny, usually with photographs, I just snap the kids and try not to do too much of that "experience it from behind the camera" thing, but with food, with this gorgeous food, I found that framing the picture made me notice things more, even things the camera couldn't quite capture: the textures, the play of light, the shifting surfaces. The camera did a great job of capturing the colors, though - a true palette.

I went with the Blanquette de Morue, a beautiful cut of cod in an incredibly delicate shallot cream sauce on a bed of wild rice. Those tiny fragile carrots with sweet and almost creamy, and yes, those are the cutest, tiniest turnips you've ever seen right there above the tomatoes. Heavenly.

Happy happy happy.

Mac then finished with a Tiramusi aux Fruits Rouges - where you'd normally put coffee, there were wild berries - genius! I know that tuiles cookies are relatively easy to make (you wrap the dough around a rolling pin), but they amaze me every time - like lace these were.

For me, a Mousse au Citron Vert - a lime mousse, with a coulis (thick sauce in which all of the seeds have been meticulously squeezed out) of wood berries - and a tuile! Oh but it was good. And you have to think, every bite with that view, and Mac and I having a long, meandering conversation (sports and social progress (civil rights and Title IX), WWI memorials, things Pétain said and did, the French soccer debacle) which repeatedly touched upon how great the food was, and how we're so happy for the kids that they've been so happy here (Oliver sighed a little sigh today and said that he's going to miss his school - better to have loved a school and left, I told him, than never have loved a school at all.) (He looked at me like I was nuts).

And the coffee, even the coffee is a beautifully orchestrated event. The cream on top, of course, and then arrangements of sweet little things. Everything so fresh (who is his produce guy?) We lingered, we did. And yes, we probably should have come here more often (all of that gorgeousness that I enjoyed, you should know, was the 15euro menu - you can't sneeze for that much in Paris, France!), but this was also wondrous and rare and will be treasured always always. And now the mystery of all of those delicious smells that would greet us walking the kids to school have been beautifully, delectably answered.


  1. Wow! That meals sounds and looked delicious!! So happy for you all! And congrats on the anniversary. We'll be celebrating our 12th in August! Time flies...

  2. Yum!
    I can't wait to have long meandering lovely lunches with you guys when you're back.
    We miss you,

  3. hi dear friends

    i'll be coming back with some nifty ideas - but oh, the sauces: they remain a mystère!


  4. Completely transported with this post. I could taste and feel the experience so vividly—especially since a couple of your dishes were the very same that Mallory and I shared {that Dorade is incredible, no?...the sauce! does he do it?}. She and I are still dreaming of that magical meal.
    I'm so glad that you and Mac found a moment to share a belated anniversary meal there. You both look beautiful...positively blissful. I raise my glass to the incredible you!

    counting the days...