Friday, February 5, 2010

Finally- BOUCHON

by Xani

As the biggest winter snowstorm in years approaches the Baltimore region, I'm thinking back to a warm night a couple weeks ago. I was visiting my dear friend Jenny in Los Angeles, and our trip culminated in a most fantastic meal. We scored a reservation for the new Bouchon in Beverly Hills! And we could not have been more excited.

From the moment we walked into the restaurant, we knew it was going to be an amazing experience (my first Thomas Keller restaurant)! The place is absolutely gorgeous, huge, and super-classy without feeling stuffy. We sat in the main dining room, but spied some cozy little tables on the balcony (next time!)

Then, onto the food. First, a tiny bowl containing warm pistachios and this gorgeous bread arrived, with some soft, salty butter. I've been cutting carbs recently but couldn't resist a small piece of this crusty, warm, heavenly bread. I honestly can't remember a restaurant bread as good as this EVER. TK really knows his baked goods.

Then, some appetizers. Fresh, sweet, delicious oysters. They had 6 or more kinds but this was a sampling of three types of pacific oysters, I believe. Oh, remembering these is making me sad I won't be slurping down oysters at Clipper City Brewery tomorrow (Oysters and Beer event postponed due to snow)-- boop!

We also indulged in this enormous charcuterie platter, with several kinds of cured meats, spicy mustard, and pickled veggies (and more bread-- but we restrained ourselves. We were holding out for something even better...)

Then, the main dishes. We had decided what to order WEEKS before we sat down to this meal. The roast chicken (Keller is legendary for his chicken) and the steak frites- yeah, we were holding out for those fries (also legendary)!!

Both dishes were just... impeccable. Not even the slightest flaw. The chicken was moist, with crisp skin, and served with the most flavorful jus underneath with the vegetables. Top notch. But the real show-stopper was the steak frites. Just perfection. The steak, which was served slathered with hotel butter, was one of the most tender, flavorful, and rich pieces of meat I have ever eaten (and I have eaten some fabulous steaks!!). It was intensely delicious. I don't know how else to describe it. It would make a steak from Outback go and hide in the closet. It was so good, it was the best thing on the table, even beating out the mountain of fries sharing it's plate. IT WAS THAT GOOD. Not that the fries were anything to sneeze at-- these too were some of the best restaurant fries I've had in recent memory. I guess I just have a soft spot for the ones I make at home... but these were damn good. I think Jenny said that a dash of truffle oil wouldn't have hurt these, and I must say, I agree (when did truffle oil ever hurt anyone??).

I'm sorry to say we left without dessert, but did linger over some coffee to take in the surroundings. Bouchon is truly a gorgeous restaurant serving fantastic cuisine. It just makes me that much more sure that a visit to Per Se or The French Laundry, should I ever get to go, would be truly an experience of a lifetime!

Thanks to Jenny for arranging our whole weekend and spending over 20 minutes on hold to get our reservation-- totally worth it!

And to all of you in the area hunkering down for this storm: stay safe, stay warm, and stay put (if possible)!

Happy eating (and happy birthday to ME, tomorrow!)


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