Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dinner at L'Ecole!

Good afternoon my little ducklings!
I am still full.

No really.

We ate SO MUCH FOOD last night. So let’s review, shall we?

We had drinks before dinner at The Dove Parlour down on Thompson Street. We had olives and seasoned almonds for an appetizer and they were great. Very herby, salty, yummy. I had two cocktails, The French Lavender (lavender infused gin, orange liqueur and grapefruit juice) and The Ginger Snap (vodka, house-made ginger syrup, lime juice and soda) *. I am definitely going to try to recreate the French lavender at home, it was such a unique flavor.

L’Ecole for dinner! We were seated at 8:15 and started with 2 canapés (compliments of the chef) which were, I think**, a small circle of sweet potato with salmon and crème fraiche. They were unexpected, teeny and a fun way to start.

For my appetizer I had braised pork belly with a prune glaze served on bulgur wheat and surrounded by a little circle of tomatillo vinaigrette***. You may recall, we opted for the wine pairing, so each of the 4 courses was served with a small glass of wine. I had a red wine here, that’s all I remember****. The pork was good, it reminded me of the horrible red colored bbq pork in mall chinese food, but in a good way. The pork was braised, which means it was seared first (thrown in a hot pan so the outside cooks very fast but the inside is still raw) and then slow cooked with some sort of liquid. The outside was crispy and burny (again, in a good way) but the inside was fork tender and fall apart-y. SO GOOD!

Fish course was the lemongrass and kafir lime corvina with a paisley shaped smear of beet and apple puree and some small white sweet potatoes. A DELICIOUS beurre blanc was on the fish and the potatoes. The fish literally melted in my mouth, so moist, so fresh, delicious. And beurre blanc, I mean, it’s basically a lot of butter, white wine and shallots (though they may have their own recipe with herbs too) so how could it be bad. They were a dreamy combination, sweet, melty fish with warm buttery richness. Drool. Now, I love beets, and I love apples, and I loved the beet apple puree, I just don’t know that pairing it with white fish is something I would do. It was a very bold flavor, that I liked, but I found myself eating it once the fish was gone since I didn’t like the combination of the two flavors. Wine was white, of course, and I believe it was from Austria. It was sweet, tasted almost like a hard cider.

The meat course! This is what I was most excited for from the moment we made this reservation. I ordered the seared duck breast and braised duck thigh in red wine sauce with roasted apples and braised endive. I fell in love with duck in Paris (I know, just, push me off my obnoxiously high horse right now) and have been hoping to relive that confit de canard bliss ever since. The two preparations of duck are different, so I should have taken that into account when I put all of my eggs in this duck basket, but I didn’t. The endive was nice and crispy, almost charred and contrasted nicely with the sweet apples. The red wine sauce was good too. I just couldn’t fall in love with the duck. Duck is very fatty, this one just must have been the chubby kid in his class. The fat wasn’t melted off or crisped, it was just like a warm envelope around one side of the breast. Wine here… can’t remember. 2 cocktails and two glasses of wine and my mind seems to have become melty at this point… strange.

Dessert was heavenly, whoever was pâtissier last night should get a job stat. Preferably somewhere near my house. I had the chocolate-almond cake with lemon cream. The only thing I remembered to take a photo of! (which, I'll be honest, does NOT do it justice. It's dark and romantic in there and I was embarassed to use a flash.. so.. that's what I get)

They also had fresh raspberries (my weakness) surrounding it and a cute little flower iced on to the plate filled with some sort of raspberry gelee. Ohhhhhhh my heaven’s. It was just. Perfect. The chocolate hat sat on top of the light lemon cream, all supported by the actual cake. The cake was not very sweet, but the cream was, so a fork through all three layers was perfect. My wine this course was like a mix between port and sherry. It was nice and sweet without being cloying. I am so glad the meal ended on this note.

The staff, from the host, to the waiter, and everyone else who’s proper titles I am not fancy enough to know were fantastic. They were so, SO, aware of our needs and took care of them. My water glass was never empty (and I go through water like a camel) (do camels drink a lot? Is that just a myth? Don’t they drink a lot, store it in their hump and then go for days without water? If so, then I an NOT like a camel) and they took away our wine glasses and silverware between each course as soon as we were finished without making us feel rushed. It was nice.

Go to L’Ecole when you can! We had so much fun and though it was definitely a splurge for us (yay anniversary!) I would go back in a heartbeat. For now, we will let our stomachs sink back to their normal sizes (and maybe a little further if we cross our fingers..) and our credit cards get paid off in full while we recall from the comfort of our couch what a wonderful night we had.

Have a nice night chickens, and treat yourself to something delicious tonight!

* All of these specifics were pulled right off The Dove Parlour’s online menu, here.
** Note to self- to be a better blogger, write things down and take pictures! From here on out, I swear!
*** And again, just pulling these descriptions right off the menu online, YUM!
**** Yes, photos and notes!!

I think it hardly goes without saying, but just in case, Kyle and I went to L’Ecole of our own volition and on our own tabs. Though I would love to be invited somewhere to review their food, I think those days can only come if I get more than 2 readers. And then multiply that number by 1,000.


  1. Haha "if so..I am NOT like a camel" and I feel for the duck you ate - him being the chubby one in his class and all. BUT all in all sounds like an amazingly fabulous and romantic night out! I would love to try this place out one day!