Dinner at Jean-Robert at Pigall's, Saturday June 23, 2007

On Saturday, June 23, 2007, Wendy & I dined at Jean-Robert at Pigall’s. It had been a while since we’d eaten there (once in February with the HAPPY MOUTH SUPPER CLUB; before that, the last time Wendy & I dined there alone was September 2006), so we were very excited to get back. We arrived just in time for our 8:00 reservation and were immediately shown to a private booth near the center of the restaurant by Richard Brown. “This is a very romantic booth; very private,” we were told as we sat down.

Soon, Renee (the sommelier for the evening since Jason was away at “Pinot Camp”) came back with two glasses of bubbling Andre’ et Mireille Tissot “Pigall’s Label” Cremant du Jura, N/V, a nice welcome from the Chef. Angie (our new server since Tammy left) told us that Chef wanted to select our meal that night. We agreed that it was a fabulous idea (always accept this if you’re offered!) and settled in for an epic meal.

Salutation Cove Oyster with Fresh Horseradish and Carrot Broth. The sparkling wine was a great foil for the rich, fatty, briney flavor of the oyster. There was a perfect balance of fresh horseradish to get your mouth awake and watering, ready for the courses to come.

The next course was Warm Indiana Goat Cheese in a Golden Crust with Scallions, French Green Beans, Almonds, and Black Currants served with Baumard Savennieres Chenin Blanc, 2002.

Next up was Rabbit Loin Confit with Basil, Cauliflower, Cherry, Endive, Avocado, and Pinenuts served with Baumard Savennieres Chenin Blanc, 2002. A few small slices of rabbit roulade surrounded a small mound of confit in the center of the plate, enclosed in three small pieces of endive. The contrasting flavors of all the items in the dish melded together beautifully, highlighting the flavor of the rabbit.

Tuna Tartar and Smoked Salmon, Quail Egg, Purple Potatoes, Arugula, and Onion Compote served with Marsannay Rose, 2004. This was a favorite of the evening. Jean-Robert at Pigall’s does seafood courses extremely well. They are usually among our favorite courses of the evening, and this was no exception. The tower was topped with a warm, over-easy quail egg. Once you pierced the egg’s yolk, it oozed down over the rest making a delicious sauce.

Jonah Crab with Beet and Avocado, Fennel Sorbet, and Kentucky Caviar served with Huber Gruner Veltliner, 2005. Another standout course. Wendy particularly likes the cold sorbet topping the tower, so the experience of eating this dish involves not just texture and flavor but also temperature. The Kentucky caviar (from paddlefish) was briny and firm, popping in your mouth with just a bit of pressure from your tongue.

Local Zucchini Flower Stuffed with Spinach, Mushroom, Olives, Goat Cheese, and Served with a Lobster Cream Sauce served with Alain Norman Macon La Roche Vineuse, 2005 and Lancatay Malbec, 2004. Renee thought we’d like to try an alternate pairing — a red pairing — with this dish, and it turned out to be a favorite. The lobster cream sauce was amazing — it had us clammoring for bread so we could sopp up every delicious drop!

Seared Foie Gras with Rhubarb, Glazed Onion, and Turnip Tart served with Duval Leroy Demi-Sec, “Lady Rose”, N/V. We adore foie gras, and this was an exceptional preparation. The rhubarb was a perfect foil to the fatty richness of the foie gras.

Lemon Butter Puffer Fish with Fennel, Wild Asparagus, and Morels served with Domaine Viollot Bourgogne Vielles Vignes, 2004. We were delighted to see puffer fish (no relation to fugu — which is a poisonous puffer fish) on the next plate. It was whole and pan-fried, deliciously crispy and very mild in flavor. There’s not a lot of meat on a puffer fish, but the wild asparagus, fennel, and (especially) morels more than completed the plate. We love dining at Pigall’s during morel season!

Braised Walleye, Truffle Nage, Fiddlehead Fern and Peas, Piopini Musrooms, and Pinot Noir Risotto served with Lake Chalice Pinot Noir, 2005. The walleye was attactively presented, skin side up. I love fiddlehead ferns — they’re fun to say and fun to eat. The fresh peas were very sweet, and the risotto was appropriately wine-y without being overpowering. No one does seafood & fish better than Pigall’s.

Lamb Loin with Tarragon Sauce, Blue Cheese Stuffed Potatoes, and Fondue of Ramps, Duxelles of Wild Mushrooms served with Les Closiers Chateauneuf-du-Pape, 2004. When this dish was served, Angie ‘quizzed’ me about the components, and I did well except for identifying the ramps. The lamb was perfectly medium-rare, and the wild mushrooms added a beautiful earthy-ness to the dish.

Assortment of Domestic & Imported Cheeses served with Rivetti Moscato d’Asti N/V. Renee knows we love Moscato d’Asti so laid some in for our meal tonight. It was perfect with the selection of cheeses!

Variation of Sweets, cookies, and truffles. And a nice gift from Karen to enjoy the next morning! Wendy managed to find room for some coffee; I just sipped my Moscato d’Asti.

An amazing — absolutely amazing — night at Jean-Robert at Pigall’s!

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