Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen
mrissa

Cafe Levain report

fmi_agent asked for a report on our Cafe Levain experience. Short version: good stuff, we'll go back.

Longer version: I ordered a glass of the Spanish white that was on special, but I didn't catch the name. It wasn't special enough for me to ask the server for the name later, but it was a quite drinkable, happy white wine. markgritter had something else, but I don't remember what. Bread was crusty and good. We had the scallop starter, which had a fresh green salad on top -- wonderful greens, though I couldn't identify most of them -- and a carrot-vanilla puree for the base. I wasn't sure how the carrot-vanilla thing would go, but the carrots didn't have the bitter undernote some carrots do, so it was really quite fine.

I had the "Vegetable Tasting" for an entree, with brussels sprouts for the side. I polished off the brussels sprouts, which shouldn't surprise people who know me well. They were braised with garlic slivers. Nothing complicated, just done right. The "Vegetable Tasting" surprised me, though the menu listing was fairly clear: Cafe Levain emphasizes local, fresh ingredients when possible on their menu, and yet this was a vegetable main course that could have been done in November or February without any problem at all. It had fingerling potatoes of varying hues, all flavorful (pale gold to deep, deep purple), small carrots, braised "long red onions," braised greens. And local chevre, and slivered garlic. Very tasty, very fine...but there are fresh peas in the world right now, among other things. I was a little startled not to see more seasonal stuff, but once I got past that, I really enjoyed what was in front of me. (And also you all know I'm a winter girl; having a culinary visit to winter was no bad thing.) markgritter had a steak on potato puree with the local mushrooms for the side. I tried the potato and mushrooms, and they were both tasty. He enjoyed the steak as well.

Aaaaand...that's when the power went out. So we were extremely lucky. There were a couple of tables of people who'd come in after us and hadn't ordered when the power went. The chefs sent out salad and cheese and bread but eventually sent them home (without charging), on the theory that they really kind of needed power to do anything on the menu.

But! The same was not true of the dessert menu. So despite the power outage, I could still have Valrhona truffle cake (very dense, reasonably dark but towards the midpoint of my admittedly very dark tastes in chocolate) with Italian cherries and caramel, which combination was somewhat unusual and definitely worth attention. There wasn't enough caramel to make it oversweet, and the preservation method of the cherries was a little bitter as well, which is a win for me. And markgritter could still have angel food cake with passion fruit ice cream and rhubarb compote. Again, I left what might have been considered the central portion of his dish strictly alone (angel food cake is on my list of Complete Wastes of Dessert), but the passion fruit ice cream and the rhubarb compote were nicely complementary types of tart.

Success. We will go back. And they were very charming and rueful about the power outage, handled themselves well.
Tags: so juicy sweeeet
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