Monday, October 30, 2006

Fleur de Sel

With sunny yellow paint and neatly maintained window boxes the exterior of Fleur de Sel is classic French. Nestled inside the romantic exterior is a hidden treasure of clean modern lighting, bead curtains, and exposed brick walls; perfectly sleek yet unpretentious. It was love at first sight.

We decided to have the four course tasting menu with wine pairings, which is $76 per person. It is worth every penny--and calorie.

J got things started with the Quail and Foie Gras Terrine

I opted for the Goat Cheese & Artichoke Raviloi with Red Beet Dijon Jus
Sauvignon Blanc, Mairehau Marlborough, New Zealand, 2005
These delicate little pillows were quite possibly the lightest ravioli I've ever had.

Next we both indulged in the Hake with Cauliflower and Black Truffle Puree, Mushroom Foam
Syrah, Edmonds St. John 'Wylie-Fenaughty' El Dorado County, California, 2001

The hake was J's favorite. The fish was cooked perfectly and the mushroom foam and the syrah were perfectly matched.

American cheeses
And then came my favorite: the Chef's Selection of American Artisanal Cheeses
Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny Port

This was three pieces of cheese, three candied pecans, a scoop of candied currants, and nine entirely different flavor experiences. I love when such a small amount of food can create such complex and varying flavors within one dish.

Rasberry Feuillete
And finally, dessert: J chose wisley with the Raspberry Feuillete, White Chocolate & Caramel Ganache
Monzabazillac, Chateau Belingard Bordeaux, France 2002

He found this to be the perfect end to a delicious meal. The textural contrast of the crisp wafer, juicy berries and soft ganache was just right.

I had the Gaufrette Au Chocolat, Black Mint Powder, Chocolate Ice Cream
Banyuls, Domaine de la Casa Blanca Languedoc-Roussillon, France 2004

This just seemed like one of those desserts that is placed on a fixed menu for budgetary purposes--or for people who are chocolate fiends. Unfortunately its richness was lost on me.

The table next to us was speaking French which just added to Fleur de Sel's charm. It was, however, a painful reminder that after seven years of French all I am really capable of is ordering a croissant.

We left Fleur de Sel satisfied but not stuffed, and eager to go back for more. I'm sure the restaurant's evening vibe is fabulous and swanky, but we rather enjoyed the quiet lunchtime scene of just a few tables escaping the rain.

- K

Fleur de Sel
5 East 20th Street
New York, NY 10003


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