Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bastille - C'Est Parfait

It is with pleasure that I write to you concerning Bastille, the French inn tucked into an otherwise nondescript industrial complex in Alexandria. First greeted by a warm, low lit room, and quasi-open kitchen, we moved on with the distraction of a very comprehensive wine list. While the emphasis on the vino is French (obviously!), I was pleased to find that Pinot selections from the Oregonian Willamette Valley also made the list. While the Rex Hill offered by the glass is no Penner Ash, it won't cost you as much and is still quite tasty.

Bastille offers a variety of tasting menus, reasonably priced from $35 to $59 for between three and six courses, as well as a la carte selections. We chose the four course menu as it offered the most choice. Instead of a salad that is advertised as the second course of the mid-priced menu, our Saturday evening menu started with an amuse bouche of pate made from pheasant, duck, and chicken livers. The flavors were smoky and deep, and the consistency was pleasant, not as rich as traditional pates. Executive Christophe Poteaux's food is self-described as "straightforwardly good". The first course was by all means an indication of that philosophy.

We then moved on to an appetizer duo of scallop and foie gras. Both proteins were seared to perfection, with neither texture overwhelming the other. All of this was topped with a scrumptious and distinct fig jam. I would not have thought to pair a scallop with foie gras, each with its own richness and individuality, but everything about this course worked perfectly.

Entrees presented the first divergence at our table, with my dining companion enjoying the short rib and myself the veal sirloin. Meat is apparently the word for the entree course at Bastille. The short rib was accompanied by a long red pepper reduction. While the meat was a bit fatty for my taste, those who who enjoy a short rib would appreciate this dish, particularly given the tenderness of the meat. I was impressed with the vegetable fricassee served alongside - though I'm sure plenty of butter was involved in the preparation, the vegetables were crisp and flavorful. My veal sirloin, served with a porcini-truffle-red wine infusion, is best described as steak "noir". Not steak au poivre. Not a pepper flavor. But likewise dark yet punchy, and satisfying too. The parmesan pomme puree was infused with an uber parmesan flavor that bordered on overwhelming. Not a side for the faint of heart when is comes to cheese, but something I enjoyed. As is often the case for me, the entree was anticlimactic. Nevertheless, a pleasing and might I add, quite filling course.

The evening and the meal worked themselves to perfect conclusion with dessert. Both of us migrated to the maple flan choice. I am a sucker for deep-fried sage leaves, so this topping for the flan, along with maple-glazed walnuts, sang to me. The flan and coffee just capped off the meal with bliss. Pastry chef and wife Michelle Poteaux-Garbee knows what she's doing (I hear that her specialty, a spiced pear and blue panna cotta is also out of this world)!!

C'est parfait!!! That's all there is to say. Bastille was perfect meal - value, selection quality, flavor, charming ambiance, perfect.

1 comment:

Manimal said...

Great review! I agree 100%. Now you're making me hungry for Bastile!