Saturday, January 10, 2009

Restaurant Review: Bouchon, Yountville.

The Mrs. and I were looking for some New Year's Eve's plans before the East Coast ball drop back on the TV in Calistoga. We have been fortunate to meet a very talented chef from our church in Napa, who just so happens to be Chef de Cuisines at Bouchon. Chef Tessier has spent over 10 years with the Thomas Kellar Group, and is a recent east coast transfer from Per Se.

Welcome to Bouchon in Yountville, by night. Bouchon is a French bistro concept restaurant with two locations; the other in Las Vegas of all places. The bouchon-style restaurant originated in Lyon, France. With the preparation of simple food and specifically, preparation of all parts of the pig, these restaurants became very popular and created a signature cuisine that has titled Lyon as the gastronomic capital of France. With a little Napa flair, Bouchon is a bit different, but a great representation of the French bistro at its best.
I was excited and ready to send 2008 out with a food bang!The Mrs. was just as excited and we decided to tackle the prix fixe 5-course New Year's Eve dinner and wine pairing menu. This was the best decision of 2008, after deciding to live in France for 5-months, deciding to move to Napa to go to culinary school, and getting married.

1st Course: Nothing says french bistro like a crepe! Crepe a l'Esturgeon Fume (Smoked sturgeon crepe with caviar creme). To wash it down, a nice glass of Pierre Peters, Brut Cuvee Reserve, Grand Cru, Blanc de Blancs MV. That means Champagne!
2nd Course: The Shellfish Platter. Plateau de Fruits de Mer (East and West Coast oysters, Dungeness crab, and bouchots mussels). Bouchon serves three traditional sauces with this platter. They include mignonette sauce, cocktail sauce, and its signature mustard-mayonnaise sauce. A side of pumpernickel bread accompanied the platter and the dry Sancerre, Pastou, Les Boucalts '07 complimented nicely. This was the Mrs. first ever oyster. Needless to say, that and the little mollusks made their way to my plate after she tried one of each. I give her an A+ for effort.
Chef Tessier also sent us out the Potage de Pommes et Celeri-Rave (Roasted apple and celery root soup with foie gras mousse). Out came a Savennieres, Domaine Laffourcade '06 as well. Merci beau coup Chef.
This isn't on the prix fixe course menu, but our church friend Tiffany, who is a cook that was working in the kitchen that night, whipped us up some apple-sauteed foie gras with endive salad and blood orange. My recent adventures in Toulouse, the duck and foie gras capital of France, has left a taste for this delicacy that I was more than happy to accept from the kitchen!
3rd Course: The Boudin de Coquilles St. Jacques aux Truffes Noirs (Maine sea scallops and black truffle boudin with lobster knuckles, brussel sprout leaves, and lobster-truffle consomme). This was the signature entree of the evening and its was mighty tasty. This broth was rich and was worth its weight in wine. Oh yeah, the wine! A Marsannay Rouge, Joseph Roty '04. Very similar to a new world California Pinot Noir.

3rd Course: The meat course! Not just any meat though, Pigioneaux a la Mousse de Marrons (Roasted squab with chestnut mousse, lardons, braised red cabbage, and honey glazed cranberries with natural jus). A Crozes-Hermitage, Alain Graillot '06 from the Northern Rhone Valley washed down this beauty on a plate.
4th Course. Whew! We were slowing down fast, but two plates remained. A french dinner would not be complete without, what else, cheese! Here is some Brillat Savarin with poached prunes, petite lettuces and candied hazelnuts. Out came the Bordeaux-sweetness in a bottle, Sauternes, compliments of another friend, the house manager Brian. We are meeting the right people in the valley for sure! Not to be outdone, a Ramos Pinto "Quinta de Bom Retiro" 20 year-old Tawny Port was designated as our cheese pairing. Do we have any room for dessert?

5th Course: Of course we do! A Bouche de Noel. A cake designed to look like a log with chocolate icing layers, chocolate shavings, and mushrooms made out of sugar meringue. A log of Yuletide cheer if I do say so.
Bonne Annee from Bouchon and the Walnofer's! We had a great and life changing 2008, and can only wait in amazement for the joys of 2009!


Anonymous said...

What a dream world you two live in and I hope you never have to wake up from it, Happy New Year! The Jessup's

Anonymous said...

Scott, who are your parent's, grandparent's etc. Joe Walnofer. email me @

ulterior epicure said...

Best of luck on your culinary adventures, Scott. It's nice to see such an enthusiasm. I recently visited Bouchon. the ulterior epicure