Last night was all sorts of incredible.
M had been teasing me for two weeks straight about a “surprise” date event. Finally, the appointed night came and he told me where we were going for dinner.
Totally unexpected. I told him, once, probably in February right around the time we moved in together, that Fleur de Lys looked really good and that I’d like to try it. He remembered!
M booked reservations more than a month in advance and 9:30 p.m. was the only available time. However, since we live two blocks away, we decided to head out around 9 and have a drink at the bar first.
The hostess and sommelier welcomed us warmly, checked our coats and sat us at the bar, but luckily, a table was ready for us immediately. My butt had barely touched the stool!
The interior is impressive – very cozy, tent-like and intimately dim (hence my pictures are all the same color). Also a little confusing because floor-to-ceiling mirrors are interspersed between lush curtain draperies so the main dining room looks like it leads to numerous smaller alcoves and seems a lot larger than it is. Our original table was between two other couples and was just a tad close to the other patrons so M asked if we could be moved to the empty corner table. The waitstaff was very obliging and soon, we were tucked into the corner enjoying slices of french baguette, crusty olive, or fig and pistachio bread spread with unsalted butter from a small plate that also had a flourish of fleur de sel for self-sprinkling.
M and I both got the 5-course menu with wine pairings. He got to pick his five dishes, I had the preselected vegetarian menu.
A complimentary amuse-bouche came almost immediately. This is where things start getting a little hazy. It was like the chef was a gastronomical magician and sent out works of Lilliputian fantasy. To the left was mozzarella and sundried heirloom tomato with tapenade on a baby brioche bun, a teeny weird and not-very-tasty frozen slushy thing, and a mini crepe. After eating the miniature bun and sipping from the itsy bitsy straw, I started feeling like a giant. In a good way.
M had a spoonful of potato salad with caviar on top and a cold tomato soup with basil cream swirl. Pretty fantastic. Then our first courses came – appetizers!
From what I remember, M ordered foie gras and duck breast torchon in a pineapple and vanilla consomme. It came with a bacon-brioche nubbin that M swooned over.
My chilled asparagus soup was silky and tasted especially good with the crispy shitake mushrooms that came on the side. I loved the eggplant caviar in the middle. It was creamy and smooth and gone in a flash.
On to the second course!
My roasted fennel was fine, but it was that complimentary little toast snack on the far right that was unbelievable. A little spicy, buttery and creamy, who knew mashed potatoes on toast could taste that good?
M’s salmon was also deliciously moist and perfect. It had panko crumbs on top and a truffle gelee round on the right. M hated the truffle thing – probably because he hates mushrooms so I ate it. I also accidentally fed him a bite of my main which was drowned in truffles and he looked about to throw up.
Speaking of main entrees…
The poached egg on my veggie-truffle-madness dish was ridiculously soft. And the dish itself? I don’t think, actually I know I haven’t, ever eaten that many truffles in my life. It was splendid.
M got coffee-rubbed buffalo in some sort of sauce with grilled figs and a cornbread madeleine. He loved everything but the figs, so I made them disappear. Win!
At this point, I was getting very full and very giggly. I forgot to mention that with every course we were getting liberal pours of wine. Very liberal indeed. Whites, rieslngs, pinot noirs etc…combined with the excellent food, I was a giggly, happy girl. But the night was young yet.
M’s 5-course included a cheese course, which was fun. Then desserts came. My raspberry gratin and vanilla ice cream came with a little chocolate crisp garnished with a chocolate ganache mouse. I loved it.
M had the apple tart and a very dark chocolate cake. I think I may have mentioned during dessert that I wanted to cry because the waistband of my dress was cutting me in half, but I still wanted to eat more.
The waiter must have been psychic because he obliged me by bringing complimentary dessert petits fours. I rallied. The dark caramel tart was my favorite.
After another glass of wine – well, apple brandy for M and Sauterne for me – it was time to go.
It was also 12:30 a.m. We had been wining and dining for over 3 hours. And were the last people in the restaurant. There really are almost no words to describe what a night it was. Completely magic. Delicious and intricately interesting food, fun and sassy side dishes, lots of wine and beautiful desserts, all in the lovely and witty company of my boyfriend.
Thank you M*.
*Note the mustache. I think “M” now stands for “Mustachio” – a mustached Romeo.