June 22, 2014

Another Simple birthday

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After the pre-birthday dinner last night, tonight it was time to keep it small and just spend it with the parental units.  For the third year in a row, I chose to dine at STAY for this occasion, as the simple yet delicious food and the low-key atmosphere is exactly what I'm looking for.

It's my fourth visit, and still I chose not to do one of their several set menus.  For a simple meal, I am happy to do à la carte and get a little more of what I wanted.  Mom of course did the same, and dear old dad picked the cheapest set menu despite our objections - not wanting to spend too much of his son's money.

As usual there was a trio of bites as our amuses bouches:
Chicken with chicken mousse coating

Salmon with sour cream

Tomato with sun-dried tomato and crisps

We were drinking a bottle of red Burg tonight, so I thought it would be appropriate to pick dishes with Burgundian flavors.

Fricassee of Burgundy snails, fregola, watercress and confit tomato - in keeping with tradition, I ordered fregola as the starter since... I don't know, I must have a thing for it.  I just love biting on it with my teeth.  I thought the watercress sauce was really delicious, and the confit tomatoes added a little tanginess.  The escargots were fine.  Flavors here seemed traditional at first glance, yet there were little twists.

Hokkaido scallops "meurette style", red wine, quail eggs, asparagus and bacon - I loooove meurette, so when I saw that the scallops were being done this way, it seemed to be a no-brainer.  And of course, the flavors match the wine perfectly!

Needless to say, the execution of the scallops was flawless.  The croûtons were great, and I would have liked to have a weee bit more lardons.  Otherwise this was perfect.  What I didn't do tonight was wipe the bowl clean with bread like I did last time...

We also shared two sides of vegetables:
Green asparagus

Creamy cabbage and bacon

100% Tahitian vanilla mille-feuille, caramelized vanilla puff pastry, vanilla ice cream - I couldn't end the evening without a little something sweet, so I asked for this. These guys are one of the only places - maybe the only place - in town that use Tahitian vanilla, so I just had to have some.  Pretty yum.

Mignardises came in the form of vanilla cream puffs and chocolate truffles.  Not bad.

Birthday dinner calls for a birth vintage wine, and this year I decided to splurge a little and open up something a little nicer compared to the last two years...

1970 DRC Richebourg - I had low expectations of this bottle, given that the level was a little low at 4 c.m., but this was a pleasant surprise.  Nose was a little floral at first, with a little leather and animal notes, and definitely a little acidity on the palate.  Opened up more after 30 minutes, showing very lovely fruit and a little more sweetness.  Very elegant and lovely.

This was a very good evening.  Mom really liked both of her dishes - which, incidentally, were recommendations from moi...  She's always had hit or miss experiences with Robuchon, and tonight really showed her that as far as she's concerned, we don't need to go back there.

The service was also excellent tonight.  The manager (he looked the part, at least) took great care in extracting the cork, and even though he did eventually break it, he was so careful that no fragment fell into the bottle.

At the end of the evening, when I noticed that they hadn't charged me corkage, I approached them and asked them to put it on the bill.  They refused.  The reason?  Despite having only been there on three previous occasions, the restaurant had a profile on me.  They realized that I had visited the restaurant on the same day for three years in a row, and figured it was for an occasion such as a birthday... and wanted to thank me for my patronage and loyalty.  Now THAT is great service!

Guess where I'm going for my birthday next year?

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