Review - October 5, 2006 - Joanne

Bouchon

Bouchon

Yountville, CA
Visited September 20, 2006
Lunch
This is perhaps our 5th or 6th visit to Bouchon over the years. What surprised us was that it was not tired. The dishes were fresh and reflected the deft hands of the kitchen staff in creating delicious and somewhat comforting French bistro food.

They always have specials up on the board but the menu is pretty comprehensive in itself. In the past the boudin, rilletes aux deux saumons (one of my favorites), duck confit (missing on the menu today), assiette de charcuterie and any fruits de mer have always been excellent. It’s a great restaurant if you are trying to please a lot of tastes (as long as they are not vegetarians).

Bouchon Place Setting
Bouchon is a comfortable somewhat casual atmosphere which tends to the noisy with only a few quieter tables outside facing the street (so make sure to request one well in advance). The bar is well stocked and has a four or five stools for lone dining. In general Bouchon is always smaller than I remember it – with fewer tables and those along the banquette packed rather closely together and the chairs aren’t the most comfortable. It’s a lively spot and the food was great. Service was a bit spotty but it was clearly a newer wait staff trying out the lunch rush. We’ll be back again. Recommended.

What we ordered:

Poitrine de Porc Braisee
Poitrine de Porc Braisée: braised pork belly with French green lentils, pickled carrots & pork jus
This was great. The jus was so good you could have licked the plate. Like a hunk of melting bacon. The lentils and carrots were sitting in the jus which had a distinct hint of thyme.

Nonats Frites
Nonats Frites: Small young fish battered and fried and served with lemon aioli
This is real nose to tail eating! From the two tiny black eyes to the tailfins these little crispy morsels disappeared in a flash. No hint of bones or scales just a hint of fish after the crunch. They really didn’t need the aioli which was lemony and garlicy and a bit heavy but nicely topped with lemon zest and fried parsley.

Croque Madam
Croque Madame: toasted ham & cheese sandwich on brioche with a fried egg & mornay sauce served with French fries
We ordered this for young monsieur sans egg. A huge plate of fries with a small square sandwich of soft toasted brioche covered in mornay sauce. You needed a fork and knife to eat it – almost like French toast with ham and cheese in the center. Good but very heavy.

Gnocchi a la Parisienne
Gnocchi a la Parisienne: sautéed gnocchi with a ragout of summer vegetables, beurre noisette & sage.

I was rightly informed by our waiter that the gnocchi was Alsatian style – and did not contain potato it’s made with pate de choux. This amazing dish might alone be worth the trip over the mountain – I’ll certainly have a go at making it from the Bouchon cookbook. The summer vegetables included cherry tomatoes and summer squash and crispy mushrooms (chanterelles?). Yum.
Interior at Bouchon

Steak Frites
Steak Frites: pan-seared prime flatiron served with maitre d’hotel butter and French fries.
Another classic “Plats Principaux” from Bouchon. Maybe it was just the bite I was given but you don’t realize how good shallots can be until you have them like this on steak. Again a huge mound of crispy golden frites.

Fromage
Fromage: served with honeycomb –
3pc tasting portion:
Chablis Chalencay (cow), Valencay (goat) and Chabichou du Poitou (goat)

All arrived in perfect pristine shape – as they should. Accompaniments were a smear of honeycomb, 1 perfectly ripe green fig and a four beautiful thinly sliced apple pieces. Four slices of bread – 2 fruit/2 walnut. The Chablis Chalencay tasted like the warm animal it came from and was slightly softening. My only complaint would be that all the cheeses could have been a slight bit less cold. Other choices I didn’t make: Bleu D’Auvergne, Perail and Ossau Vieille Cave.

Breads
Lemonade
Very clear and a bit on the sweeter side but good.

2002 Edmund Cornu Ladoix Les Carrieres
2002 Edmund Cornu Ladoix Les Carrières
Nose of prepared mustard with a hint of pickles. Center is tart and bright - cranberry with coriander. Tight with good acids. Rosenthal Wine Merchants. $76/btl. 2-3

The Menu we ordered from:

Menu _ Plat Principaux

Menu - Fromages, Desserts...

The Menu on Bouchon's website



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