Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Writing overtaken by nommm…

I make money as a food writer, so my Writerly Wednesday is will be infused with the awesomeness of dinner tonight.

Y'all get a restaurant review. J

We went to Natalie's in Camden, Maine tonight.

The short version:




It's been a few years since I've been to a real gourmet restaurant, and my one big request for this vacation was to go out to a fancy restaurant. My treat.

If you watch Food TV or read food magazines, then you know it's almost a no-brainer to go with the chef's sampling dinner.

Perfect choice.

Bread course included the best sourdough we've ever had, along with a great multigrain bread. The bread had a nice chew and crumb and was served with a butter salted with Maine sea salt.

Our server was excellent, and it was clear that he was paying attention to us in our conversation and beyond. The first hint of this was when he offered us more bread – and then brought us a whole loaf of it that we used to sop up the amazing dressings and sauce from the following courses.

Our first course was a mushroom bisque with a porcini garnish. It was served in the equivalent of a double shot glass, but with a cool bow and bend to the sides. It was so rich that there didn't need to be more; it was all I could do not to lick out the soup that coated the sides.

The next course was raw oysters served with tarragon butter with mini-salads of microgreens. The oysters were perfect, meaty and the microgreens had a nice bite to them with a slight bit of balsamic dressing them up.

After the perfect oysters, we had marinated salmon with microgreens and poached quail eggs. I hate to be redundant, but: perfect. The salmon could be cut with the fork, it was so tender. It's texture melted on my mouth, and the quail eggs, microgreens, fresh pepper really complimented it.

Soft poached eggs followed the salmon. They were silky, smooth, and dressed with another garnish of porcini mushroom with a broth and Worcestershire sauce. As our server explained, soft poached eggs are a big trend in the gourmet world. No surprise. It was quite the luxurious texture to go with the richness of the broth, sauce, and porcini.

Tangerine sherbet cleansed our pallets before the main entrée. Scott's comment: "I think I will dream in tangerine." The clementines we had back in the hotel were weeping in shame compared to the sherbet.

Throughout the meal, our server chatted with us about various food and wine topics. We asked for a bottle of wine that would go with the meal. The chef recommended a 2007 California Chardonnay that was not heavily oaked. I love Chardonnay, and it was a perfect match for all the food. However, Scott is not a big fan of Chardonnay, and he had mentioned in passing to our waiter that he preferred red wine. With the dinner, the waiter brought over a steak knife for Scott and a fresh glass of Pinot Noir.

That meant different entrées. Which was quite the surprise because we figured we'd both have exactly the same thing – as we had for the other courses. Scott also had mentioned a few times when we were looking at the menu that he was looking forward to duck. Well, that's what he got. Me, I got monkfish cheeks with scallions and porcini mushrooms. We both found our dinners heavenly. I did taste his and it was phenomenal, melt-in-your-mouth-while-still-having-crunchy-skin excellence. As for my monkfish cheeks… I love fish, I never knew how much one could potentially love fish until that moment, though. It also had this soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture but also had a good chew on it. It was lightly crusted and seasoned, napped in rich broth, contrasting with the crunch of the scallions and chewiness of the mushrooms.

Ok, I have to repeat:




And then there was dessert.

Soufflé. Vanilla crème soufflé.

Just sayin', Julia Child would be proud.

We finished up with espresso and coffee – and homemade chocolate truffles sweetened the bill.

Ok, so it was a LOT of money… so much, I'm not even writing it here.

But it was worth every penny.

If you're in Camden, Maine – save your money so you can spend it at Natalie's. Really!


A Novel Friend © 2008 by para Você | Re-design Sweet Baby Girl