Saturday, August 21, 2010

L'Espalier: Restaurant Week lunch time again

For the third consecutive Restaurant Week, LC Sarah and I became ladies who lunch at L'Espalier.

As always, it was delightful, not least for the fact that lunch involving white tablecloths and smartly be-suited waitstaff is eminently more civilized than a sandwich at one's desk and an afternoon spent dislodging cheese from one's keyboard.

And extra points for good record-keeping; without prompting, our waiter acknowledged Sarah's food allergies, information gained from previous visits. I wish more restaurants were this diligent.

L'Espalier's Restaurant Week lunch menu this time was not too different from our previous visits — soup or salad; pork or salmon; dessert of chocolate or fruit — but that isn't a bad thing. There are still seasonal elements, and new flavor combinations, that make each meal new.

Sarah's on a gazpacho kick, so she had to get that. It came with a saffron-infused crème fraiche and airy cucumber foam.

I ordered the salad, and ... I just realized something. The menu described it as:

And while it definitely had perfectly ripe melon, and fresh greens in a light yet creamy dressing that nicely complemented the shrimp, the dish was squidless. Last-minute change of plan or plating oversight?

As she has at the previous two L'Espalier lunches, Sarah ordered the burger, which came topped with pulled pork and Roaring 40s cheese (not oozingly melted this time, but rather in a satisfying chunk):

As I have at the previous two lunches, I went for the pork. This time it was belly, nicely varied in texture — crispy, meaty, fatty — which paired well with sharp pickled turnip and slightly bitter greens.

Oh, and with insanely lovely creamed corn, buttery and sweet, cooked only lightly so it still had a just-off-the-cob color and crunch.

And then dessert. Sarah chose the napoleon, which came deconstructed: chocolate and espresso mousse skewered with a wedge of puff pastry and finished with a swirl of intense blueberry.

My dessert looked almost exactly like Sarah's dessert from our last Restaurant Week lunch at L'Espalier.

That was then:

This is now:

Last time, it was blood orange, guava, lychee; this time, coconut, peach, lychee. Apparently their lychee supplier is persuasive.

So the question is: What happens next Restaurant Week? Back to L'Espalier for salad and pork, soup and burger, chocolate and lychee?

All signs point to well, duh.

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