Thursday, July 29, 2010

Boucherie

I tell you what, Boucherie is a class act. Last Thursday, we went to the Spirited Dinner at Boucherie- the menu sounded awesome, and there were terrific cocktails on deck (several tiki inspired ones, which is Tom's drink style of choice these days.)

However, Tom was still sick, I'd had a long day at Tales of the Cocktail, and was dehydrated, what I thought was heat exhaustion but turned out to be catching the bug that Tom still had. So we got there, trying to put on a brave face and power through the 4 (or 5?) course meal with accompanying cocktails. We got through the amuse and the first course before looking at each other miserably and leaving. I waited outside for a taxi while Tom settled up the bill- even though we hadn't eaten the whole thing, we understood we were on the hook for the meal. Had we cancelled, then there was a chance that our seats could have been sold, but we stupidly did not, and decided it would be better for us to pay $80 (each) for a meal that we did not eat in order to go home and go to bed, then to try to suffer through it to get our money's worth. Yeah, it sort of sucked, but it was our problem, and our decision.

Imagine my surprise when I got a call the following day from James Denio, the manager of Boucherie, earnestly asking if there was anything that Boucherie did wrong and wanting our feedback. At the end of the message, he extended an invitation for us to come back to the restaurant FOR A MEAL ON THEM.

This was entirely too nice. I sent an email thanking him for his thoughtfulness and explained what happened as being entirely our fault. I said we'd love to come back in, but didn't reference the obviously insane offer to have the meal on the house. Frankly, I felt a little funny about taking them up on the offer, and would likely have shied away from it, except he wrote back and explained that, in fact, after we left, a visiting couple from Boston (!!!) came in on the off chance that there might be a seat available, and there was! Ours! So they were totally psyched and James said that he wanted to make us as happy as we'd made them.

SO OK THEN! We went to Boucherie tonight, even though I'd even managed to screw up making a reservation correctly- ISTG, people, even though I'm not sick anymore, my brain has been underpowered for the past week or something. Thankfully, James graciously fixed that for me too.

We had a wonderful meal, enjoyed wonderful service, and had a really great time. I started off with one of their cocktails, the Fleur de Tease, which was a fig infused Bacardi rum mixed with Bombay Sapphire gin in a glass with a pernod absinthe rinse and lemon twist. Very forthright, but it definitely grew on me. Tom had a Brooklyn Weiss beer, which we suspected was left over from the Garrett Oliver beer dinner held here on Saturday (just 2 days after the TotC Spirited Dinner! No wonder these folks need a vacation.) Tom actually ended up tapping that keg, and he switched over to Anchor Steam, which was also on draft. I had an Austrian white (the online menu mentions a Gruner Veltiner, but I thought it was a Gewertztraminer, though I could be misremembering) to go with my entree course. This was a great recommendation from our server, Hope (who was awesome) who had suggestions for either red or white wine preferences for the duck. (A note on the wine list- the bottles are VERY reasonably priced. I got a glass, because that's all I was up for, but I think the highest priced bottle on their list was $38.)

So them's the drinks. Here's the food:

For our first course, I was in the mood for something a little different, a little lighter, than a lot of the food I've had here in New Orleans. Boucherie has some wonderful southern and cajun style food- Tom actually started with the fried boudin balls, which you can see was so delicious, I barely was able to get a picture of it before it was completely eaten.



I had the hamachi sashimi with pickled vegetables. I was really in the mood for hamachi, and the mention of the pickled vegetables intrigued me. I wasn't quite sure what to expect- a kimchee type of thing? pickled onions? cucumbers? carrots? When my beautiful, gorgeous, tender, melt in your mouth delicious hamachi came out, it was accompanied by 3 different pickled vegetables, made in house of course. There was pickled dashi, pickled papaya, and wasabi pickled kohlrabi. AMAZING. Just the perfect contrast to the lusciousness of the raw fish, both texturally and in flavor. I loved this dish- it was so simple, but painstakingly prepared with the most amazing ingredients.



While we were enjoying our first course, James brought out an order of one of their small plate specials- a torchon of fois gras with a summer sprout salad with grated truffle and sliced black truffle. The torchon was nice, very unctuous and mild in flavor (but rich in fattiness), but the star was the salad- it was earthy, salty, crunchy, delicate, yet bursting with flavor. Again, an excellent counterpoint to the buttery and decadent foie gras.

For our entrees, I had the curry leaf marinated duck breast served over a dal type lentil dish with a cucumber and mint raita. Very clean and elegant flavors. The duck itself was cooked beautifully and I loved the lentils- a nice hit of cardamom in there as well.



Tom had the smoked scallops, which were beautifully cooked, though we didn't know that we got much hint of smoke. But the scallops were delicious, and came with a macque choux that had a flavor that was familiar but we couldn't quite place right away, till Tom guessed coconut milk, which seemed right to our palates. A very subtle but distinct Thai type influence (I bet if the chef reads this he will laugh and laugh at our pedestrian taste buds. NAMING INGREDIENTS: UR DOIN IT RONG.)



We ordered dessert, which had been listed on a chalkboard in my line of sight, taunting us throughout the meal. I had the fudge farm bacon brownie with chocolate lavender ice cream on top. I know that's a lot of strong flavors- I DON'T CARE, they were all delicious! (I ordered the ice cream on top specifically, it doesn't come with it automatically.) The brownie had the bacon essence but not TOO much- I actually thought it was just made with bacon fat but I did come across a small bit of bacon in there too. Mmmm, bacon. YOU know what I'm talkin' 'bout.



Tom had the Krispy Kreme donut bread pudding which was, well, dynamite. Oddly enough, the texture was so much lighter than traditional bread pudding, although the fact that it was made from fried doughnuts made it more intense in flavor!



We left a (hopefully appropriate) tip on the table and waddled on out of there, quite happy with our night. Having such a wonderful meal on the house was great, but even more than that was the generosity of spirit and thoughtfulness of the management. Because of that, what could have been unfortunate regret of an expensive meal we had to walk out of (and cringed at when the credit card billing cycle came to a close) will now be something that was turned into an amazing night at a time when we both could- and did- enjoy it.

Good customer service always makes me feel like I'm walking on air. I never expect it, and I've never been the recipient of it to this extent, but I'm just so surprised and pleased by it. Thanks, Boucherie!

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