So, today is Tom's and my wedding anniversary. We eloped 6 years ago in Chester, Vermont, married by an octogenarian retired academic economist with our innkeepers and photographer as our witnesses. It was an awesome day, starting with a day at the spa, then marrying my best friend and favorite person on the planet, and then having a giggling, tipsy, so-happy-it-was-practically-nauseating dinner at the hotel next door to our inn. I remember walking back to our room in my stocking feet that night, with my too-high heels in my hand, arm in arm with my new husband.
Last year, for our fifth anniversary, we went on vacation to San Francisco and Northern CA (Napa Valley, Anderson Valley, Mendocino). On the 5th last year, we ate dinner at super swanky Gary Danko which was really amazing, but kinda over the top (not as OTT as some of our meals would be later in that trip, though.)
This year, we LIVE in NEW ORLEANS, which is so awesome that I just can't stand it. Especially now, when the weather is just straight up gorgeous and clear and crisp but still sunny and gently warm. But I digress. For dinner this year, we went to Cuvee, and had a really great meal and a wonderful time. I'd been curious about the place for a while now, and when Groupon offered a deal a few weeks ago, I snapped it up.
We drove in and miraculously found a place to park on the same block of Magazine as the restaurant (between Poydras and Girod). We each started with a Sazerac- it had been a while, actually, since I'd had one, and this one was EXCELLENT- very smooth but flavorful. Dangerously delicious!
We had an amuse bouche of duck liver and goat cheese on a toast point with a sour orange marmalade. The marmalade was such a decisive counterpoint to the unctuousness of the duck liver, which had been already lightened up by the tangy goat cheese. It was subtle, but appreciated.
I had the diver scallops appetizer special- it was served over a golden beet puree with thin slices of red beet on top, accompanied by fennel. Really excellent- the textures were very complimentary to each other, and the different types of sweetness of the scallops, the beets, and even the fennel was really a joy to experience. Tom started with their soup special, a duck and sausage gumbo. Amazing roux and hits of spice, as well as quality meat ingredients.
Our two entrees were polar opposites of each other. Tom had the "lemon fish" with grapefruit as the accompanying acid as well as a complex but simply flavored pilaf with various vergetables. I had the duck. Rare smoked breast slices, an entire confit leg, butternut squash risotto, and a small piece of beautifully seared fois gras. It couldn't have been richer or more different than the clean, bright flavors of Tom's fish. It was no joke of a dish, and I enjoyed it a LOT. (though I did think at one point it was trying to kill me with a coronary or the gout.)
Cuvee also had a pretty reasonable list of wines by the glass; I cannot even pretend like I can remember the names of the wines, but I had a French Sauvignon Blanc with my scallops and a French Pinot Noir with my duck. I thought I chose pretty well, but what the hell do I know? I did enjoy my pairings though.
For dessert we shared the special they had- roasted pineapple sorbet with a bruleed pineapple ring (which was just so genius I can't believe this is the first time I've ever come across it) and some shortbread. Very simple but incredibly flavorful- the perfect way to end a delicious meal by not overdoing it or by being disappointed at the last course. One thing that I wasn't wild about: we ordered a decaf cappuccino, but they were out of decaf espresso coffee, so we accepted our server's suggestion for a cafe au lait made with decaf coffee. Eh... there's a reason I don't tend to drink brewed decaf coffee- wasn't very good. But other than that, a really great experience.
Service was excellent, attentive without hovering. We sat between two large-ish (5 or 6) parties of dudes. One party was a younger group, ordering Jack & Cokes, and enjoying the food and some good conversation. The other party was like a business dinner and they were real annoying. First of all, one guy kept taking calls on his cell and they just didn't seem to be having much fun or enjoying the food, which I hate to see. But not obnoxious, really, except for the cell phone shenanigans.
Yay, Cuvee! Yay, Tom! Yay, October 5! Yay.