second student dinner

So I gotta admit, our first student dinner back in Basic was far from becoming a mind-blowing gastronomic experience.  Our meal was mediocre at best.  This time around, the school raised the bar and treated us to a fine meal at a fine little restaurant run by Chef Philippe Pentecôte, Le Petit Bordelais.  As the name suggests, the establishment is indeed tres petit.  In fact, there was less than 30 of us and we had to book the entire restaurant!

As an aperitif, we sipped on champagne accompanied with a little amuse-bouche, delightful little gougeres and a crab salad with chive cream. 

First course came shortly after, which turned out to be the only disappointing factor of the night, since as you all know, I’m not fond of foie gras… at all =P  And not to mention the plating was also a bit… shall we say, unappetizing?

The highlight of the evening was undoubtably the second course: roasted yellow bass filet served with homemade squid ink pasta and a creamy clam sauce.  Everything about this dish was impeccable… the yellow bass was roasted perfectly with an extra crispy skin (which still remains a mystery to me of how they do this in the restaurants), the squid ink pasta was cooked wonderfully al dente, and the surprisingly light yet creamy clam sauce made this an extremely balanced yet flavorful dish.

Chef Pentecôte paired this dish with an excellent white wine, which I absolutely fell in love with… wine and food pairing has always been a fuzzy area for me, but I have found the perfect white wine to serve with fruits de mer!  I emailed Chef Pentecôte for the name and learned that the wine is actually a blend of semillon, sauvignon and muscadelle grapes, harvested in the Entre Deux Mers region of Bordeaux and produced by Château Laubarit, year 2007.  Of course I went to practically every wine store in my neighborhood in search of this wine, but so far, I’ve had no such luck.  Perhaps I need to contact the owner and order directly from the producer as does Chef Pentecôte?…

Third course came before I even finished my glass of Entre Deux Mers!  One look at the cut of veal filet and I almost lost my appetite ><   It seems like my stomach has always been adverse to any cuts of veal, but nose was clearly overruled by the irresistible scent of extra-fine slices of black summer truffle.  And my taste buds seemed to be convinced as well!

The veal was cooked absolutely perfectly and lying on a smooth, velvety gratin of Swiss chard, all the while floating on a finely reduced veal jus.  Now this is what French gastronomy is all about =P

For dessert, we ended on a highly sweet note, with quenelles of dark and white chocolate ganache flavored with cherries and fruit brandy… very decadent indeed =D

I have to admit, Le Petit Bordelais definitely took me by surprise and has no doubt won me over.  Rumor has it that Chef Pentecôte is up for a Michelin star this year and if it were up to me, he’d definitely have my vote ;)

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