Sunday, March 27, 2011
If you're going to name your restaurant, Le Saint Amour, which when translated through Google Translate means "holy love", that's a lot to live up to. Given that, I have to say that I did enjoy the media dinner set up by Daniela Galarza of Bread and Butter PR on behalf of Owners, Chef Bruno Herve-Commereuc and his wife, Florence.
Though this was my first time at Le Saint Amour, I actually did dine once at Angelique Cafe when it was previously owned by the couple and really enjoyed the food and my dining experience. With such a positive memory, I was looking forward to my meal.
Arriving a little late, everything was in full swing, but they did manage to serve me one Kumamoto Oyster with Champagne Mignonette before they brought out the first course. Apparently, Le Saint Amour works with a seafood sommelier whose specialty is with oysters and he personally selected the oysters that we had that evening. It was a nice oceany-briny-fresh way to begin the meal.
Soon the Charcuterie Plate came which had Country Pate, Duck Rilette, Galantine avec Pistachio, Toulouse Pork Sausage and Moroccan Merguez. Chef Bruno did come out to talk a little bit about the charcuterie which he makes in-house, but it was a little too noisy to hear him. Regardless, I enjoyed sampling the different ones that were presented to us with my favorite ones being the Galantine avec Pistachio and the Duck Rilette.
The next dish to arrive at our table were the Escargots en Croute. How could you say no to snails baked in garlic and parsley butter? I certainly couldn't. The pastry itself was flaky and buttery and breaking into the crust to get at the garlicky and buttery snails put a smile on my face.
After enjoying our escargots, we were served Moules Marinières, which are mussels cooked with white wine and shallots, accompanied by crispy French fries. The mussels were prepared just right, but what did it for me was the broth. I happily either sopped bread or dipped the fries in it.
Following the mussels came the Merguez, a baby carrot salad with couscous and a Moroccan lamb sausage. I liked that salad wasn't over-dressed and the peppery arugula was a nice complement to the sausage which had a little kick to it. The couscous also added a tasty, starchy texture to the dish.
Speaking of sausage, we had a quite a few of those in the Choucroute Saint Amour which had lyonnais sausage, toulouse sausage, boudin noir and braised cabbage. Boudin noir, if you didn't know, is blood sausage and not my cup of tea, but I did enjoy partaking of the other two and even more so, when eaten with the sour cabbage.
Also on the menu was their Loup de Mer, a sauteed seabass with artichokes, baby Savoy spinach, lemon, caper and brown butter. I only had a small taste, but other than wanting a crispier fish skin, I liked the combination of the tart, piquant and buttery flavors of the sauce.
The last savory dish to arrive was the Boeuf Bourguignon which were red wine braised beef cheeks, carrots, and gnocchi. This was my favorite dish of the night. The beef was meltingly tender and it's a comfort food that I'd want to have even if I didn't need comforting. Unfortunately, I didn't get a photo of it, but you can see what it looks like here.
Our meal ended with two desserts. First was the Fondant au Chocolat with a warm chocolate cake, banana ice cream and caramel sauce. My last two chocolate cake desserts at other restaurants weren't anything to write home about, so I was happy to finally get this moist chocolate cake which went well with the salted caramel sauce and banana ice cream.
Although I did enjoy the Fondant au Chocolat, my heart definitely belonged to the Mousse au Citron which was a blood orange granita with tangerine ice cream and lemon mousse. With a meal that was meat and butter-intensive, this dessert was refreshing on my palate and the icy tartness was much appreciated.
Overall, this was a lovely meal and when Chef Herve and Florence talked about their restaurant and food, their love for what they do was very evident. I've always found that good food always start with love and that's very much evident at Le Saint Amour.
Le Saint Amour
9725 culver bld
Culver City, CA 90232