It is a mark of the most exceptional chefs and restaurants where every last bite of a 7 course chef's tasting menu is wonderful. Dinner at L'etoile this past weekend is one of only 2 I can recall in my life that met this standard-- delicious, balanced, unique, and fresh plates from start to finish.
My fiance and I went to L'etoile to celebrate our engagement earlier that day. I had left a message the week before letting the restaurant know that I wanted to plan something special for the occasion; I was surprised to receive guidance directly from Chef/Owner Michael Brisson, and the night was remarkable at every level-- Beautiful setting in their tented patio space, a flower centerpiece facilitated by an employee who also works at Donarama flower shop (thanks Aubrey!), drinks and our pre-ordered wine bottle at the table, and of course, THE FOOD-- as mentioned above, every bite was remarkable-- the lobster and lamb mains were both perfectly cooked and seasoned, the fois gras was rich and intense and and perfectly cut by a sweet and sharp dessert wine they suggested (I never would have thought of that). They somehow made a flourless chocolate cake with the expected richness, but without the stick-to-your-mouth uncomfortable density that flourless torts often have. And I would never have predicted it in advance, but I think the asparagus with fontana cheese and prosciutto may have been both of our favorite plate of the night.
Maybe the only thing we will remember more vividly than the food was the service and attitude of all the staff-- not an ounce of the affectation or entitlement I have noted at some other top restaurants. Our server Michael was warm, approachable, and knowledgeable. The Sommelier brought us the cork at the end of the meal in case we wanted it to remember the night (we forgot it at the table! Sorry!). And throughout the night, everyone from the hostess, waitstaff, busboys came over with unsolicited and genuine big smiles to congratulate us, to me a reflection of the positive attitudes among the staff, their well-deserved pride in the restaurant, and a culture of service and respect from the top down.
We could not have chosen a better setting for our celebration; L'etoile will likely be our "go-to" for special occasions from now on. Thank you to Chef Brisson and everyone else at the restaurant for making our night so special.