Open for 5 years, Les Deux Canailles is a small place with about 10 tables lining two sides of a rectangular room. They offer nice pillows for back support for those sitting on the benches along the wall. Some of the kitchen is open on one end of the room. Background music along with interesting art on the walls gives the place a cozy feel. Service is friendly and helpful but the cloth napkins are woefully small. The menu offers a chef’s tasting menu or a smaller fixed price (with some choices) option. We chose the chef’s tasting. The wine list is quite small. Continue reading
Mirazur is a 2 star Michelin place on a hillside in Menton, a short train ride from Nice and within shouting distance of the Italian border. The restaurant is on the second story of a building that overlooks the water and hillside – a beautiful backdrop for the stunning food by chef Mauro Colagreco. If you’re lucky you will snag one of the tables that sit aside these windows but the interior tables also can enjoy the view, it just seemed less dramatic. The first floor has a small bit of kitchen, bathrooms and some more lounge type seating where you can enjoy coffee or after dinner drinks if you prefer. Buenos Aires born Chef Mauro Colagreco opened Mirazur in 2006 and received his first Michelin star just one year later. The second star was awarded in 2012. They are open for lunch and dinner but do close for a winter break. They offer a number of different tastings varying the number of courses included and you select which you want when you make your reservation. Service was attentive and friendly. Continue reading
Le Chantecler is located in the elegant Le Negresco Hotel. It is an ornate dining room off the heavily decorated lobby and was recently re-done in shades of pink and green. As the name means “rooster” there are many examples of rooster art in the room. Only 16 tables are very well spaced in the quiet and well lit room. They offer a small a la carte menu as well as several tasting menus. We chose the Discovery Menu which is a surprise but they were nice enough to provide me with a printed menu at the end of the evening. Service is formal and old school (ladies menus have no prices) but friendly and anxious meet your every need. Pacing was spread out, so if you’re in a rush definitely let them know. The wine list is a huge book but didn’t seem to have that many choices but it was possible to get affordable local bottles of wine.
Amuse bouche included cauliflower and garlic on a cheese biscuit (nice bite, biscuit was great), black pudding and apple in crust (okay) and foie gras on toast (good).
Bread service included parmesan, cranberry and multi-seed. The parmesan roll was a bit dry and not as buttery as it looked. The multi seed had a very crisp exterior and lots of seed flavors. The cranberry was my favorite with a dense chewy interior studded with tart berries and a nice exterior.
The last amuse bouche was a mushroom ravioli with sage which was interestingly served at room temperature. The pasta was fairly thick which made it seem tough. It had only mild flavor.
Our Discovery Menu tasting started with a new dish: scallops two ways, roasted with mashed Jerusalem artichoke and salsify and as carpaccio with citrus jelly. The carpaccio was cold with chilies, vegetables, sliced egg and French caviar. The caviar was briny and the jelly dots mildly flavored. The scallop slices were tender and sweet. The toasted scallop was warm with sea beans on top and Jerusalem artichoke purée under and around it. The two tastes worked well together and this one was my favorite of the 2 preparations.
Dover Sole with spinach was served with glazed salfify. The fish was a tad overcooked but the salsify was quite nice and perfectly cooked. This was a mild dish and not in the winner column.
Another new dish was on our menu, Roasted Mallard duck with honey, spices and winter vegetables. It was served nicely rare with the honey giving it a fragrant perfume. Crispy quince and Swede (yellow/orange turnips) were served with the tasty bird. The breast meat was among the best I’ve had with not a hint of livery taste. The turnips were predictably bitter but the quince was a nicely sweet foil for it. This was a great dish.
A selection from the Matured cheeses by Mr. Bordier in Saint-Malo was next. Our choices were accompanied by a delicious grapefruit/orange marmalade. It really accented the cheeses well and made the course special.
Kaki fruit (like a persimmon) perfumed with Madagascar vanilla, an olive oil biscuit, nuts and honey made up the first dessert. The ice cream was nicely smooth and the fruit and honey were a sufficient sweet fix but it didn’t rate a yum.
The second dessert was a Solliés (near Marseille) fig that had been roasted with earl grey and served with 67% dark chocolate cream and crunchy walnuts. It was nice but not a strongly flavored fig. The crunchy ring it was perched on, and filled with chocolate ganache, was actually the better part of the dish.
Lest you leave unsatisfied the dessert cart then arrives at your table. Filled with chocolates, fruit, nut, chewy, crisp and creamy options. We tried a sampling but none stood out in memory, although all were beautifully presented.
Nodoguro is a small place where Chef Ryan Roadhouse has served cuisine inspired by Japanese cooking for 3 years. They changed locations about a year and a half ago. It is a tasting menu only and reservations are by pre-purchase tickets. They have a regular tasting menu as well as theme based tastings and a SupaHardcore menu, which we were lucky enough to snag reservations for, but each night there is just one tasting served. The tasting menus change depending on what chef finds freshest and best to work with it, thus we were not surprised to meet some other diners who had been to the place numerous times. The set up is a U-shaped wooden bar that seats about 16 with a prep table in the middle and a door adjoining to the major part of the kitchen. Continue reading
Apizza Scholls is a medium-sized place with bare wood tables and walls. Tables are well spaced with one wall having a bench seat spanning several tables. They also have some bar stools facing the kitchen. It is expectedly casual with friendly helpful service. Various pieces of art decorate the walls, some for sale. This is pizza only spot at lunch and pies have a limit of 3 toppings overall and a 2 meat limit. All pies are 11″ and are not available as a half and half. There are a couple of salads available and one dessert, an ice cream sandwich. The crusts are nicely raised on the edge with a good chew to the dough and while thin in the middle, they are able to stay crisp throughout. Continue reading
Castagna has been in business for 19 years with the kitchen under the control of Justin Woodward for the last 6 years, who has been nominated for numerous awards. They offer 2 tastings with optional wine pairings or you can order from their reasonably priced wine list. The tables are nicely spaced with soft background music and fairly low lighting. It is a pretty small place but located right next door is their sister restaurant offering more casual fare from the same kitchen. Service is terrific and super friendly and the food is wonderful and memorable for the lovely aftertaste of most of the courses. Be prepared to have numerous courses not on the menu, but all small so portioning is not a problem even with the larger tasting. Continue reading
Coquine is a tiny spot with about 9 bare wood tables. Located on a street corner, two sides have windows to let in natural light but it’s a bright spot either way. We were there at lunch when they offer a daily lunch special of soup, salad and choice of sandwich or for two people it includes a half bottle of wine and cookies, as well as offering an a la carte menu. The special does get slightly smaller portions than ordering a la carte but it’s the right amount so you don’t leave hungry or stuffed. The wine list is fairly limited at lunch but I understand it’s bigger at dinner. It’s a friendly and casual spot but expect a wait. They have a list when you enter and the tables turned over fairly often. A large bar dominates the room but it is for service not seating. Continue reading