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Le Bailliage du Greater Washington, DC Chapter

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Marcel’s - Washington’s Premier Restaurant de l’Amour, A Post-Valentine’s Day Aphrodisiac Rendezvous

February 18, 2015

By Claudette Veronica Ferron, Vice Chargée de Presse, Bailliage of Greater Washington, D.C.

Il a été  l’amour à la première bouchée – it was love at first bite at Chef Robert Weidmaier’s Marcel’s for the Great Washington D.C. Bailliage’s post-Valentine’s Day  aphrodisiac rendezvous. Returning to one of their favorite lovers’ epicurean delights, Bailliage members and guests were lavished with the exquisite foods of love.  Ensconced in the quiet elegance of Marcel’s newly renovated dining room the Bailliage experienced a dining intimacy rarely afforded restaurant guests. Despite suffering one of the hazards of near arctic winter weather, demonstrating a deep regard for La Chaine des Rotisseurs, Chef Weidmaier closed the restaurant to all but Bailliage members and guests, and a handful of his own personal friends.  With an extraordinary team of culinary artisans by his side Chef Weidmaier employed his refined gift for transforming exceptional ingredients into a ravishing experience.

Beginning his epicurean seduction the Chef enticed diners with exquisite canapés during an intimate reception as he titillated palates with sensual bites of scallop crudo with perky apple julienne, nori, and yuzu vinaigrette; seduced us with a velvety roasted chestnut soup, with a tempting truffle cream; enthralled us with a naughty New Zealand langoustine in a playful vanilla citrus emulsion; and charmed us with an illicit Torchon de Foie Gras on a brioche pillow with fresh pear and a hint of nutmeg.  Pairing these morsels with a lively J. de Telmont Brut N. V. (Champagne, France), procured for the Bailliage from by our Vice Echanson, Ellen Kirsh, Chef Wiedmaier completed his flirtation with diners eager appetites.

Moving gracefully to the grande affair de la nuit, the Chef continued the gastronomic romance with a momentary dalliance.  An amatory amuse bouche of a Kusshi Oyster duo with a champagne mignonette and champagne sabayon was enlivened with a second kiss of the joyous J. de Telmont Brut N. V.  Then plunging into the first course, guests were embraced by a rapturous uni flan with butter poached Maine lobster and  alluring uni crème fraiche and Osetra caviar, wooed by a  young and impetus 2012 Olivier LeFlaive Meursault (Burgundy, France), hazelnut veiled Chardonnay. The second course intensified the taste-filled tango with voluptuous green lip mussels, spinach and earthy hedgehog mushrooms, and a virile Vermouth essence, paired with a round and amorous, 2012 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling, Kabinett Halbtrocken (Mosel, Germany). A rich breast of squab with caramelized fig, chai celery root puree, and brandied squab jus, paired with a critically acclaimed 2012 Bergstrom Pinot Noir, Bergstrom Vineyard (Dundee Hills, Oregon), heightened the experience of the third course, with its intense and penetrating flavor profile. The fourth course followed, carefully continuing the culinary crescendo towards contentment.  Silkily sanguine loin of Cervena venison, with luscious lavender parsnips purée and opulent Merlot beetroot venison jus, consorting with a 2000 Chateau Yon-Figeac, St. Emilion Grande Cru (Classe, France), a medium-bodied, deep berry wine with licorice notes, was a sumptuous provocateur to the climatic culmination of the meal. 

However, an exposé on the exquisite dinner would be incomplete without spotlighting the extraordinary alternative dishes offered to diners with food restrictions.   Succulent, perfectly grilled tuna with herbaceous edamame and a soy sauce reduction with caviar, and a lustful loin of seared halibut with a lavender perfumed purple potato cream, truffled potato purée, chai burre blanc and whimsical shattered mushrooms, unashamedly replaced the squab and venison courses.

Finally the rapturous  feast was consummated with a the ultimate aphrodisiac dessert  -- a sinful Chocolate Mousse Tower, with a flirtatious  raspberry and passion fruit coulis, seduced  by a 2011 Domaine La Tour Vielle Banyuls Rimage (Languedoc-Roussillon, France), immodestly fermented with spirits, producing a pleasurably sweet wine, and a sensuous companion to chocolate.

As the culinary tryst came to a close, Chef Wiedmaier favored all with delightful commentary on the nuances of the erotic feast.  The Chef also showcased his extraordinary staff, giving distinguished praise to Maitre’d Adnane Kebaier, Sommelier Moez Ben Achour, Chef de Cuisine Paul Stearman, and his exceptional wait-staff, without whom the evening’s sensual culinary courtship would have been impossible.  Then, finally teasing diners one last time, the Chef announced the opening of his newest restaurant “Urban Heights,” featuring Asian style tapas with a tuna Bar, in Bethesda Maryland, in mid-March 2015.

In the end, Bailliage members and guests were romanced and wooed, seduced and ravished as Chef Robert Weidmaier laid bare once forbidden aphrodisiacs in a grand epicurean romance worthy of Romeo and Juliet, leaving every sense attended and every palate sweetly sated.

What’s next for the spirited Bailliage? Only an exotic foreign culinary exploit could fairly attempt to follow the glorious affaire des sens et du palais experience at Marcel’s. And the critically celebrated “Rasika --West End,” will meet the challenge.  In Chef Vikram Sunderam’s (James Beard Foundation Best Chef Mid-Atlantic 2014) chic and modern Indian restaurant, exquisite, aesthetic flavors will explode, and preconceptions of Indian food will be shattered as palates are mesmerized.

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