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Voluptuous Valentine's Dinner at Restaurant Eve

February 19, 2009

The warm camaraderie of Chaîne members and guests was deliciously demonstrated at Restaurant Eve in Alexandria this past February. Members of the Board of the Bailliage of Greater Washington, DC met at Restaurant Eve a week in advance to face the "arduous" task of choosing the best among the sublime choices that Chef Cathal Armstrong presented to us. Vice Echanson Steven Lustig and Professionnel du Vin Ellen Kirsh worked with the Chef to choose the wines, while Bailli Paul Haar and Chargée de Presse, Judith Mazza participated in choosing the final dishes.

As we walked down the romantic vine and brick covered entryway, Restaurant Eve began its seduction.  Passing the open kitchen, we gathered to enjoy the elegant, but fruity, Domaine Carneros by Tattinger Brut Blanc De Noir 2005, with passed horsd'ourves.   We began with Ruppersberger co-op steak tartare profiteroles which were followed by deviled quail eggs.  Mushroom fritters served on spoons were unctuous and wonderful.  The foie gras au torchon on brioche melted in your mouth, while the sweet garlic chip with goat cheese mousse added a delightful crunch.  Chef Armstrong surprised us with a venison pâté with pistachio nuts.  Maître de Table Restauranteur Eddie Benaim and Chef Dennis Friedman of Bezu Restaurant were in attendance sharing stories with Bailli Paul Haar and his wife Xiangnan Haar.  Chef Grillardin Luigi Diotaiuti, owner of Tiramasu, and Nadjia Belkodja were animated as they joined in the fun with Mark Bucher, owner of BGR.

We were seated, and a wonderful amuse bouche of rutabaga soup was followed with a palate cleansing celery sorbet.  This prepared us for "OOOO" a first course of oysters in puff pastry with micro-greens.  The house made ricotta biretta with braised baby leek and Perigord truffle butter was paired with Pascal Jouvet Sauvignon Blanc 2007 which was loaded with minerality from the chalk-rich soils of Pouilly Fume in the Loire Valley. The pan roasted black cod with pine nut butter and Chiogga beet reduction was delicious with the full bodied layered Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay 2006. As we were presented with the fourth course, roasted breast of squab with Armagnac poached prunes, crisp leg confit and Moulard duck foie gras and bourbon barrel aged maple syrup jus, the intensely blackberry-flavored Domaine Chrisophe Pichon Côte Rôtie Syrah 2001 enhanced both fruit and game. The Broken Arrow Ranch Axis venison with crisp crosnes, fresh garbanzo beans, and sauce Bordelaise was enjoyed with the Louis Bernard Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone blend 1998, a fantastic vintage which added tones of black fruits and exotic spices.  The Tête de Moine en Girolle, with spiced yellow carrot salad and golden raisin jam was delicate and beautiful.  Sommelier Crag Erion demonstrated the special device which was used to cut the cheese. A miniature cannoli prepared us for the luscious warm Virginia wild flower honey cake with roasted pineapple, dulce de leche and coconut caramel. The Vin Doux Naturel Domaine Cazes Muscat de Rivesaltes 2004 added just the right balance of sweet apricot notes to finish our meal.

Vice Conseiller Culinaire Chef Francois Dionot welcomed Chef Armstrong and his staff of more than a dozen cooks, as satisfied Chaine members and guests expressed their enthusiasm with thunderous applause. We knew that we had just enjoyed a very labor intense, thoughtful and elegantly prepared dinner. With smiles, hugs and sharing the warmth of Valentine's Day at Restaurant Eve, we reluctantly began our journey home.

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