Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mother's Day Saturday at Bouchon

235 N Canon Dr
Beverly HillsCA 90210
(310) 271-9910

Mother's Day Saturday has become a tradition with Mom and me.  Mother's Day Sunday we spend the day with D's family, celebrating en masse. However, Saturday we have a quieter meal together somewhere around town that seems quietly elegant. One year we did Spago, last year we did Drago Centro.

Funnily enough, it was this meal that kicked off my longest hiatus from blogging yet. More on this later.

Beautiful looking braided French bread, the butter hard like it is in every French restaurant in the U.S.  Still, delicious in its simplicity.

The three of us were all the way across town for brunch, having plans to take Mom shopping at Citron in Santa Monica then go to an exhibit at LACMA for the afternoon. Specials: yogurt & fruit parfait, salmon tartare, omelette aux champignons (omelette with mushrooms), plats de côtes de beouf hache (eggs with beef hash).

Mom and I had kir royale to start.

And I have to preface my lack of enthusiasm for this meal by saying we received maybe the best service of my life. Informative without being didactic (didacticism is something seen frequently among some food bloggers [who will remain nameless] and a character trait I abhor), deferential without obsequiousness. I could go on. This 40-something gent is clearly a career server the likes of which I don't feel we see in Los Angeles very often, and he helped make our meal something to remember.

Everything about Bouchon is casually elegant, and that's what I enjoy most about it. Place settings, the simple paper menu, bistro plates...there's a simplicity that is just barely reaches over the boundary into contrived, yet not so much one feels uncomfortable.

D and I shared a dozen oysters for a change. The usual accompaniments: mignonette, horseradish, thick lemon wedges.

I know we always order oysters. One of life's pleasures, they need nothing but a juicy squeeze of lemon to make me happy. And I like them cold, very cold.

Against her better judgement, Mom ordered the omelette aux champignons. Why against better judgement? I am sure it has been mentioned in this blog many times over that Mom can throw down in the kitchen. She is an insanely good cook. Not a chef, she's a recipe follower. But she has great taste, loves to experiment and understands the chemistry of cooking. At any rate, she makes a great omelette. Mom thought, "What if this omelette is not as good as one I can make at home? I will be so disappointed." She should have trusted her instincts. It was overcooked and dry. Good thing it looked pretty.

D ordered the egg with beef hash, it was the best thing on the table.  The bottom of the egg was fully cooked, the edges even a hair crispy.  But the yolk was just barely thickened from cooking yet runny enough to make a beautiful eggy sauce over the beef & potato hash. I would come back for this when the weather turns cold again.

About the time my salmon rillette arrived, I realized with a start I had reordered my exact order from the last time I came to Bouchon for brunch. WTF? Champagne, oysters on the half shell and salmon rillette.

By nature, I am nothing if not ritualistic about food. Food blogging has both led me to try things I would previously have not considered but also broken me away from my tendency to order the same thing again and again (sushi restaurants discluded). 

Somehow, after this meal I was in no hurry to get home and write about it.  Oysters were ice cold briny perfection, and the rillete was beautiful.  But I just didn't really care very much about who I shared this meal with. I don't think it was the fault of the meal, although the omelette was lackluster and my own ordering the opposite of inspired.

The next morning at our big family brunch at Loteria, I brought my camera but didn't bring it out of my bag. Apparently, it was time for a break.


weezermonkey said...

Just by the photos alone, I can tell the egg with beef hash was the best!

I get into blogging funks, too -- sometimes because of a lackluster meal, sometimes because of laziness, sometimes because blogging feels like a chore.

Breaks are good! We come back with a vengeance and freshness. :)

Kristine G said...

You *do* love the rillette ... I believe you had that at the Bouchon in Vegas, right? :) Have you ever tried making your own? I bet it would make a lovely elegant but homemade holiday gift in those cute mason jars.