One of the many reasons we love Tocqueville is that on Saturdays, while most other restaurants are serving brunch, they serve lunch. By that I mean their regular lunch menu. In fact, the a la carte menu is the same as the dinner menu. At lunch, there is also what I consider the best bargain in the city for cuisine of such superb caliber – a 3-course prix-fixe for $29! We’ve done quite a few of those over time. Plus, they offer a 5-course tasting menu for around $65, another great value which we’ve taken advantage of in the past.
Since my birthday fell on a Saturday, Tocqueville was the perfect place to have lunch. It’s not the first time I chose it for my birthday lunch. I did so two years ago and posted about it here.
We had an 8 p.m. reservation at EMP, so we booked Tocqueville at 11:45 a.m., to allow us an unrushed meal and enough time to regain our appetites by the anointed evening hour. Because lunch is never very busy, we were the only ones in the dining room for a while. Not that that would ever bother us. Other parties slowly trickled in until by the time we left, a half dozen other tables were occupied. Our favorite captain, Miguel, was in charge of the dining room, and being taken care of by him is always a pleasure. I didn’t tell him it was my birthday; nevertheless, he treated us to some extras.
After we placed our food order from the a la carte menu, Michael consulted with Roger, the sommelier, to choose a wine that would go best with the main course. The plan was one glass because there would be lots more drinking in the evening. Roger offered tastes of three different wines from which Michael chose the Burgundy.
Miguel started us off with delectable hors d’oeuvres usually served only at dinner.
Gougères, Cured Salmon and Crème Fraîche, Beet Scrolls Stuffed with Goat Cheese
Right after that, he came to our table bearing a gift for me: a virgin cocktail. He explained that he’d created it for a table of regular patrons who don’t drink alcohol. Mango tea-based, it contained a variety of tropical fruit flavors. I dislike tea and usually don’t care for non-alcoholic cocktails that use it. But I was really pleased to find that this one was delicious.
When Tocqueville’s bread basket is brought to the table, there is never any doubt about the choice since it’s the most perfect roll.
All diners receive an amuse. This one came topped with caviar. I normally don’t eat caviar, but I decided not to take it off before popping the whole thing into my mouth. Because the caviar blended with the other flavors and textures, it wasn’t really noticeable. A very tasty morsel.
We both chose the same first course. Tocqueville’s soups are always phenominally flavorful. This one included little cubes of foie gras! Need I say more?
We also chose the same main course. We’ve both had Loch Etive sea trout at Tocqueville before, and I had it as my main course at our Rosh Hashanah dinner here in September. This was an entirely new preparation. All the elements on the plate worked well together. A seriously delish dish!
Potato Crusted Loch Etive Sea Trout, Spaghetti Squash, Burgundy Reduction
We decided to share one dessert, and to go with it, Michael had a glass of Banyuls. Not only are desserts at Tocqueville always scrumptious, but a major plus is that they do not follow the current desserts trend, one I heartily dislike. That is, desserts which are deconstructed and/or have weird flavor combos.
Cheesecake, Figs, Banyuls Reduction
Miguel didn’t think one dessert was sufficient, so in his inimitably generous manner, he had the kitchen send out a plate of sorbets which are always a delight because their flavors are intense.
Pear, Blood Orange, Raspberry
Stellar cuisine and gracious service in one of the most beautiful dining rooms in the city, this was, once again, a lovely birthday lunch at Tocqueville.
To see the entire photo set of this lunch on my Flickr, click here.