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A forgotten kiss

Duck Confit

“Is that you?”

I was looking at the picture “Pierce” displayed on his phone. “That’s me”, he said. “I told you I was wearing horns”, and that was all he was wearing. The photo was a still from his scene in Labyrinth, a new film from Raging Stallion Studios. He looked like a well-muscled Minotaur showered in lava-orange light. “That’s hot,” I said.

We were seated in a quiet corner at La Bonne Table, an intimate romantic French bistro in the heart of Hillcrest. Ceiling fans spun slowly overhead and mellow jazz flowed softly. Yo, our courteous and friendly host, brought our craft cocktails. I sipped a French 75 ($9), and Pierce nursed The Saint ($10). The French 75 is an effervescent blend of gin, simple syrup, lemon juice and champagne. The Saint is a delicate concoction of gin and St. Germaine, a sweet liqueur made with Elderflower. We toasted continued success in the New Year.

We perused the evening’s menu. Choices for starters ranged from escargot in sizzling garlic butter, to knife-chopped Ahi tuna tartar, to frisée salad with toasted almonds and goat cheese tossed with a mustard vinaigrette. Pierce ordered the Soupe a L’oignon ($9) and I opted for the Mousse de Canard ($9). Pierce raved about the classic French onion soup; a piping hot blend of sweet onions with beef broth and a splash of wine, topped by croutons and melted Gruyere cheese, served in an individual ceramic tureen. The housemade mousse is a light-as-air blend of duck liver and black truffles served with pickled gherkins, balsamic reduction and warm baguette. The opaque glaze of duck fat disappears on your tongue like a forgotten kiss.

Entrée selections include hanger steak with wine merchant sauce, mussels in garlic and white wine broth, or a Provençal seafood stew of prawn, lobster and scallops. Pierce chose the Côte de Porc ($26) and I, staying in a duck theme, went with the Confit de Canard ($25). We agreed to share a side of Potato Gratin ($5). The 16-ounce bone-in Berkshire pork chop, served with Brussel sprouts in a mustard cream sauce, is tender and juicy and swoon worthy. The fall-off-the-bone Muscovy duck thigh has a crispy skin, and is served with lightly dressed frisée lettuce greens, lentils and a fig reduction. Delicious! The gratin is a steamy tasty mélange of thinly sliced potatoes, shallots, heavy cream and a blend of Gruyere and Parmesan cheese. Divine!

I paired a glass of Jean-Luc Colombo Côtes du Rhone Les Abeilles ($9) and Pierce chose the Valmoissine Pinot Noir ($9). The Côtes du Rhone, a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre grapes, is a deep red pour greeting the nose with cherry and sloe fruit, caressing the palate with light tannins and earthy dark crushed berries, then ending with a long complex balance of smokey pepper and tobacco notes. The Pinot Noir has a brilliant ruby color with dark fruity whispers, smooth tannins and a quick silky finish.

La Bonne Table is the realization of Chef Renaud Tristan’s lifelong dream, and he brings 14-years of experience to the table. “It’s like having your friends over for dinner every night”, he said. They’re offering a $40 per person three-course prix fixe during San Diego Restaurant Week (Jan. 17 – 24), and are accepting reservations for Valentine’s Day. But hurry – there are only 26 seats available.

La Bonne Table

3696 Fifth Ave.

Open Monday-Saturday 5-10 p.m.



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Posted by on Jan 21, 2016. Filed under Eat This!, Section 4A. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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