First, Kate and I arrived at the Dorchester early, so we sat in the lobby outside of the restaurant and drank tea -- Kate had passion fruit, and I went with elderflower. Both of them were fragrant and flavorful and the perfect palatte cleanser before eating.
Our simple three-course lunch felt like 8 or 9 courses by the time the "extras" were delivered. Shortly after we sat down, a bowl of fragrant cheese and pepper Gourges were delivered to the table. The Ducasse version is a bite-sized, cheesey cream puffs, with a pepper kick. The trick is that they must be eaten warm -- there's something wonderful about biting into these and having warm steam carry the smell of cheese while your tongue gets the pepper kick.
For the appetizers, I went a vegetable "tart" which was layered with fresh vegetables and topped with a puff pastry "toast." It was such a beautiful work of art we had to take both a top AND a side view of it. It was almost too perfect to eat, but I prevailed.
Kate chose the steamed Langoustines with ravioli and a spicy consommé. With bits of mushrooms and dollops of cheese to top it off, it was almost a meal in and of itself.
For the main course Kate went all out and ordered the pigeon. There was some irony in her thinking -- we had just visited Trafalgar Square a couple of days before, where there were plenty of pigeons flying around, and yes, we have our fair share of them in Manhattan. Served with a savory brown sauce with a side of potato medallions, it was perfect.
I am a big fan of foie gras, which came grilled on the side of a perfectly rare filet of beef. The drizzle of vinaigrette on the salad was just the right tanginess to complement the beef.
No dining experience at Ducasse would be perfect without dessert. No pictured here is the fabulous chocolate soufflé with vanilla ice cream I ordered, and ate before it deflated.
Kate had the wild strawberry tartlet, with a side of clotted cream. (We've decided that clotted cream should be a household staple!) The mound of wild strawberries were fresh, and oozing with flavor. Where can we get some of these on a regular basis?
Just when we thought we were finished, our waiter brought over a little bowl of almond maccarons, along with a little tray of chocolates. Who could resist a nibble?
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it doesn't compare with the real thing when it comes to dining. I hope Kate starts saving up her money for another trip to London!