Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Feeling Frenchy

For a couple of weeks now I've been craving French bistro fare. Maybe it's in preparation of Bastille Day? LOL...

Sherri has this great CosmoDeck that takes $15 off of the dinner bill at certain restaurants in SF. After scanning the list, Fringale became the choice. I hadn't been to Fringale since DAT 2006. The space and the feeling was still the same - charming, small, neighborhood French.

We split the butter lettuce salad. The portion was huge! The pic on the left was my half alone. And since Sherri doesn't like anchovies, we got it on the side and I got all of them to myself. Love anchovies. The lettuce was dressed lightly with a mustard sauce and the combination of salty, brining, tangy went great with the crispness of the lettuce.

Which brings me to the analysis of the anchovies. They were quite a bit more *sour* than other house cured anchovies that I've had. Maybe I'm just assuming they are house cured? Maybe they're not even cured but simply pickled? Is that a French or Basque style of treating anchovies? Is there anyone in my food blog universe who can answer this question?
These puppies were really sour. Almost like olives. The flesh was not flaky and somewhat raw, chewy like in texture. They were tasty but very different than the styles of anchovies I'm used to.

Now on to the entrees! Sherri had Australian sea bass. It looked beautiful on a bed of corn with a sinful lobster sauce. I am so glad seabass has returned to to the table. The last few years without it has been very sad indeed. But I also understand that we need to make sure the seabass we do consume are from proper sources.

I tried a bit of her dish and it was orgasmic. The fish melted in my mouth like butter. The lobster sauce was a perfect complement to the fish - it didn't overwhelm. Which brings me to the second question of this post... what is lobster sauce? In Chinese cuisine, it's that egg white with starched up chicken broth speckled with peas concoction that I never really liked or understood. I think that's what Cantonese people served with their lobster? Do they have lobsters native to Canton? But the version that came with this dish was more like a thinned out lobster bisque. Any thoughts? And why is it a burnished orange colour?

My entree was the duck confit with green lentil du Puy. The confit had a nice crispness on the outside and the meat fell apart sufficiently upon poking it a bit with a fork. But the meat was very dry. Maybe I just didn't notice the dryness of the meat when duck confit is in a cassoulet or some such. This was almost like duck jerky it was so dry. But it wasn't hard like jerky. Anyway, the lentils were good but a bit too salty to go with the duck. I felt a bit over-salted from this dish even though the flavours were nice. I also had the post-too-much-salt bloat during the evening after this meal. Had a glass of the Chateau Jonqueyres, Bordeaux ‘01 to go with the entree which was a good counterpoint to all the salt.

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