Dinner in the bar at La Belle Vie? Va va voooooom, my friends, sensual delights galore. Whew, I’m still recovering. We sat right at the elegant, candle-lit bar, watching the bartender do her thing. Beautiful drinks, one after the other, with fresh fruit purees, freshly squeezed juices, and clever combinations. I, who rarely order an actual “drink,” fell for a Cuban – muddled mint, sugar, and rum a la a mojito, but with a splash of bitters and topped off with champagne instead of club soda. Tobacco-hued, complex, and refreshing – gorgeous to look at and sip. Off to a very good start.
And oh yes, we did order food! Lots of food. They graciously let us open with the soft-shell crab offered on the tasting menu (in the bar you can order off the restaurant’s tasting and a la carte menus, as well as the bar menu), perfectly crispy-fried and resting in a spicy-cool pool of curried yogurt, garnished with shaved fennel. Giggling like schoolgirls, tee hee, we next devoured a salad and goat cheese tart – yes, could be the overplayed version at every restaurant these days, but no, ‘cuz this is La Belle Vie.Perfect greens, perfectly dressed, with creamy-whipped goat cheese between layers of crisp pastry. And then, a bowl of three handmade (but of course!) pea tortellis in a truffle broth. Bright green and creamy, I damn-near licked the truffly bowl, that broth was so fragrant and salty and delicious. And there’s more! (Each of these courses is small, thankfully, plus we shared each…). Skewered crackling jumbo shrimps, smokin’ hot and served atop a dollop of zingy mustard-caper-mayo. And last, the creme de la creme, my friends….lamb burgers. Appetizer-sized, on fresh, soft, homemade buns, toasted crispy in butter. Juicy, lamby, tender, decadent. Ohhh so decadent. Served alongside a pile of spicy olives, you can achieve taste-sensation-perfection by savoring one of those olives between each bite of lamb burger. Rich. Spicy. Rich. Spicy. I can’t stop thinking about those damn burgers, I could even eat one right now, at 9:15 in the morning. Rarrrr…
And so. Date Night was a big, BIG success, we basically had a blast. Back to moderate (ahem) reality for the weekend, and that’s OK. A little dose of fantastic can take me a looong way – I’ll ride that La Belle Vie wave for at least, like, two weeks. Ha.