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Chez Panisse report: downstairs Monday night

Robert Lauriston Oct 10, 2006 05:17 PM

Had another great meal at Chez Panisse last night (Monday night prix fixe, $50).

Couscous salad with tomatoes, fresh sardine filet -- This was an assortment of thin-sliced, dead-ripe red, green, and yellow tomatoes were dressed with maybe orange-scented olive oil and I think aleppo pepper. On one side was a sort of couscous tabouleh with chopped tomatoes, on the other two perfect grilled filets of local sardine with maybe some Japanese pepper. Lovely with the recommended Soter rose of pinot noir ($5/glass).

Gigot d'agneau à la marocain: marinated Cattail Creek Farm lamb with with okra, wild greens, shell beans, and coriander -- The lamb was grilled in a piece about an inch and a half thick, thinly sliced, fanned out on a delicious demiglace-based sauce, strewn with a variety of fresh shell beans, and garnished with some cooked bitter greens (forgot to ask) flavored with ginger and fresh cilantro. The lamb was the best thing I've eaten in months, the spices didn't dominate, only served to bring out the natural flavor. The recommended 2000 Rotllan Torra priorat ($44) was a great match.

We went for the optional cheese course ($12). The standout was Herbiette, really great creamy aged French goat with an herb coating a la Brin d'Amour.

Fried Black Mission figs with ginger cream -- these were fun, like fig tempura. Also came with a pistachio cookie and the best dates I've ever had (Barhi from Flying Disc).

All in all a great meal.