7 Courses @ Bastide
I met up with a few friends for dinner at Bastide this rainy evening. For $100, the seven courses were a great deal. So here's the rundown:
1. A Lobster Taco Deconstruction - There was a flour tortilla crisp, then a spoon of lobster and avocado, followed by a shot of tequila that contained a lime sorbet. This was a great way to start the meal.
2. Bluefin Tuna
3. Tuna Tartare and Uni and Lobster Sashimi - The star of this was by far the tuna. In the small bowl, it appeared as if the tuna was sitting in vinegar (hence the tartare), but it was actually a gelee. Underneath was a layer of incredible uni! It provided the perfect balance to the tuna. This single thing, this 1/3 of a course, exhibited a ridiculous amount of finesse.
The next course was a soup made from carrot and coconut milk, combined with those other familiar Thai flavors of ginger, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf. Lumps of crab rested at the bottom, and there were a small amount of crushed peanuts also. The soup was not as thick as some coconut milk soups I had, but it still had a nice sweetness due to the carrot (though personally I could have used more carrot and less ginger)
The fish course was an impeccably cooked piece of seabass. It was accompanied by peeled grapes and chanterelles. I loved the slight bit of sear on the seabass, as it provided a nice textural contrast, but the fish itself was so wonderfully succulent.
Another shining star for the evening was the pasta course, and it was so simple. Pumpkin ravioli, shaved parmesan and a few drops of 30 year old balsamic. In the center was a hard-boiled quail yolk, meant to add a bit of "silk" to the texture, but in my mind it was extraneous. The rest of the dish was amazing.
Our beef course was a piece of short rib. Good fat content, and while it wouldn't have hurt to keep it braising a little longer, I still think it was a great piece of meat. It was accompanied by a host of mini-sauces and mini-sides on the plate, including hollandaise, a piece of celeriac, a gratin of potato and a few others that escape me.
There was a selection of four wonderful cheeses, though my favorites were the semi-hard cheese and the blue cheese.
1. Mascarpone ice cream with strawberries
2. Hot chocolate and chocolate cake with coconut sabayon - There was an accompanying quenelle of ice cream but at this point I was completely decimated and didn't really note it. I'm sure it was delicious, though.
The wine pairings were, for the most part, good but not great. Only the fish pairing (Antoine Arena, Carco, Vermentino, 2005) and the beef pairing (Redoma, 2004) stood out. The trockenbeerenauslese with dessert (Familie Schreiner, Sonnenmulde, TBA, Samling 88, 2002) was also pretty good.
For $100, it's a phenomenal deal given the quality of food, the amount, and the service. Next time I'll skip the wine pairings (an additional $100) and just stick with the two outstanding bottles; unfortunately there's no BYOB.
While the whole meal was excellent, the two standouts were the tuna tartare amuse and the pumpkin ravioli. The tuna was inventive and exciting while the ravioli was simply flawlessly executed. Both were extremely delicious, but again the whole meal was fantastic. After four hours at dinner, Chef Walter greeted us and even let us poke in the kitchen (and we met the pastry chef there, too).
I also appreciated the fact that the 4 course tasting menu was completely different, but for only $20 more, why not go for the 7 courses? Either way, I highly recommend Bastide.
8475 Melrose Place, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Wow. thanks for the great review. I am glad that chef Manzke is doing well. Hopefully he gets a michelin star or two in 2009.
I need to get over there before they jack up the price!
Actually, I dont care if they jack up the price, what I care about is if Manzke leaves LA or if the hollywood crowd takes over before I am able to try it.
For now, I will have to eat Ludovic Lefebre's cuisine at breadbar. For $30 and casual setting, I can swing that a few times before hitting up what seems to be the best resto in Los Angeles. Wow, three chefs, three wonderful incarnations of Bastide.
How exciting for our dining scene.
No, I don't think there's an inner patio. That room with the plant wall and trees is all indoors. Maybe a skylight, but as far as I remember, it's all enclosed. The patio outside is all outside. Lovely, but it's not enclosed at all. When I went, they wren't serving out there yet, but sounds like they are now. Make sure they have heat lamps.
Quick thoughts: A few weeks ago, we had two four course menus, but asked for a couple swap ins/outs. Loved the amuse, clever without being trite, loved the thai soup. The fish course (at the time halibut) was cooked beautifully, but with only an artichocke puree, it wasn't aMAYzing, but very good. The short rib: I wanted less gristle, more silkiness because that's how i like my shortribs. It was hard for me to get passed that. Didn't have cheese, but it looked fabulous. And desserts that night were divine, though i can't remember what they were; i know we liked them. We still made it in for the free wine pairings, and the sommelier couldn't have made it more exciting (something from Sweden, I think) and perfect. Still remembering the chocolates from the pastry chef at the end of the meal. They should box and sell those suckers.
While I think chef Manzke is an extremely talented chef and we're so so happy to have him back in LA, I told my dining comp that night that I'm waiting a couple of months before going back. I want it to be perfect; I hope it will be.
Thanks for breaking it down so well. It was a fabulous meal and we all agreed that there weren't any really weak dishes. I'm still fantasizing about that uni. As Sauce mentioned, the beef course wasn't as tender as I would have preferred, but it was still delicious and full of flavor. For my fellow bread lovers (you know who you are) the bread selection made me very very happy. Gorgeous freshly baked bundles of joy - a gruyere brioche, bacon brioche, basil focaccia, rosemary potato, olive and crusty French.
I'll echo Sauce's sentiments about the wine. I'm very glad we decided to go with the pairings because it gave us a chance to meet and interact with Bastide's lovely sommelier Chantelle. She was so knowledgeable and passionate about the wines and was a pleasure to listen to. Having said that, the next time I eat at Bastide (and there will be a next time), I'll ask her to pick a couple of bottles from the list in lieu of the pairings.
I'd also like to give kudos to the valet parkers, who escorted each of us ladies to our cars under umbrellas to keep us out of the torrential rain. A very nice touch!
So glad you enjoyed. We had the fortunate pleasure of going during the opening week, when he was "giving it away". Sounds like our menus were similar. I thoroughly enjoyed my lobster taco, Thai soup (remember the French press?), seabass, and short rib. We were so sad about the BYOB, but who cares when all the wine was free too!
Our sentiments exactly.
Bastide's TM for $100- is a great deal but how long will it last? I almost suspect it will be $125- before we know it? We are rushing back soon.
The two other TM deals in LA are still Providence 125- Chef's TM and Melisse 140- Carte Blanche TM and they allow corkage. Honorable Mention for Urasawa $275- which is a good deal for what you receive.