Dinner Last Night at Bistro des Copains, Occidental
I had a wonderful bistro meal last night. Wed. is oyster night at Bistro des Copains, when one type of oysters is $1/oyster. Last night it was miyagis, and they were snappy fresh and delicious. There were three of us, so we started with a dozen (and I just couldn't resist two more after that!). As there is no corkage on your first bottle of wine from Sophie's Cellars, we had a dry rose with the oysters from there. (I stopped by Sophie's and told John that I put my decision in his hands, that I was eating at BdC on Wed. so would start with oysters. I went with his recommendation, but neglected to write down what we had! sorry.) The waiter brings slices of white and brown bread to each diner, and replentished the bread promptly as we ate it. There is a salty tapenade to spread on the bread. I loved it, but our friend found it too salty.
We all followed with salads. I had the beet salad, with baby red and yellow beets, shaved fennel, roasted pecans, shaved parmeasan cheese, and greens. The salad was perfectly dressed and the fennel undertone brought up the earthiness of the beets beautifully. My husband had the tasting menu, so he started with the butter lettuce salad. It was so gorgeous with the leaves lightly dressed and then arranged back into the shape of the lettuce head. It looked like a pale green flower. Our friend had the crab salad. I didn't taste the other salads, but they both cleaned their plates even before I did, so they must have been good.
Then we had the pissaladiere (sans the anchovies - I would have liked them, but neither of my dining companions did) with a thin crispy crust, lots of sweet carmelized onions perfectly balanced with black olives and salty cheese. Although we loved this, we didn't finish it because we had also ordered mains.
I had the filet of sole with a lemon caper sauce. It was cooked spot on perfect, which I know from experience is hard to do with sole. It was a very generous serving over a mound of perfectly cooked haricots verts. The sauce was distinctly lemony, light, the tang of the capers balancing the rather sweet fish. In fact, I noticed that a characteristic of the cooking here is that delicate balance of sweet, salty and tangy. My husband had the venison osso bucco, the evening's entree for the tasting menu. I got a little bite of the meat, which was melt in your mouth tender. Our friend had the sturgeon. I didn't get to taste it, but it sure looked good, a light brown outside. He cleaned his plate. With our mains, our friend chose a Lynmar pinot noir. I'm not good at wine speak, so how about "wow, that's so good!" - we all agreed on that!
By this time, we were pretty stuffed, but the tasting menu includes a choice of desserts. We chose the vanilla bean creme brulee because I know it's kind of a cliche, but I love creme brulee. It could have used maybe a minute more to fully brown the top, but it was tasty nonetheless. The shortbread cookies served alongside were delicious, not too sweet, very crunchy. All in all, a very fine meal. Sorry, I didn't see the check so don't know the per person tab, but starters were between $8 and $10, mains all somewhere around $20, all servings very generous. Our waitress was knowledgeable, friendly but not intrusive, always there when we needed her. I also noticed that the buspeople were very efficient (note bread example above). We left (oh my goodness two and half hours later!) very satisfied.