Monday, October 17, 2011

Parisienne for a day at l'Entrecote Manila

L'Entrecote Steak
choice of L'Entrecote Menu (Php880) or Menu "Geneva" (Php1,190)
L'Entrecote means "love" in my book. For the French, it means "sirloin steak" or "rib steak." Yes it does. I suppose at this point, you will wonder why a girl like me would find steak romantic. It definitely is not something most ladies would order on a first date. The gentleman probably would, but not the lady. The lady orders a salad and a glass of water. Maybe a bit of wine if the date goes really well, but nothing more. We don't want to risk grease and gravy finding their way to that expensive dress, now do we? Or worse, that unflattering extra pound to that waist whittled down to its narrowest especially for that night.

House Salad with Walnuts
But I am not most ladies. I'm the kind of girl that appreciates a lavish piece of grilled meat- faultless in its done-ness, draped in  a mysterious opulent herb butter sauce, and made nonetheless oddly approachable almost pedestrian by a siding of slender cut Pomme Frites- and l'Entrecote is my Nirvana.

Pink Martini's "Je Ne Veux Pas Travailler" started playing in my head the minute I stepped into Chef Martin Kaspar's charming restaurant. Come to think of it, maybe it started playing even before that. I have never set foot outside the territorial jurisdiction of this country, but the facade of l'Entrecote looks exactly how I imagined a Paris cafe would look like. The restaurant embraces one corner of the Forbes Town Center Building with crimson awnings offering refuge to diners who choose to enjoy their meal al fresco. Inside, cheerfully colored paintings depicting typical French settings and scenes adorn the walls. And while the food at l'Entrecote may carry the hallmarks of fine dining, the comfortable chairs and laid back yet artful interior of the restaurant stages a welcome that only a good casual dining restaurant could.

Geneva Fondue Cheese Bites (6 pcs.)
For the appetizer course, Chef Martin started us on Geneva Fondue Cheese Bites followed by 2 varieties of the Pissaladiere- one with Onions, Anchovy and Black Olive, the other with Tomato Confit and Camembert, and, finally, Foie Gras with Apricot Sauce and Melba Toast. The Geneva Fondue Cheese Bites are wickedly delicious. I thought it would be hard and dry like a crouton, but the melange of cheese, bread, and gentle hints of wine practically melted in my mouth following the shattering of the gossamer layer of crust when I bit into one.

Pissaladiere with Onions, Anchovy, and Black Olive
Pissaladiere with Tomato Confit and Camembert
The Pissaladiere I believe is the French's take on the pizza. Rather than your usual yeast and flour pizza crust, the Pissaladiere uses puff pastry for its crust. It's a welcome change to the all too common pizza that I am used to. The Pissaladiere is much lighter on the tummy and the puff pastry crust gives the whole package a more refined flavor. Between the two, the Pissaladiere with tomato confit and camembert is my favorite.

Foie Gras with Apricot Sauce and Melba Toast
The Foie Gras was lovely. It glided smoothly on the crusty surface of my melba toast. With one swipe, I got a tiny bit of apricot jam and fresh cracked pepper on the tip of my bread knife and gingerly (with quite a bit of skepticism I admit) dabbed it on the Foie Gras. (One thing I learned about eating out, sometimes, sometimes, you just have to trust the chef.) The combination of the Foie Gras which possesses a gentle undercurrent of bitterness and the sweet and spicy duet of apricot jam with black pepper was eye-openingly delightful.

Fine, flat noodles in spinach-herb cream sauce
with Lobster Tail
From the grill, we had Grilled Lobster Tails and Lapu Lapu Fillet. You can order these beautifully seared seafood selections together with a choice of siding and sauce. In our case, we had them with fine, flat noodles in spinach-herb cream sauce (for the lobster) and in tomato-chili-lime sauce (for the Lapu Lapu). The lobster, as expected, was decandent. It was tender- which meant it was cooked perfectly because otherwise you end up with a tough rubbery piece of seafood- and seasoned lightly enough to allow the flavor of the lobster shine through. 

Fine, flat noodles in tomato-chili-lime sauce
with grilled Lapu Lapu
The same with the Lapu Lapu, which was a thick cut of fillet. No pungent herbs or spices that could possibly mask the flavor of the Lapu Lapu, all you taste and appreciate is the freshness of the fish. Like the lobster, the Lapu Lapu fillet is seared just enough to cook the fish through. Any longer than that and you have a dry grainy piece of fish, which is unfortunately not an uncommon transgression. The Lapu Lapu at l'Entrecote, quite impressively, was succulent and played out almost like butter in the mouth.

All that amazing food, may seem to be a tough act to follow. Not when the main event though is US choice Entrecote steak. At l'Entrecote, this steak is offered in two sets. The l'Entrecote Menu, includes together with the steak, a salad and unlimited fries. The Menu "Geneva" on the other hand, has in addition to the salad and fries, a dessert and a glass of house wine.

Now I am not one who likes a lot of stuff on my steak. Especially when it's USDA prime grade steak, I prefer only a salt and pepper rub, and hardly make any exceptions. I've made a rare exception though for l'Entrecote's herb butter sauce. I do not know what is in it (and Chef Martin makes sure of that) but, oh my, it is butter goodness magnified a hundredfold. It was a good thing that I had a glass of wine to back up my iced tea because I don't think the latter could stand up to the butter-laced steak. But the accompanying wine, personally chosen by Chef Martin, was a good complement to the richness of the meal. (The choice of wine for me makes another case for what I said earlier about trusting the chef.)

Crepes Suzette with Vanilla Ice Cream

L'entrecote's Rasberry and Walnut Iced Vacherin Cake
The desserts are a different love story all together. We had Crepes Suzette, Raspberry and Walnut Iced Vacherin Cake and, the-- wait for it-- l'Entrecote Tower.

l'Entrecote Tower
The l'Entrecote Tower is a show-stopper. I sat with bated breath as our French-maid outfit clad waitress set this stunning dessert on our table. It looked like an amazing work of art. And it tasted like it was created by a true artist, too. There was chocolate sauce, meringue, ice cream, whipped cream, and a spattering of shaved almonds for good measure, and everything worked together to purposefully make me... happy. I could not imagine anything better than this to cap that epicurean lunch. It's love and happiness served l'Entrecote style, thanks to Chef Martin.

House Iced Tea
(I will take that siesta now, thank you.)

Walking out of l'Entrecote after lunch, Chef Martin notices the Eiffel Tower charm attached to the nape of my blouse. He asks me if I've been to Paris, gesturing to the charm. I almost forgot about that. (Actually, I've never even thought about it when I put that shirt on. It's an amusing case of serendipity, now that I think about it.) "No," I tell Chef Martin. "I've never been to Paris. I hope to go there someday though." Until then, I'll have my slice of Paris at l'Entrecote.

L'Entrecote is located at Forbes Town Center, Unit A Bellagio 2, Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, Metro Manila. 

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1 comment:

abdul said...

Oh yummy. Thanks for the tasty post

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