Saturday, October 11, 2008

La Bicyclette

La Bicyclette
Carmel-by-the-Sea

For a fine, affordable option in Carmel, not lacking the exquisiteness, romance, and wine-relaxed evening, stroll down the quaint seaside block to Gropius's pre-fix of $40 for the evening. You'll be inspired to write in your journal afterward; though, beforehand, the night might steal you away entirely into this rustic, splendid indulgence.

Wonderful, romantic with rustic European character and atmosphere, having little interior cottages built into the wall to house two private deuce tables, complete with roof and windows... everything, even the service station was a two-person cottage within the room. Cute.

Another Walter Georis masterpiece, this rustic kitchen--holding maybe 8 tables and 20 individual diners--draws people from all over for an evening of romantic and enchanting mood lighting, intimate conversation, and good food. All of the produce is organically grown at the Carmel Valley Middle School. The children get to plant the seeds and the restaurant completes the circle of life in making sure the photosynthesis goes to good use. In the end, us-customers receive the cream-of-the-crop with respect to produce selection, local and fresh, pesticide-free!

The service is down-to-earth, young and knowledgeable also. The wine list is an encyclopedia, but take my word for it: go with the house wine for an easy meal compliment and conversation piece.

The House Georis Rouge
(Cab Merlot Blend)
This is bold, but it's good--really good as a table wine. It goes with anything and stands well alone even, having full flavor while the tannins are not sharp. At first you can smell oak and what my friend calls "barnyard." It really does get better as the night goes on and it is affordable! It's grown in France and is a lovely Rhone variety; this Rhone wine is unusual because it really is full. The medley is full-bodied Cab with the Merlot fruits.

Georis Pinot Noir
Good and light. This is rather a medium bodied wine, much more of a Rhone, but it is still rich in flavor. Definitely a Rhone as it is subtler lacking intensity of tannins. It is very nice with lamb or pasta with mushrooms. It is muted on tannins all-around and is a lighter red shade with warm hues. Really, it looks more like a light red Burgundy. Fine wine, but too light to go with my rich dish of Filet Mignon.

Rustic Bread
We all know how I'm the biggest critic of bread. I give them a star and a smile here. The bread is authentically rustic country--a fresh sliced boule that has a nice, crisp crust while the inside is silky and smooth, with big wholes and a bit of country wheat flavor in the flour... maybe a touch of sourness with rye. Only a touch. Oh, I love bread. This was a fine one.

Salad Mediterranean Starter
All all-natural salad: simple and fresh with little diced yellow and red beets, crisp, thin apple along with Walnuts. The beets make this. It's easy, and served as an accompaniment to your meal entree, no matter what you order. I respect this, and it really is the rustic-kitchen way to go.

Cauliflower Cream Soup Starter
Soup D'jour
Not only do we all get the crisp greens and silky carbs for starters, but we also get a copper pot for the table filled with a thick, cream soup of fresh cauliflower. This concoction was truly thick, heavy cream was involved, and so were those sharp peppercorns. I remember the pepper and the cream. This is a comfort soup, and turns cauliflower into one of those veggies that you'd like to have again soon on a cold winter's day -- if you weren't already an appreciator.

Filet Mignon
with substitute Merlot reduction demiglace

Can't say I'm a sucker for melted cheese on a steak, though I am aware that it is flavorful. I did not feel like a heavy dinner tonight, and was very satisfied with a wine pairing sauce that is usually served on the duck. There was a little mix-up with my preparation request of the steak. I said rare, maybe bordering to medium. Instead, I got well-done. There was one well-done order elsewhere on the table, and it simply got mixed up that both were well-done. My poor filet! Yes, it was tough and, well, disastrous, but I didn't let that destroy the evening and I didn't have them take it back because I was starving and I would have been frustrated to wait. The demiglace was extra savory and thick, tasting more like a mushroom demiglace, really. The Merlot was minimal. The steak was well-seasoned with pepper, so it had that extra kick. I wish so desperately it may have been prepared tender so that I could have enjoyed it all... together. Alas, I will wait for next time.

Skillet of Table Veggies
The house additionally served the entire table, family style, for our side. Veggies are included for everyone, and you dish them out on your own from the communal hot skillet in the center of the table. It was full of pan seared broccoli, cauliflower, broccolini, stubby short root carrots, green beans, and potatoes. We had five adults, so we ended up going through two skillets; plus, I'm a veggie-hog.

The completion of the meal is satisfying, leaving no room for dessert since we enjoyed the meal so much and enough was offered. It was our choice as to how much to take as well, which allowed us to control if we had any room left. Genius. That's the way it should be done, and that way there is no wasting food. Let's all learn a lesson, America.

I will fondly remember the Belgian music and magnificent, intimate mood of the rustic French dining nook. Half of this narrow little restaurant takes the image of a little crooked storybook village, set with homes--small, cozy cottages with lamps covered in lace to soften the light. The coppers pots hanging from the wall rack, the textured plaster of the grey.neutral wall with daily menu scribbles, the restaurant's wooden tables that remind one of the a chopping board island... it all makes this place all-the-more comfortable. I respect Georis, and I can't wait to come back, even if my meat was overcooked. Let's fix it right next time, shall we?

La Bicyclette on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Still Served Warm said...

Great post! La Bicyclette is so amazing... We reviewed it at: //www.stillservedwarm.com/bicyclette-carmel-pizza/
Stop by!