Tuesday, December 18, 2012

L'ESPRIT de SALINES is truly the spirit of cuisine in St. Barths (12-17-12)

Yesterday we headed to the Caribbean side of the island to visit the
gorgeous Salines beach and hoping to grab lunch at a place that ended
up being closed.
Next door was L'ESPRIT de SALINES de Jean Claude Dufour, where we had
already booked dinner for the same evening, so we tried it for lunch.
It was a gem. At first Samuel did not like the choices, but gobbled up
his Chicken Salad in Coriander/White Soy Dressing with Soba Noodles.
Will and I both loved the GAZPACHO which was of course cold, but
served with warm grilled Squid in it! YUM. A glass of tasty Mas de
Pampellone Rose was my treat while Will had a highly alcoholic
margarita and Sam enjoyed a virgin colada.
Will and I split (Ok, I ate most) a Mahi Mahi Tartare with Scallion
and Cilantro with a side salad of the best Endive ever prepared with a
nice vinaigrette and shaved parmesan.
We knew that we would be back for a fab dinner later on!

The setting is outdoors, with a covered patio which allows smoking and
it seems that everyone smokes here, which we DO NOT like. A law
requiring no-smoking areas that is enforced would be nice...we shall
We try to spot the smokers and ask to be seated far away, but that
doesn't always work!

Dinner was an even more amazing experience as we ordered up a bottle
of Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc MONT REDON 2010 that was a wonderful
Rhone white blend at a great price. Samuel ordered the Pave de filet
de veau roti avec risotto de penne au parmesan which was an odd name
as it was a superb Roast of VEAL FILET with side dish or Parmesan
Penne (no risotto??). He gobbled it all up in minutes.
Will started with the Carpaccio of BEETS and Marinated MAHI MAHI that
was light as he wanted. I went for the to die for Gratin de COQUES,
Chou Chinois, Jus de coquillage au vinaigre balsamique which was a
divine plate full of tiny COCKELS Gratinee that were tender like
Manila clams, but smaller and of course, closer to escargots with
Chinese Cabbage and the cockel juice with balsamic.
Bread again was fresh and tasty, and the service impeccable.

For the mains, Will had the Pave de poisson which was a roasted local
COD with Artichokes and Snow Peas, while I went with the PIGEON ROTI
avec FOIE GRAS, a superb tasty bird from the south of France served
with braised celery and snow peas as well. An excellent SAVIGNY les
BAUNES 1er Cru "Clos de Guettes" 2009 from Marchand Freres was a
divine pairing, if a bit too big for the cod, but totally fruit
forward. I was offered a lime hot water dip after I ate the tiny bird
legs with my fingers.

Samuel ordered his new favorite dessert which here was a Tarte au
chocolat et caramel described in English as Chocolate Toffee Pie,
while I tried the TATIN MANGUE ET BANANE a superb flaky pastry of
crunchy wafer, banana, sauteed mangos and ice cream. Will had the
light CHIBOUST au CITRON VERT,a light chilled lime souffle. I wish we
had an extra night to return to L'Esprit, but we want to try many more
places in our short time here!