I wanted to try something new and "Top Chefy", so all the standards (Ruth's Chris, Mortons, other downtown steak places) were out the window. I returned to the food/restaurant edition of The Reader from back in the fall. After debating the menus of the 3 "finalists" for two evenings, we decided to try Cavaillon Restaurant. Chef Philippe Verpiand was another of the top chefs featured in the Reader, so I was glad to see Cavaillon as an option for Restaurant Week.
The restaurant location was strange, as people mentioned on Yelp. It is in the Carmel Valley area of San Diego, a few miles inland, in a small strip mall smack in the middle of a planned community. We actually parked in front of someones house! The drive seems longer than it really was, since you come through a lot of empty space which seemed to be hiking/jogging/horse riding trails. It was actually kind of relaxing and made us feel like we had gone "somewhere".
The dining area was surprisingly small, although there is outside seating available as well. We chose to be inside. There were numerous tables for two set up, a little too close to each other for my liking, but I understand it can be crowded during Restaurant Week. The decor was sort of a European, old-world style. Rich golds and reds, and dark woods.
Even though there are only 3 options for each course, they all sounded interesting so it wasn't anything to be concerned about. (fall 2011 RW menu here, looks to be the same offerings)
Appetizers - I ordered the cheese tart. This was one of the best dishes I have eaten...well, ever! I told my boyfriend the next time we eat here I could order 5 cheese tarts and be happy. The tart itself was a little small but it combined so well with the small salad. The flavors were perfect. (fourme d'ambert blue cheese tart, poached anjou pears in red wine, wild aragula)
He had pre-chosen the pheasant when we were sifting through the menus. Neither of us knew what "terrine" meant though, so the dish was not exactly what we had expected. Luckily it was still yummy! It was sort of like a small loaf or roll of the ground up meat mixed with spices etc and then sliced and served with complimentary accompanying items. . (pheasant terrine, pickled winter vegetables, celery root salad)
Mains - I had the beef. I knew my boyfriend would have the fish and I didn't feel like going for duck. The beef was extremely tender and flavorful, and the veggies were delicious also! It was a comfort food kind of dish. (braised beef flat iron, pommes mousseline, carrots, red wine demi-glace)
He did order the fish, and it was really good, too. Personally I am not a big fish eater but the bites I stole were great. Cooked well, nice flavors, another hit. (petrale sole, almondine in brown butter, roasted cauliflower, fingerling potatoes and broccolini)
Desserts - Of the three options the chocolate actually sounded the least interesting, but after seeing other people eating it, I now know better for next time! I ordered the Floating Island. It was, beyond a doubt, DELICIOUS, but too light for my dessert needs. It was kind of like a meringue island sitting in the middle of a very light (and maybe a tiny bit too thin) vanilla custard. Still... YUM! Honestly, I can't complain about dessert! (Floating island, Tahitian vanilla custard, caramel sauce)
He had the Profiteroles. Basically 3 small cream puffs (minus the cream), with different types of ice cream spilling out! (pic below) Again, yummy, but nothing very exciting. Next time the chocolate will be on order!!
(full dinner menu here)