Saturday, October 01, 2011

Field of Play

In the realm of the $300 lunch you’re awash in a sea of trophy bottles and Ridel crystal.  Are you really worthy of the swarms of attentive waiters, amuse bouches and meticulously created molecular fare you wonder?  You’re plagued with self-doubt.  Are you hip enough?  Sophisticated enough or young enough? And can you afford it enough?
Lunch at La Grisoliere
Across the terrasse Bordeaux stems cohabit with presumed First Growths.  Next door a monster Burgundy bowl caresses a La Tache no doubt.  One is tempted to throw caution in the general direction of his bank account, to the wind.  But his Puritan lesser self prevails as he orders the “simple”, says the sommelier, Chateau Miraval Pink Floyd Rose at $48 Euros.  A rookie in his first World Series against the hated Yankees I have clutched in the big game.  I have failed my team on the battlefield of Competitive Ordering.
La Bastide
La Grisoliere
La Terrasse
Filet de Veau en cocotte jus a la sauge, petit chou farci
Volaille jaune de Landes a la rotissoire
Fromage Course
Tarte aux agrumes
Crostini de pain perdu, fruits rotis
Pasture with Moustiers in the distance
Parapente high above Moustiers
This carnage transpired at Alain Ducasse’s La Bastide de Moustiers on a hot Thursday past.  It’s been my experience that expensive meals fall into two categories, those that bring a deep buyer’s remorse that cries “what a frivolous waste of our hard earned cash” and another that sighs an ecstatic, somnolent, “Yush, that was worth very farthing.  Where are the hammocks?”  La Bastide delivered the goods and we waddled off like good little piggies. 

I asked Maxim, our waiter, how often the master visits La Bastide and was told that he inspected the property about monthly.  That's a tough schedule for Ducasse with a worldwide culinary melange. According to a NY Times review of the so-called Chef-Impresarios his properties were the highest rated due to the high level of autonomy he gives the talented chefs he hires.  If La Bastide is any indication the recipe works very well, indeed.