So, last night I celebrated my birthday over at Plumed Horse in nearby Saratoga with JC. I knew very little about the restaurant except that it had been recently renovated and had received a Michelin star for 2009.
When we first arrived at the restaurant, the hostess took us over to their large windowed wine cellar with a see-through glass floor. Looking down, you could tell that there was a ton of wine down there. Deep below, you could see one of those rolling staircase things that libraries often have. After this mini-tour, we were promptly seated.
The restaurant was not too crowded, and had really cool lights that slowly changed colors. The decor was quite modern, and it didn't feel like some stuffy place that only old people could enjoy. They brought out their two wine lists... one for red and one for white. The wine booklets each had a table of contents that listed the wines by varietal and then in each section they were further classified by region.
Now, I'm not a big wine drinker, and I'm the first to admit I don't know jack about wine. JC drinks a lot more of the stuff, but she too readily admits not knowing much about wine beyond 'it tastes good' or 'it tastes bad.' So, we gave a price range and had the sommelier choose a wine that would go well with what we ordered. What he recommended for us was the Domaine Serene "Evenstad Reserve" 2005, which I now know is an award winner. I thought it went very well with the meal, but I'm no expert.
We were served an amuse bouche consisting of little bite-sized snacks of meat, salmon paste, and quail eggs with smoked ham. Additionally, they gave us a couple crunchy cheese puffs on sticks with a dipping sauce. The salmon paste cracker thing was really delicious, as was the quail egg and smoked ham combination. They followed this up with a mushroom soup and creme fraiche.
Here's a not so great picture of the mushroom soup. We didn't use flash on the early pictures, thinking that the lighting was sufficient... we were obviously mistaken.
After tasting all that good stuff, we were ready for more. We shared a lettuce and fennel salad and also a cheese fondue plate with potatoes fried in duck fat and black truffles.
And, here's a not-so-good picture of the cheese fondue.
For our main courses, I had the South Texas Antelope, which was served with a antelope and garlic sausage over lentils. Oh man, this was delicious. The meat was not gamy at all, and so tender, so juicy, and just full of flavor. I need more of that in my life. The sausage was good, but it didn't knock my socks off as did the actual slices of antelope meat.
JC had roast duck breast and foie gras (her favorite). I had a bite, and while it was also really good, it didn't quite have as rich a flavor as my dish. I definitely preferred my dish over hers, but I don't think I would have any complaints if the dishes were swapped.
After our main course, we were served what they called a 'pre-dessert.' It was a tropical fruit sorbet topped with orange foam. It was nice and refreshing, and got us prepared for our actual dessert. We ordered a chocolate souffle with Yuzu marmalade, which I thought was good, but not too special. If I ever go again, I think I'll try something else.
At the very end, we were served complimentary dessert wine and given macaroons and cookies.
That's pretty much it. The service was really great. The maître d' introduced himself to us and took lots of pictures for us. He also took us on another mini-tour of the restaurant showing us their champagne dining room used for intimate settings, their chef's table room with a large glass window view of the kitchen, as well as their lounge with a large fireplace.
Here's a glimpse of the kitchen as viewed from the chef's table.
I've been to a fair number of nice restaurants, and I'd have to say that this is one of the better ones in my opinion. I'd love to go back some time with friends and try out their tasting menu. If you're ever in the area seeking a fine dining experience, then I highly recommend Plumed Horse. An amazing meal to be sure.