Last night was the inaugural seasonal table dinner series at Le Train Bleu at Bloomingdales. Since spring is arriving (sort of… we’re getting a cold blast in NYC soon), our menu that evening is inspired and created with spring ingredients by Executive Chef Jonathan Kava.
As you make your way up and through Bloomingdale’s on 59th Street to reach to the restaurant, it’s unlike other department store restaurants. This is set like an 1870s French dining cart that it is named after. Starched linens, candles and small vases filled with cherry daffodils cover one long communal table for about 30 guests for this special dinner ($150 per person for 6 courses with wine pairings). Walls and ceiling are padded with forest-green velvet accented with dark wood panels and round-cornered windows. The store’s signature brown bags or your own belongings can even be stashed in overhead metal storage racks. There is a duo playing French music throughout most of the evening.
We started our evening with a glass of very fine Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut Champagne to pair with our garden green gazpacho. The green gazpacho was tasty – refreshing and a bit spicy, making it very appealing. The firm yogurt layer that was set on the bottom of the glass had too much gelatin that texturally, it was odd together.
The spring asparagus terrine, elderflower, mint, an pistachio foam had delicate flavors and felt like a taste of spring. The pairing of Chateau Bonnet Blanc Entre deux Mers 2014 worked well just emphasizing the vegetal sweetness of the dish and elderflowers.
One of my favorite dishes of the evening was seared diver scallop with housemade tagliatelle, grilled ramps, tossed in chanterelle creme. The scallop was the star of the dish; seared to perfection and the meat is just cooked through. The pasta was very good and the delicate ramps and chanterelle flavors worked harmoniously with the scallop. The pairing of Sauvion Vouvray 2014 was quite brilliant even though it’s a touch sweeter than I prefer.
The other dish I adored was the squab and foie gras, Albufera sauce, glazed spring onion, and black garlic with the robust Vidal-Fleury Chatauneuf-Du-Pape 2010. I’ve seen a few fellow diners around me were a little squeamish with the squab’s foot intact but I understood and liked that presentation. The squab was very delicious especially with the black garlic and spring onion brought in so much umami flavors. The foie gras added another layer of richness. The wine held up to the deep, complex flavors of squab and foie gras.
The roasted rack of lamb, gratin Dauphinois, and rainbow chard was our last savory course of the evening and it finished strong. The lamb was very tender and cooked to a perfect pink medium=-rare. The dense, creamy gratin Dauphinois was a very good side that my friend who went along wanted more of it. The La Bastide Dauzac Margaux 2012 was another bold medium bodied, soft textured cherries and earthy notes.
Dessert was a shortbread topped with rhubarb, candied orange and fresh mint, paired with a Vidal-Fleury Muscat de Beaumes de Venise 2013. The chef’s idea was meant to be a tart but the shortbread crust was too thick and make it difficult to cut with a fork only. Otherwise, the flavors were fine and it wasn’t too sweet. The sweet but clean flavors of the muscat.
Overall, this dinner was very good. The service was professional and friendly. The food and wines chosen were smart and executed well. The guests were an interesting mix of finance, ladies-who-lunch, and entrepreneurs that made for good conversation.[alpine-phototile-for-flickr src=”set” uid=”26389565@N00″ sid=”72157666136265140″ imgl=”flickr” shuffle=”1″ style=”gallery” row=”4″ grwidth=”1200″ grheight=”800″ size=”640″ num=”30″ shadow=”1″ border=”1″ align=”center” max=”100″]
Le Train Bleu at Bloomingdale’s
1000 Third Avenue
(between 59th Street and Lexington Avenue)
New York, NY 10022
Phone: +1 (212) 705-2100