L'Epicerie Market, the escargot shines

Mr. Borscht and I have been to L'Epicerie Market on one other occasion, for a birthday lunch.  I remember asking if they had escargot then and remember being sorely disappointed when the waiter answered that escargot was only served on the dinner menu.  And so on this night, a chilly Thursday evening at 7:30 PM at L'Epicerie Market on Culver Boulevard for yet again another birthday dinner, dressed in our casual best to meet family and friends for a quiet celebration and idle catch-up chatter, I have in the back of my mind a pulsating but pleasant thump of anticipation that echos in the depths of my ears and head "escargot~".  But allow me to leave the high-light of the evening feast to last.

To begin Sauteed Field Mushrooms, a fancy way of saying mushroom crostini (pictured above).  A mound of sauteed mushrooms tossed in Black truffle vinaigrette and laid out beautifully on toasted country bread topped with arugula and grated parmesan.  I love mushrooms, it's nearly my most favorite vegetable if not the favorite but this aesthetically appealing dish ceased to impress me as the natural earthy flavors of the sauteed mushrooms were quite lost in the heavy-handed Black truffle vinaigrette, and all my palate was able to discern was the sweet tangy Black truffle vinaigrette.  And however fancy this Black truffle vinaigrette may be it will never be fancy enough to stand up to my love of the natural earthy flavors of mushrooms, which again, was terribly lacking in this mushroom featured appetizer.

Second app, beet salad consisting of colorful beets, romaine hearts all tossed together with a sherry vinaigrette and topped with grated parmesan (pictured below).  Sadly another heavy handed job on the sherry vinaigrette which resulted in the loss of natural flavors from the beets being exemplified, instead I was met with beets that were too sweet from the vinaigrette.

I feel partially to blame for Mr. Borscht's slightly bland Halibut, as I told him to choose this dish over his other choice.  Halibut laid ontop of mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach with a bit of capers lemon sauce and brown butter (pictured above).  My first impression after getting two fork fulls of halibut, spinach and mash potatoes was that it was.... blaaaand.... and because of it quite boring, almost put me to sleep- another sad story indeed!  What I should have done was taken one for the team for the sake of my conscious and traded Mr. Borscht my plate for his since I suggested this bland Halibut... But I just couldn't, my little angel apparently wasn't speaking loudly enough amongst the loud din of the restaurant.

Duck Confit, fried leg of duck laid ontop of buttery soft sauteed potatoes sarladaise that was tossed with a couple of strips of green onion, slices of garlic, and the kicker?  Chanterelle mushrooms (pictured below)!  The potatoes with all the goodies was absolutely wonderful and perfect (and I did leave half of that for Mr. Borscht) but lets not forget the main feature of this entree the leg of duck.  The skin was crispy which leads me to believe that this duck was either fried or roasted very well, the duck meat?  Very sub-par, I found most of the meat to be tough, chewy, sometimes even stringy.  Okay, so I may have had a couple of bites that were absolutely moist and delicious but they were hidden and very rare treats.  I may not have had many potatoes as good as the ones in this dish but I surely had duck that was better.

This 2.85 Star restaurant review finally gets to the high-light of the evening, Escargot a la perigourdine, Escargot cooked and tossed in White wine sauce, bits of garlic and topped with thin slices of Serrano ham (pictured below).  The escargot itself was cooked to perfection, soft, moist, not too chewy... more, buttery in texture than anything else.  The flavor of the escargot mingled just right with the white wine sauce and garlic, allowing the flavor of the escargot and the white wine sauce to come through nicely together and separately at the same time.  Most times I find that escargot cooked in its usual manner: butter and garlic, is a bit too buttery and garlicky which results in a rather heavy-feel for such small creatures, but the escargot a la perigourdine at L'Epicerie Market was a very pleasant change that lightened the dish considerably, and I dare say I prefer it in this manner than the traditional.  Escargot fan?  Give this escargot dish a try.

So while all the other dishes of the night may have been a miss and in the case of the Duck Confit, a near miss, at least I can say that the escargot was absolutely delicious.

Total Damage:  $84.00 +/-

1 Sauteed Field of Mushrooms
1 Beet Salad
1 Escargot a la Perigourdine
1 Duck Confit
1 Fish of the Day

9900 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 815.1600

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