Bite and Booze by Jay D. Ducote

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Beausoleil Celebrates Their First Anniversary!

For the past year I've been raving about how Beausoleil is not only one of my favorite new restaurants in Baton Rouge, but also one of my favorite restaurants period.  Owners Jeff Conaway and Chef Nathan Gresham have breathed a fresh breeze into BR's restaurant scene with their blend of casual atmosphere, soulful dining, and local ingredients.  Their brunch, lunch, and dinner menus change with the seasons and always impress.  Plus, every dining experience begins with fresh pork rinds delivered to your table instead of the traditional bread and butter!  With a bar menu featuring custom cocktails like the Aviator and craft spirits along with boutique wines, Beausoleil is really doing things right!

I recently had the pleasure of attending Beausoleil's One Year Anniversary Wine Dinner featuring a five course meal from hors d'oeuvres to dessert.  Wine pairings came from the Vending Machine Winery which has a local twist as well.  The winery, which is in California, is owned by some excellent Louisianians and is currently only distributed in Louisiana!  The passed hors d'oeuvres featured barbeque rabbit turnovers and shrimp mousse on endive.  The turnovers had a superb texture contrast between the moist and tender rabbit on the inside and the crisp doughy outer shell.  Similarly, the endive had a great natural spice and crunch to it that complimented the creamy shrimp mousse.

When we sat down at our table I knew we were really in for a great evening all around.  My guest Hannah Lane and I were seated at a table with newly weds Brian and Ashley Thom as well as the O'Connors and a few other people.  Pork rinds awaited us at the table, but I knew that I had plenty of eating to do so I didn't overload on them.  I'll admit though, they are incredible hard to resist!  The Premier course brought out a lobster bisque with ghost pepper caviar.  I thought that the bisque would be a little spicier with ghost pepper in the name but Chef Gresham did a marvelous job of incorporating the true flavor of the pepper without leaving behind the intense heat that would have taken away from the delicate lobster and flavorful bisque.  The soup came with the "Loula's Revenge" Chardonnay that contrasted the soup very nicely and left the palate longing for another bite, then another sip, and still another bite.

Our Intermediare course featured a smoked duck breast over mushroom risotto served with a sweet fig sauce.  It paired with the 2009 Vending Machine Winery "Double Shotgun" which is a lovely Petit Verdot/Cab Franc blend.  The duck itself came out masterfully cooked.  The fig sauce had enough sweetness to both contrast with the mushroom risotto and compliment the flavors of the duck.  It actually may have been my favorite dish of the day, which is saying a lot especially with the dish on deck.

Our Principal dish of the evening drew inspiring oohs and aahs when placed in front of the anniversary dinner guests.  Teasing my taste buds sat a blue cheese bruleed New York Strip with crispy fried Louisiana oysters over braised mustard greens and a red wine jus.  Naturally, this dish came with the "Crooked Mayor," Vending Machine's Cabernet Sauvignon.  Everything about the dish worked as I could hardly control myself from gobbling up each morsel as rapidly a Hoover on a dirty floor.  The greens were amazingly tender and the beef had a true flavor despite being surrounded by so many other distractions.  I like to taste a good cut of steak, and I certainly did with this one.  The blue cheese, oyster, greens, and jus only helped add to the party.   

As the Finale to the evening we had a lovely piece of birthday cake and a glass of sparkling wine.  The cake was no ordinary birthday cake though.  The chocolate ganache sat atop salted caramel and underneath some Chantilly cream and fresh berries.  The cake had aspects of dense and fluffy.  It was decadent and flavorful.  The berries, cream, and chocolate all worked together in harmony but were then brought to another dimension by the salted caramel at the bottom.  The cake provided an excellent ending to a magical meal.  Happy anniversary to Beausoleil.  I hope you have many more to come as you continue to make your mark on the Baton Rouge restaurant landscape!

Beausoleil Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon

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