La Panetiere is simply amazing. It is not for everyone and it is definitely more suited for special occasions and splurging. Although, I am sure they have a fair share of loyal patrons who have the luxury of visiting more often than just on a special occasion. For the rest of, we’ll have to wait for a special anniversary, or perhaps a raise. But if you enjoy food as much as I do, it will be worth it.
Visiting La Panetiere is more like visiting a home. Well, perhaps more like visiting a beautiful, country side mansion. The experience begins when you first arrive and a polite valet is there to take your keys from you and escort you to the front door. You’ll walk under gently lit grape vines and into the main entryway where the hostess will greet you quietly.
There are several rooms that you could be seated in, however regardless of which room or on what floor you are seated in, you will immediately feel transported to the French countryside. Traditional wooden hutches and artwork line the walls, and tables are surrounded by chairs with with wooden armchairs to make you so comfortable that you’ll be forced to surrender to the evening. The tables are set beautifully with traditional french patterned plates and settings.
After being seated, a lovely French server asked if we’d like a glass of champagne to start. Having not looked at the dink menu yet, we didn’t know what we would be getting, but the champagne they served us was dry, full of bubbles, and simply a delightful way to start our evening at La Panetiere. Having enjoyed the champagne so much, I had a second glass, whereas Brett opted to go with a Bordeaux that led him to quote, “I have never tasted a wine that good.” That’s a bold statement.
The menu is unwaveringly French and not suited for picky eaters. Thankfully, this is not a problem for me. It lends itself to the seasons, leaning heavily on game in winter months and vegetables and poultry in the summer months. I began my culinary experience at La Panetiere with poached oysters with leeks, which simply melted in my mouth, and had the most delicate flavor I have ever experienced. If someone didn’t know how to ‘taste’ I don’t believe they would have liked them – that is how delicate they were. But I LOVED them. Brett began his meal with the smoked salmon and it was mind altering. I didn’t know smoked salmon could taste like this. It was silky, savory, salty and just a tad sweet. It was so, so, so good and I wish I could have stolen his plate for myself and ordered another one to go.
In between courses, we were asked if would like to order a soufflé for dessert because they are made to order and take some time to prepare and bake. Having not had diner yet, we were unsure if we would want dessert. So they said to us, “Then you wait and see, and if you want one after your meal, you enjoy staying with us for a while more while it bakes.” I was in no rush for my time at La Panetiere to end, so this sounded like a wonderful option and made me feel that they were not rushing us in any kind of way.
For dinner, I ordered the duck, served med-rare which was the only way they will serve it. I actually asked for a medium cook on the duck and our server just shook his head and denied me, so I said, “okay, med- rare it is!” Like my oysters, the duck was delicate and wonderful! The meat was incredibly tender and cooked to perfection. I understood immediately why the chef would only serve the duck at one temperature, which was the right temperature for this meat to reach perfection. Brett ordered the Veal Shank for his main course. The flavors of the veal were much more bold than the duck and was again, cooked to perfection. While the meat certainly fell off the bone, it still somehow maintained its integrity. This is difficult to achieve. Every bite of this meal was remarkably satisfying.
We couldn’t resist the appeal of the that soufflé and so we decided to go for it. We were offered a choice between Chocolate and Grand Marnier. We went big with the Grand Marnier. The first bite left us speechless and e found ourselves staring into each other’s eyes with a look that screamed “O.M.G. are you tasing this?” at each other. It was so light, and so full of the most incredible flavor, that we literally couldn’t find words. We just sat in silence, eyes wide, mouths full and shaking our heads in disbelief at how good this was. I dare say, it was one of the best things I ever ate. I remain speechless over this soufflé.
I love when a place has the opportunity to transport you to somewhere else, even if just for a few short hours. It creates a whole experience beyond just dining. La Panetiere transported me to the countryside of France without having to leave my neighboring village. Here you can enjoy a quiet, slow meal, where no detail goes unturned, and quality is never compromised.
After this first meal, I had the wonderful opportunity to return to La Panetiere for other special occasions and never once has it disappointed. In fact, I have come to fall in love with it more and more with each return visit.
- Special Occasions: Worthy of a celebration
- Romantic Dinner: Perfect for two
- Refined Palates: Taster’s delight
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