March 5,2010–early reservation
Bresca: This is our first trip in since the summer of 08. Another unofficial participant of Maine Restaurant Week.
3 Courses for $40.10
First Impression: I felt very, very girly walking through the door. The lighting made everything seem like a dreamscape; menus were pink; side table was a gorgeous antique. The banquette seating really opened up the dining area and eliminated the cramped feeling that we had before. The music was varied and the staff nicely controlled the volume as we noticed the music lowered was turned down to a near whisper as the general buzz of the restaurant increased.
The Mrs: Late Winter Salad: Candy Cane Beets, apple, walnuts, endive, lettuce, buttermilk dressing
Me: Foie gras bon bons, winter fruit chutney, toasted almond; pickled Sparrow Arc farm pumpkin; Chorizo and gorgonzola stuffed dates
There wasn’t a bad piece of food on either one of our plates. In fact there could have been a platter of the Foie Bons on the table and I still would have longed for a bit more. And while the foie was velvet, it was actually the chutney that did it for me. And, for those that know my love of fatty livers, that is a bold statement. But, it was all there: Salt, Sour, Bitter, Savory and Sweet–all perfectly balanced. While I was moved at Boda, I was immediately connecting to the plates that were coming out. The salad the Mrs. ordered had come at a high recommendation from Kate and was greatly enjoyed by both. Everything about the dish was light and refreshing, not to mention just visually stunning.
Split: Sea Urchin Linguini ~ uni, evoo, basil, mint, lemon zest–Add on for $11
Before we went, I had read a recent interview with Erik, Krista’s husband, where he talks very deeply about her cooking and the balance she keeps of masculine/feminine…and I kept that in the back of my mind throughout this dish, as he mentions it specifically in the interview. Having never had Uni, I decided to take a shot at it.
And, as it turned out, it was everything that I had hoped it would be. A co-worker who also had ordered it the previous night called it “Ethereal” and I have to say he’s not far off in his assessment. The level of delicacy and assertiveness that was brought into balance in that half portion, which was a perfect sharing size, is absolutely unmatched. Buttery, lush and surprisingly light this is truly one of the best dishes I have ever eaten in my lifetime.
The Mrs: Honey Glazed Duck Breast: roman trading spices, Amarone poached dried plum, frisee, soft mascarpone polenta
Me: Fish Special:Seared Cod with braised tomatoes, capers, basil, hericot verts
Duck is a rare find in our house as I’ve never gained a great appreciation for it nor the skills to properly cook it. So, when the opportunity arises for the Mrs. to order it when we’re out, she jumps at the chance. Bresca, from reading various reviews, apparently does a mighty fine version of it as it seems to be one of the most reviewed items from her menu (you can include the Panna Cotta on that also). And while I could have gotten fat and happy just sitting there with a bowl full of the polenta the duck was still just a little too gamy for my tastes. The Mrs., however, loved everything about it.
I’m not quite sure if the Cod dish has exactly those components (fuzzy memory and all) but I know that the dish itself was wonderful. This skin on the cod was beautifully crispy, the salt of the capers balanced the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes that popped from the slightest pressure of my fork. Probably the 2nd best fish entree I’ve had–only to be rivaled by Evangeline’s Halibut and micro-mussels that I had last year.
Dessert: The Mrs.:Strawberry and Banana Creme Brulee Napoleon
Me: Buttermilk Panna Cotta with tropical fruits
By this time, I was drunk on food and the desserts were like doing shots when you know you should have stopped a few tips back. But, honestly not having dessert at Bresca would be foolish and short of an insult. And, just as quickly as we beat back the idea about being able to fit any more food, we were suddenly invigorated and wanting a second round, especially the Napoleon–which Kate does a great job summing up during her own venture out.
But, we needed to go as there was only an hour or so between this meal and our next venture… not to mention that was also ready to repeatedly stab the pretentious local English Professor, who spent the majority of the 2 hours dining next to us and seemed to be slowly torturing her waitress with her wine knowledge and special demands. I’ve got a pretty high threshold for pretension and wine/food snobs–you kind of have to be when it’s your job–but this woman was insane. Ordering for her two friends, completely dominating their conversation with her own verbal diatribes on wine, how she’s been given certain perks at Bresca(1/2 glasses of wine, I guess was her big thing because we heard it overandoverandover again) and why she doesn’t like the new younger professor on staff, but feels he’s good for the students because he can relate more to them. 2 hours of this.
Ambiance: Stunning. One of my absolute favorite moments of the night was sitting, just beyond the service nook leading to the kitchen, and watching Krista’s shadow kind of dance around on the wall while she plated desserts. I loved the contrast of the softness and feminine feel, while above on the chalkboards is the drawing of a steers head and another drawing, just below the ‘1 cheese’ listing, nudging you to “Eat More Pig”..with a heart over the ‘i’.
Service: Impeccable and welcoming. We were one of the first tables to be seated and we never felt dropped or forgotten about throughout the entire meal, even as they attended to needier customers. Another nice feeling was that there was never a point where we felt rushed, which I heard some friends had experienced during their outings for RW.
Food: There is one quote to best sum it up: “When I am eating, I know nothing. But when I am finished eating, I begin to understand. ” –Don Quioxte During the meal, we were caught up in the lushness and decadence of it all..but, later on that evening I realized that this was simply the best meal that I have ever had the privilege to eat. I can’t believe it took us so long to go back and now it seems I can’t dine there again soon enough.