It has been a while since our last meeting at The Melting Pot, but the Finer Food Society has since had an appetite for some French cuisine. Our most recent adventure: Restaurant Orsay. It’s a small restaurant in Jacksonville that packs a lot of hard-to-find tastes, such as escargot, steak tartare, and foie gras. While I don’t think I’ll ever bring myself to try foie gras, I was up for escargot — because nothing says “finer food” quite like a slug.
During the cocktail hour before dinner, our server recommended “The World’s Best Bloody Mary.” Now, I’ve had some pretty good Bloody Marys before — the best being a NYC brunch special garnished with a strip of bacon. The drink at Orsay was NOT the world’s best. In fact, I’d go as far to say that it was probably one of my least favorite Bloody Marys. Ever. It lacked black pepper and was loaded with salt. The salt was so overpowering that it was the only flavor I could taste in the drink. So, I quickly switched to the Hey Jealousy, a cocktail with cucumber gin and St. Germain elderflower liqueur (because Gin Blossoms were a hit, so I figured this would be, too). The bar redeemed itself with this drink (and perhaps a few others).
After sampling some fromage, and a special scallop treat from the chef, I decided on the Beef Stroganoff as my dinner selection. The beef was so tender that it practically melted in my mouth. The flavor of the meat was delicious by itself, but it was hard to resist dipping it into the broth with creme fraiche, leeks, roasted mushrooms, and pappardelle. Luckily, I was limited to the portion on my plate because I could have easily kept eating it all night long (leaving no room for dessert!). I also sampled some of my friend’s Spring Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie. We concluded that by combining the two dishes into one, you’d have a home run.
And finally, on to dessert with another treat from the chef: macarons, éclairs and canelés. I really wanted to try the Chocolate Guinness Mousse Cake, but I didn’t have enough room to taste everything. I suppose that will just have to wait for next time. Oh yes, there will definitely be a next time!
The Finer Food Society is always looking to try new places. Know of a place in the Northeast Florida region, or perhaps a place worth a road trip, that you’d recommend? Let me know in the comment section below.