• officially the best meal of my life. thanks, madeleine bistro.

    February 18th, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, madeleine bistro, vegan events

    it’s no secret that i’ve eaten vegan food from all over the world. from paris to london, manhattan to fort lauderdale, san francisco to los angeles—i’ve sampled the fine restaurants that numerous different cities have to offer. and after stuffing my face full of just about every type of vegan cuisine, one establishment continues to stand out as my absolute favorite: madeleine bistro.

    earlier this week while most people were celebrating romance and valentine’s day (pffffft), i was celebrating nothing more than the fact that madeleine bistro was offering a seven course chef’s tasting menu. ever since experiencing the insanity of chef dave’s multi-course new year’s eve dinner just over a year ago, i have been dreaming of returning to madeleine bistro for another special holiday meal. i went there this valentine’s day with the absolute highest expectations, yet they were still somehow exceeded. i’m not exaggerating when i say that in my 26 years on the planet, this was the best meal i’ve had yet. just have a look…

    lapsang souchong-cured portabella gravlax: house-made pretzel bagel, pine nut creme cheese, braised potato salad

    madeleine bistro kicked things off to a phenomenal start with course one: “lapsang souchong-cured portobella gravlax, house-made pretzel bagel, pine nut creme cheese, braised potato salad”. admittedly i have no idea what many of those words mean, but i do know that this dish was spectacular. a hearty portion for a tasting menu, the plate came with a fresh salted pretzel bagel topped with thick homemade cheese on one side, and marinated mushrooms on the other. i saw fellow diners eating this all kinds of different ways, but mine went down quite well pressed together into sandwich form. add to that a soft and silky potato salad with what i believe was a purple cabbage garnish…incredible. after polishing off every crumb on our plates, my husband and i both looked up and agreed we would like seven courses of pretzel bagel. little did we know, this was just the beginning!

    asparagus bisque: butter-poached asparagus, blood orange confit, smoked cheese foam

    time for course number two: “asparagus bisque, butter-poached asparagus, blood orange confit, smoked cheese foam”. this velvety soup was bursting with all kinds of flavors and textures—the sweet gooeyness of the oranges, the pungent crunchiness of the asparagus, and the smokey fluffiness of the cheese foam made the perfect combo. speaking of the cheese foam…flavor-wise, this is the closest taste i’ve ever eaten to real dairy since becoming vegan. texture aside, this really tasted like aged cheese. insanity. chef dave knows how to keep it interesting with every bite.

    grilled eggplant salad: wild arugula, avocado, icicle radish, tomato, kalamata olive vinaigrette

    round three was the “grilled eggplant salad, wild arugula, avocado, icicle radish, tomato, kalamata olive vinaigrette”. supposedly this salad was somewhat improvisational. the original course was supposed to consist of hearts of palm and passionate fruit vinaigrette, but the ingredients didn’t arrive in time. what chef dave was able to “come up with” on short notice was indeed one of the best salads i’ve ever eaten. the grilled eggplant had a firm and almost meaty texture, which was perfectly complimented by the crunchy vegetables and cool avocado. even my husband, who normally dislikes eggplant, was licking his plate clean.

    wild mushroom porridge: pan-roasted oyster mushrooms, egg over easy, sauce mousseline

    course four was arguably my favorite: “wild mushroom porridge, pan-roasted oyster mushrooms, ‘egg’ over easy, sauce mousseline”. in english, what does that mean? i have no idea. lemme tell you what it tasted like to me. in the middle of the plate was the porridge—an oatmeal-like mixture of intense mushroom flavors that was absolutely delicious, with meaty mushrooms on top of that. (yes, i LOVE mushrooms!) to the left of the plate was delicately cooked crunchy asparagus with a smearing of luscious milky sauce. to the right of the plate was one of the craziest things i’ve ever eaten…a vegan egg made out of and filled up with god knows what:

    DO YOU SEE THAT VEGAN EGG?!?! it truly is one of the most “holy shit, how do they do this?” items i’ve ever eaten. fried and crispy on the outside, with innards so soft they melt in your mouth. oh damn, madeleine bistro, why can’t i eat you for every meal?!

    flame-broiled seitan medallion: yukon gold potato puree, grilled brussels sprouts, truffle sauce

    now we are on course five. now i am so full, i have no clue how i am going on. but now, the food keeps getting better and better… I. CANNOT. GIVE. UP. number five was more epic than the description lets on: “flame-broiled seitan medallion, yukon gold potato puree, grilled brussels sprouts, truffle sauce”. this was basically a full sized dinner portion (forget about the other 6 courses, this would fill you up) of succulent seitan, creamy mashed potatoes, crispy sprouts, and fragrant gravy…all made to the highest quality possible. it’s like good old-fashioned vegan meat and potatoes…but on deliciousness steroids.

    cheese fondue...

    next up, course six. so good, it nearly killed me: “cheese fondue with selected dipping accoutrements”. above is the fondue for two, which was served in a homemade bread bowl. below are the vegetables and fruit for dipping: different varieties of lettuces, cauliflower, broccoli, apples, and baby bell peppers (i didn’t eat the bell peppers, because i hate them!).

    ...selected dipping accoutrements

    to be honest, i only ate a few of the vegetables, but i nearly demolished the entire vat of nutty vegan cheese and its containing bowl. i’ve never eaten “real” fondue, but i am certain that it can’t be any better of this. the cheese was extra heavy and went down perfectly slathered all over the torn-off pieces of crusty bread. I DIE!

    chocolate degustation: white chocolate mousse with almond truffle, s'mores, panko-crusted chocolate croquette, chocolate malted milkshake, chocolate softcake with strawberry compote

    just when i thought i was ready to crawl into the corner and succumb to a debilitating food coma, the final course arrived: “chocolate degustation: white chocolate mousse with an almond tuile, s’mores, panko-crusted chocolate croquette, chocolate softcake with strawberry compote”. thank goodness the portions were so small, because each one of these bite-sized morsels was decadent beyond belief. the malted drink brought back childhood memories of now forbidden milkshakes, and the panko-crusted chocolate tasted like deep-fried fudge. talk about the perfect end to a perfect meal.

    it’s a high priority of mine to eat delicious food on a regular basis, and i know that i’m going to remember this meal for many years to come. every course was spectacular, and brought new tastes that i’d never experienced before in life. if you ever get the chance to eat a madeleine bistro tasting menu, take it! you can thank me later. at $125 per person, this was definitely one of their more expensive menus…but can you really put a price on life-altering food? if you honestly can’t afford a chef’s tasting this elaborate, madeleine bistro offers smaller menus quite frequently for much less money. keep your eyes peeled.

    i took this menu home, and i'm gonna frame it.

    until then, madeleine bistro is open friday through sunday…and along with the normal menu, chef dave usually has some pretty tasty surprises up his sleeve.

    madeleine bistro
    (for the most up to date info, stalk their facebook!)
    friday – saturday: 5pm – 10pm
    sunday 10am – 3pm and 5pm – 9pm

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21 responses to “officially the best meal of my life. thanks, madeleine bistro.” RSS icon

  • i agree. truly the best meal i’ve ever had. there’s no way day to day food can compare. that bread bowl/cheese fondue was TO DIE FOR.

  • Oh my GOD that looks amazing. We went to Bottlerock since I saw MB’s menu was so mushroom-heavy. Last year’s V-day tasting menu was just as incredible, though. Viva Chef Dave!

  • Absolutely agree!!!! Had my first (but not my last!) meal there over Valentine weekend! AMAZING!!!!!!!

  • My goodness that looks amazing. If I had the $$$ I would be there all the time 🙂

  • I am green with envy right now. That looks freaking spectacular!

  • I don’t even have words to describe the food envy I have right now. The picture of that “egg” is blowing my mind! and don’t get me started on the pretzel bagel and chocolate sampler!

  • It would be nice if they didn’t hide the prices.

  • FYI, the prices weren’t hidden. everywhere i saw it mentioned, they said $125 per person.

  • It’s called White Balance. Look into it.

  • I was anxious to see the dessert and it did not disappoint. Tip: Lula’s Sweet Apothecary offers vegan malteds…yes, they are perfection.

  • You are SO LUCKY to have gone to the Valentine tasting! LOVE GREAT FOOD NO MATTER WHAT DAY IT IS and Chef Daves ALWAYS OUTDOES HIMSELF!!! 🙂 VIVA VEGAN FOOD!!!

  • ughhhhh I am soooo jelly!!! My bf just does not “get” fine dining so I hate dragging him to these things because I know he doesn’t enjoy it as much as I do. But after seeing what I missed out on valentine’s day–I’m thinking it’s time to toss the bf to the curb and get a new one! Just kidding…kinda…

  • That “egg” looks amazing! I wish I could have gone! But the price was unfortunately too high this year for my pocket book. However, maybe it is a good thing since my boyfriend hates mushrooms and eggplant! But it looks divine to me!! 🙂

  • Seems to be overpriced by at least 40 bucks.

  • When you consider the hours and weeks of research and experimentation and preparation the chef goes through, as well as the all organic ingredients (including a lot of expensive nuts!) all dedicated to one evening of dining, the price seems a little more understandable. It’s a vegan dining experience you can’t find anywhere else on earth.

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    That looks spectacular!!!!!!!! 🙂

  • i’m pretty stunned by the pic of the egg…”wtf” seems in order. happy you two had a great Vday dinner. cheers!

  • i just reread this and laughed out loud at “deliciousness steroids”

  • wow. incredible. I am now wishing I hadn’t told my husband not to make a big deal about Valentines day. Im going to start saving up now to make it there next year!

  • Words cannot convey how envious I am! I actually said, “Oh shit!” a few times while reading/looking at these pictures. A meal to remember for sure! Wow.

    And that egg… I WANT! I don’t miss eggs or anything, but damn, that looks delicious.

  • Wow. It’s been way too long since I’ve been there. Definitely agree that it’s one of the best vegan restaurants I’ve ever been to – still holding a candle for Candle 79 though, though they’re pretty much neck and neck.

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