Saturday, January 01, 2005

New year's at Claire de Lune, Byward Market - December 31, 2004/January 1, 2005.

Hubby and I joined a group of friends this year at the Claire de Lune. It will probably be the last New Year's Eve out for a while, so we were totally excited to do it up right with a 7 course meal. We chose CdL over Empire Grill because we knew more people, but I'm not sure we had the better meal - although there were some very good parts.

The reservation was for 8:30 pm. When we got there, there were still people finishing up the previous sitting - and they got kicked out (ouch!) to make way for the later sitting.

Once seated, we started with a little nibbly - it looked like some kind of seafood pate in a vol au vent type pastry cracker.

We then moved into drinks and the first course: Malpèque oysters Rockefeller. In one shell was the oyster (mine was not sliding out nicely) and in the other was some warm melted cheese. That went down rather quickly, so I was glad to see the next course..Small game consommé, served with wild mushroom wontons: savoury, warm and beefy.

We were given a choice of three items for the third course: I chose the Stilton and escargots in a crisp filo tulip. The escargots were tasty - I have a vague memory of when I was a child of finding them weird, but this time they just tasted like mushroms. Which, ironically, was what was served to my veggie friend. Hubby chose the Wild salmon served three ways - smoked, seared and tartare. I don't think I missed a thing, even though I like salmon.

Prior to course #5 (the main course) was the palate cleanser: Champagne and blood orange sorbet. I could taste both the champagne and the blood orange juice, and I really enjoyed it.

The main course was also a choice of three. Not feeling very turned on by pheasant, venison or tuna, I went with the Lobster Thermidor. I ate most of it, but left the parts that I could not identify as white lobster meat (I have a feeling I missed out here).

By that point, it was very close to midnight and we were all feeling very full. It was at that point that course #6 arrived: Heart of Boston lettuce with raspberry vinegar. Not very exciting, much the way that Claire de Lune's approach to ringing in the New Year was very ho-hum.

I was a little disappointed with the way Claire de Lune handled the festivities. Not only was bad music BLARING throughout the dinner (70's-80's pop) but they didn't really give a big heads' up or countdown to New Year. They just flicked off the lights, and then flicked them back on again. Sure they handed out a choice of noisemaker, hat or lei (we paid HOW MUCH for this??), but I think I would have a) timed the dinner service better so that we were done salad a few minutes before midnight and b) made a bigger deal about the event. Isn't that why people go out??

2005 at Claire de Lune redeemed itself with dessert: I chose Double chocolate torte with mint scented crème Anglaise...heaven. Chocolately, but not too sweet. Just the way I like it.

Dancing to the crappy music carried on until 2 am, at which point we came home. Many people were impressed with my ability to be alert and energetic, despite pregnancy. I was happy to stay out as well.