Rekindling ties at Daniel Boulud’s BistroBy Aissa dela Cruz
Cebu Daily News
NEW YORK City is the most unlikely place for me to meet up with classmate friends from University of the Philippines in Diliman. I have my Kitchen Stories to be thankful for, a PDF copy of which I share through email with a few of them. And this opened the door to a great reunion. Rosario “Sari” Valenzuela and Priscilla Bautista Perez are both nutritionists who are still working in the Big Apple.
The Sunday before I was scheduled to fly back home, we finally agreed on dinner in DB Bistro Moderne, one of New York City’s top-rated bistros owned by world renowned French chef Daniel Boulud that serves modern French-American cuisine. Dining is always a pleasant experience in DB. Aside from the delightful cuisine by 35-year-old French executive chef Laurent Kalkatour, my daughter Patricia’s colleagues in the bistro are warm and jovial.
DB Bistro Moderne’s young general manager Rachel Ossakow welcomed and led me to our table where Priscilla was already seated. I gave her a long look before I took my seat since I hardly recognized her with the platinum hair.
Sari joined us shortly and we were once again giddy college students of UP
Diliman reminiscing our campus capers. The appetizers, compliments of Executive Chef Laurent were served one after the other: Chef Oliver’s Alsatian Tarte Flambee with Fromage Blanc, bacon and onions, Taste of Mediterranean—a board of Piave cheese, San Daniele Black Label Prosciutto, Tomatillo Marmalade and Marinated Baby Artichokes, Small plates of Legumes du Marche, Yellow Fin Tuna Tartare, Lobsters and Ceviche. Just when we thought we were through with appetizers, Grilled
Escargot Brochette (or on skewers) with Glazed Chicken Oyster, Black Radish, Hazelnut and Button Mushrooms was served. We were feasting on exquisite food in celebration of finally getting together after four decades. And to toast the event, Patricia poured sparkling multi-vintage
Cremant de Jura Tisso from France. Carried away by the delightful appetizers, we almost forgot to place our orders for the entrees or main courses. Priscilla had Black Sea Bass with Summer Squash, Mosto Vinaigrette, Tomato Confit ad Hen of the Woods Mushroom while Sari settled for Assiette de la Mer—Squid Ink Fettucine with assorted seafood: Mediterranean fish Dorade, Branzino (European sea bass) Red Snapper, Mackerel, and Lobster. I chose Australian Rack of Lamb on Coco Bean Fricassee, Sauteed Chanterelle Mushrooms, Crispy Shallots and Rosemary Vinaigrette. We excitedly shared our choices.
Desserts, again compliments of the house, were all heavenly! Dainty warm Madeleines, Nougat Mousse with Glazed Apricots, Pistachio Streusel and Vanilla Apricot Sorbet, La Lune—a beautiful medley of Baked Chocolate Mousse, Coffee Bavaroise, Crushed Amoretti, Espresso Chocolate Sabayon and Bailey’s Ice Cream. Dessert wine, Late Harvest Torrontes, Santa Julia, Mendoza from Argentina complemented the ambrosial creations. Our palates were pampered with so much goodness. I relished each bite, sat back and enjoyed.
As a bonus, the chefs left their kitchens below briefly to acknowledge our accolades for the delightful creations. Twenty-eight-year-old Sous Chef Jean Baptiste Alexandre from Lyon, France ably assists Executive Chef Laurent.