La Table du Cap, St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

October 15, 2007

On October 11, 2007 Linda and I dined at La Table du Cap, which had opened three months before in the site of the former Le Provençal, a disappointing restaurant. The dining room and terrace have been redone in a simple modern style. There is art for sale around and about.  

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The evening was just a bit too cool to serve on the terrace so we were seated inside. The tables are nicely spaced and one can see the stunning view east down the coast even if not seated by the window. There is also an upstairs dining room. 

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We ordered our apéritifs, champagne for Linda and a glass of white burgundy for me. Cherry tomatoes with brown bread, a cup of sea salt, a cup of tapenade and two little pieces of meat on a skewer were brought.
 

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As we had decided to order the tasting menu, the chef, Laurent Poulet, 32, came out to compose it together with us from dishes on his à la carte menu. He is very personable; he listened to our ideas and made good suggestions. From the limited wine list we ordered a bottle of 2005 Château Sainte Roseline. This was nice, although a bit young, which was good news as I have an unopened case of it in our wine cellar. 

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The delicious amuse-gueule was a small eggplant roasted with fleur du sel, fine sea salt.
 

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Our first course was a Poêlée de Girolles du Var, tartine de jambon San Daniele, parmesan et riquette. This was a nice dish of sautéed girolles, seasonal wild mushrooms, accompanied by a breadstick with ham and cheese. 

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Then came a Pressé de Foie Gras de canard aux figues, chutney de poire William, pain à la châtaigne & aux noix, réduction de vin rouge, vinaigrette aux noisettes torréfiées, confiture de tomate et salade mélangé.  A slice of duck foie gras pressed into a terrine with fig jam was served with toasted nut bread, three condiments and a small salad. There was a spoon of a foie gras/cognac mousse to start it off. 

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The fish course was a Filet de Saint Pierre rôti en cocotte, en feuille de figuier de Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, palets de pulpe de pomme de terre nouvelle, jus corsé à l’estragon.  A piece of local fish had been wrapped in local fig leaves and cooked in a little cast iron pot. It was served with two variations of potatoes and a little beaker of sauce which seemed to be tomato enhanced with fish stock and tarragon.  

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The meat was Carré d’Agneau rôti en cage d’aromates de notre région, Cèpes du pays Varois poêlés, jus simple.  The sautéed cèpes were terrific, but the lamb had an undistinguished brown sauce, the only real failure of this meal.  

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A cheese cage was presented and we asked the waiter to cut us little pieces of five different cheeses. They were properly ripened. Warm chestnut flour bread was served with them. 

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The predessert was a foamy cream flavored with orange zest served with an orange peel confit and a chocolate stick.  

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The dessert was four variations on fresh raspberries:
A glass of juice;
Fresh with a pastry cream between wafers;
A sorbet with thin wafers;
Warmed in a cocotte with a cinnamon stick. 

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The mignardises were presented on a tray with a bonsai.

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Small canvases with marking pens were available by the bar so Linda used her artist’s talent to depict the view from the restaurant of the Tête du Chien and to leave our best wishes to the chef.
  

The restaurant plans to close at the end of this month for further remodelling. It will reopen in March and plans to stay open all year. Its reputation must be established by a year from now as St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is really dead in winter. The upscale clientèle will need to be attracted from Nice and Monaco.

We were happy with our meal. A total of 225 € for the two of us with a modest bottle of wine is quite high for a new unstarred restaurant, but one doesn’t go to Cap Ferrat for bargains. While our tasting menu was at 80 €, there was also a limited menu at 56 €. The chef has worked in a lot of places, including Pierre Gagnaire back in his St. Etienne days; he must be sturdy as he has worked for both Jacques Maximin and Clément Bruno. We hope he can settle down now and enjoy his talents.

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On the way out we admired this Pegasus by the terrace. It is by Paul Guiramand who did the big painting of the three musicians in the front hall of our New York apartment.    

www.laurentpoulet.com

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