March 28, 2008
9 Ngo Duc Ke Street
District 1, Ho Chi Minh Ville
Escargots de Bourgogne – Burgundy snails gratined with garlic, parsley, and butter (180,000 VND)
Salade Nordique au Vinaigre Balsamique – salad with smoked salmon and mackerel with balsamic vinegar (95,000 VND)
Tagliatelles au Saumon –Tagliatelle with smoked salmon and roe with fresh cream (120,000 VND)
Filet de Boeuf – beef tenderloin with Roquefort and mustard (170,000 VND)
Four years ago, The Astronomer and I were “screwed.”
Screw Your Roommate is an annual tradition at our college where students arrange blind dates for their friends and roommates. At an intellectually stimulating and socially depressing institution like Swarthmore, it was the one occasion that merited showering and clean clothes for the bulk of the student body—and all for the slim chance of getting some tail.
My friend James was in charge of “screwing” me senior year and as a last resort, chose a freshman Astronomer as my date. The evening turned out to be not the least bit awkward and fun beyond belief. So fun in fact, that we’re still happily screwed four years later. Thanks, James!
The Astronomer and I headed to La Fourchette a few weeks back to honor the big 0-4. The celebration was not nearly as elaborate as last year’s at Lacroix in Philadelphia, but it was satisfactorily lovely.
La Fourchette is located in a small wood paneled space adorned with vintage European posters. The ambiance is warm and the service is very good by Saigon standards. Soon after we placed our orders, a basket of bread along with a slab of softened butter arrived. The baguette was cool to the touch, which was a letdown for two kids who love warm and toasty bread.
Always a sucker for smoked salmon, I chose the Salade Nordique au Vinaigre Balsamique to start. After receiving a pile of cold cuts at Augustin, I was a bit weary of my selection. Luckily, this time around the kitchen got it exactly right. My plate of lightly dressed field greens, cherry tomatoes and chopped basil topped with smoked salmon and mackerel was fresh, tart, smoky and light. I loved how the intensely salty smoked fish paired with the sharp balsamic.
The Astronomer’s Escargots de Bourgogne was brilliantly executed and on par with the ones he ate in France. Adorned with butter, breadcrumbs, garlic, and parsley, the snails were tender and exceptionally flavorful. The Astronomer happily sopped up all of the garlicky butter with bread.
For my main course, I went with a hunk of red meat. The Filet de Boeuf was decadently sauced up with Roquefort and served with white wine mustard on the side. Although it was prepared perfectly rare, the tenderloin was not as tender as I had hoped. However, the pungent cheese sauce was a luxurious treat. The meat was served with sautéed mixed vegetables that were slightly overcooked and too buttery and potatoes au gratin that melted in my mouth. It’s hard to go wrong with paper thin layers of potatoes coated in cream, eggs and butter.
I did not care much for The Astronomer’s Tagliatelles au Saumon because the sauce contained too much white wine and not enough smoky salmon goodness. The Astronomer was overall pleased with his selection, but disappointed that the salmon roe congealed to the point of being inedible due to the heat from the pasta.
The dessert list at La Fourchette is heavy on ice cream and light on interesting, so we jetted to Augustin for a Grand Marnier soufflé to finish off the evening.