We celebrated Ellen’s birthday by going to a very nice restaurant in Beaumes de Venise. The village of Beaumes de Venise is located at the edge the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains about 20 km from Vaison la Romaine.
Celebrating a birthday at a restaurant in the winter months (January – March) can be tricky. This is the season of “congé annuel” (annual vacation) for many restaurants. I had suggested a few names only to discover that these restaurants were closed until March 7 or later. I finally made reservations at Le Dolium (Dolium is the word for a Roman clay jar). Sometimes I get lucky. We had an excellent meal.
When one goes to a good restaurant, one expects good food and good service. We were not disappointed! From the “amuse bouche” (appetizer) to the end of the cheese course, everything was well prepared.
The “amuse-bouche” was salt cod presented with a piece of pickled pepper (how many pickled peppers can Peter Piper pick?) and a sprig of fennel. Following the appetizer Ellen had sashimi as her entrée. I had foie gras. Since we share everything (also known as eating à la Ellen), I can say that the sashimi was as good as my foie gras. The main courses were a continuation of what we had begun to expect: excellently prepared and presented food. Ellen had Merlu (hake) and I had a filet of beef.
Often, it seems that vegetables are an afterthought but at Le Dolium, our meals included a nice portion of vegetables. In addition to the veggies, Ellen had a mushroom (morels and asperagus) risotto that was the best risotto I have had. (It sets a higher bar for my attempts to make this creamy dish.)
The cheese course was a round of goat cheese on which they had dribbled some garlic-flavored olive oil served with a small salad of arugula and mesclun.
“You eat first with your eyes”. The dishes at Le Dolium were all very attractive – even the choice of plate styles enhanced the presentations.
Since the restaurant is attached to the Beaumes de Venise wine coop, it is not surprising that they served the wines of the coop. I remember that a French friend had told us that the best of the wine coops in the area was Beaumes de Venise. We shared an excellent red: Terre du Trias 2013.