Most of us have "enjoyed" banquet dinners at one time or another, and I'm fairly certain that many of us have been thrilled if the food was palatable and we didn't wind up worshipping at the porcelain throne afterwards. I wouldn't ordinarily blog about a mass-produced meal, but this one was particularly well executed...and being the sole contributer and editor in chief of this here blog, I pretty much do whatever I want (which, in this case, is to throw around some high praise).
La Cote Basque has been a Pinellas staple for eons, but somehow I've never gotten around to trying it. I was finally offered the opportunity when UD and I were invited to attend a birthday party for my GF last weekend. I have to say, these folks did a very nice job of making the food and experience special for all concerned.
I loved the cozy, warm, dimly lit and old-world-European kitschy vibe the minute I walked in. It's a small place that's chock-full of hodge-podge straight out of granny's attic, but the starched white table linens, fresh flowers and beautiful place settings pull everything together in a pleasingly romantic fashion. It really did remind me of France.
The bread was downright stellar...even if it was served with foil wrapped butter pats, which everyone knows by now that I have a high hate-factor for. Warm and tender on the inside, it was crusty, seeded and accented with sugar crystals on the outside. I've never had bread like this before...it is possibly worth the price of admission alone.
The house side salad was above par...simple but fresh with good dressing.
We had a limited menu selection due to the size of our group, but everything was prepared to order (which made for a small wait, but it was so worth it). UD was mightily pleased with his nicely seasoned and perfectly cooked filet. Side accoutrements for everyone's selections (green beans, spicy cabbage, rice pilaf and carrots) were bona fide and quite tasty.
Flounder is one of my favorite pescatarian delights, and La Cote Basque served it up right...lightly egg battered and sauteed in lemon and sherry, it was a wonderful, fresh-tasting rendition.
What a great place for a birthday celebration! The staff worked hard to make everything wonderful and the food was delicious and beautifully presented. Kudos!
Aries Wench (aka "da birfday gurl") and me. Not sure why we look like we've been drinking.
Good times! La Cote Basque is a unique, family-run restaurant and is definitely worth a visit if you enjoy French cuisine (or even if you're a neophyte who just wants to try it). You can expect a very leisurely paced meal (in true European fashion)...so, if you are looking for a mainstream American experience where the food hits the table mere seconds after your arse hits the Naugahyde, stick to the local chain restos because this is not for you.