I am 18. Say what? I am 18 years old now. Wow. Scary. When did I get so old???? I still feel like a little kid. A little kid who loves very grown up fancy shmancy meals. And this is why my parents knew I would love to have my birthday dinner at a grown up fancy shmancy restaurant. And this is why my parents took me to David Burke’s Fromagerie. David Burke, a critically acclaimed celebrity chef, is owner of seven restaurants throughout the country, and luckily, one of them just happens to be right near me in Rumson, NJ. I have been to the Fromagerie just once before- when I was 10 or 11 for my grandparents’ anniversary brunch– and I still remember how incredible that meal was. It was a while ago, so it’s all a bit of a blur now, but I remember delicate pastries, playfully arranged bites, and something that involved lobster. So basically, heaven. I have been wanting to go back for dinner ever since, so when my parents told me we were going for my birthday, I was sooo excited. I ate so much. So much good food. It was an experience to remember.
Burke’s whimsical, but classy point of view was evident throughout the restaurant and the food. I walked into the small, red-awning covered building topped with a cone shaped roof to be greeted by a very friendly waiter, who seated us in the main dining room. The first nod to whimsy was the plates on the table, which displayed an oval-shaped club-patterned blue bird being whisked away by colorful balloons. I marveled at how cute they were, and the waiter replied, “The chicken and the egg! Very David Burke”. And did I mention that the logo for the restaurant is a garden gnome? I like David Burke already.
The bread that was brought to our table in the beginning of the meal was a superb indication of the quality of the rest of the meal. There were a variety of different types of bread in the basket, but all I really needed were the popovers. The flaky and light, hollow rolls melted in my mouth and were made even more moist and flavorful with a coat of homemade butter. Then, before our food came out, we were each brought a complimentary appetizer! The dish was a small crostini topped with Foie Gras, otherwise known as… liver. My only previous experience with liver was the Jewish version of chopped chicken liver that is always served at family parties– a gross spread with the consistency of cat food. But, I assumed this would be a different experience since we were at the Fromagerie, and I was most certainly correct. It’s hard to put Foie Gras into words. It had a buttery, smooth texture, but tasted rich and savory. I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed this bite, and I was sad that it was merely a bite and not a full meal because I would have gladly eaten this foie gras by the spoonful.
As an appetizer to share, we ordered a David Burke specialty which according to our waiter, is served at almost all his restaurants– the Hot and Angry Lobster. This dish was definitely the night’s winner for presentation. It was beautiful and had that special element of whimsy that makes David Burke so unforgettable. Bright red lobster drenched in chili oil and curls of lemon zest made this dish look like a bursting firecracker. I was not prepared for just how hot and angry this lobster would be. It was one of those sensations which starts out with, “Oh, this isn’t spicy at all!” and gradually transforms into chugging a glass of water to cool the heat. It wasn’t just blind heat though; it was complex in flavor and balanced by the lemon as well as shallots, garlic, and dried basil scattered around the plate. I understand now why this dish is served at many of Burke’s restaurants– it is unique, intense, and delicious. My main course was mustard crusted tuna over a bed of corn, chanterelle mushrooms, and zucchini. The tuna was beautifully fresh and rare, and paired so well with the mix of textures and flavors of the vibrant veggies beneath it. As a side to share, we ordered truffle fries. I am crazy about anything truffle. The scent of truffle makes my mouth water and even thinking about truffle makes my mouth water. I feel it happening as we speak. The fries were deeply fried and crispy, but soft in the middle. And of course, crusted with earthy, heavenly truffle. This is everything you could want in a fry. I don’t know if it is possible to conceive a better fry. Kind of random with the mix of sophisticated entrees, but I couldn’t have cared less. These were the fries of a lifetime.
Not only was the food at the Fromagerie spectacular, but the service was impeccable as well. We had a super friendly waiter, and the environment made me feel like I was treated as a celebrity. The overall experience was so enjoyable, and it made my birthday very special! Sophisticated, charming, and incredibly delicious, David Burke’s Fromagerie is a true fine dining experience!
Enjoy! Love, The Perky Foodie