Cafe Pierre, located in the heart of Manhattan Beach brings a little of that French and Italian charm. Over a dozen of us foodie bloggers were invited to a wonderful dinner hosted by @TinyNancer and @ThatsSLife. I gladly obliged as I wanted to try authentic French food and meet my fellow bloggers as well. This meal was accompanied by the flash of many a camera. I for one was glad that I wouldn’t be the only one being the food paparazzi this evening!
Starting off with bread accompanied by olives and herbs and an eggplant caponata which is composed of olive oil, garlic, basil, and balsamic vinegar. The bread was warm and very fresh. The olives were a bit spicy, however the eggplant was sweet and smooth in texture which was very agreeable. This was just the beginning of what would be a very memorable meal.
Next up were a series of dishes served in mason jars that were all made from scratch. The presentation was unique and memorable. Among the selection of jarred dishes were pig trotters ($8) head cheese with mustard dressing ($8) hand cut prime bavette beef tartare ($14) pork rillete ($10) and sardines.
I found that the beef tartare had the one of the best presentations. Although it was slightly spicy for my taste, it was one of my favorite dishes of the night.
The pork rillete was remniscient of pulled pork sandwiches found back south in Tampa. The rillete didn’t have the sweet taste associated with Cuban pulled pork, rather a very very mild adobo taste. Truly nothing like filipino adobo but very faint notes of it were in the dish.
I’ve always been fond of sardines and these were no exception. My only qualm was picking out all the bones from the fish, which proved to be slightly amusing.
After the interaction, discussion, and of course consumption of the jarred meals, a series of starter dishes were brought out that included brandade provencale which was salted cod and potato puree with toasted bread crumbs and olive oil ($12), house cured Tasmanian trout with lemon,serrano,and honey mustard ($13) roasted marrow bone with pickled radish and red wine onion compote ($11) and escargots with garlic flan ($12).
I loved the texture of the brandade provencale. However, the taste was nothing too memorable.
The house cured Tasmanian trout with its accompaniment of lemon, serrano, and honey mustard was another one of my favorite dishes of the evening. Very light in taste (and hopefully in calories) the portion was just right and something I would probably order again.
I wasn’t a big fan of the marrowbone. I may be in the minority on that one but to each is own. It was a bit too gelatinous for me.
The escargots, served with a garlic flan and pine nuts had a chewy texture and was earthy in taste. The garlic flan made for a wonderful complement. This was the first time I tried escargot and yes it probably won’t be the last time I eat it.
Pan seared sweetbread veal sweet bread with roasted carrots and parmesan jus ($28),70 hours beef short ribs cipollini onions, swiss chard, fries and red wine sauce ($28), and Becker Lane pork special were just a few of the selections on the next round of entrees.
The sweetbread was a bit too rich for my liking, however I truly loved the carrots and parmesan jus.
The short rib was very tender and the steak fries were cooked well. I’m not too big on red meat but I think I’ll make an exception with this dish. Out of all of the entrees, this one was my favorite by far. As long as the steak is cooked to the point it cuts like butter and is juicy and flavored well, I’m a fan. Looks like I’ll be coming back to Cafe Pierre for this one.
Chef Lauvand spoke to us about some of the dishes. He explained that
the pork dish originated from an acorn fed pig. The shoulder alone weighed 50lbs and the sausage was stuffed in house. He was proud to say that the charcuterie and jar meals were also made from scratch.
The pork sausage was definitely one of my favorite dishes. Growing up on chorizo and longaniza, and many sausage & egg quesadillas in college, I think it’s safe to say I can’t turn this down despite my diet which was admittedly forgotten about that evening.
The dessert course included chocolate and vanilla bread pudding which I had never tried previously to that night. I liked the chocolate pudding just slightly more. The poached pear had a nice texture considering that I’m not too fond of a pear’s uncooked texture. It was a light dessert, something I’d get on my own since the dinner portion was pretty filling. Finally there was nothing to complain about as far as the apple tart was concerned. The fruit and crust were cooked properly and the portion was perfect. These three desserts were a wonderful way to end the meal but if I had to pick one it would be the bread pudding.
I thoroughly loved the meal. If I had to narrow it down to my favorites of the evening, they would be the pork rillete, house cured Tasmanian trout, short rib pork sausage special, and bread pudding. It was a experience that I will mention to friends time and time again. I truly enjoyed getting to know my fellow bloggers and also be given the opportunity to dine at a wonderful restaurant in my own backyard. I would definitely recommend Cafe Pierre as one of the places to go on a date, just like Valentine’s Day which is right around the corner!
Cafe Pierre is located at the heart of Manhattan Beach and is open for lunch and dinner. A metered parking garage is conveniently located behind the establishment. Reservations are highly recommended. The average menu price for dinner is $22. I would like to thank the ladies at @ThatsSLife for hosting this wonderful meal and for inviting me to join them.