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Mon Ami Gabi – Tang Family Reunion, Saturday, March 28, 2008 May 4, 2009

Posted by hslu in Restaurants.
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Mon Ami Gabi – Family Reunion, Saturday, March 28, 2008

This French restaurant is our favorite among all restaurants in Reston Town Center, past and present. We went back to try their authentic French cooking again on Saturday, March 28, 2009. This time we bought a crowd with us. The occasion was family reunion and cherry blossom festival in Washington DC.

Jennifer and Bobby came down from NY because Bobby was on his last few days of a 2-week vacation. Jennifer’s xiao ayi flew in from Houston, her dajojo came in from Phoenix, her da ayi came from Livingston, New Jersey and her xiao jojo lives here in NV. I wanted to celebrate this special occasion with a meal they will remember for a long time. I also knew that Jennifer will like this place because their escargot is fantastic and their steak is thick, juicy, tender and median rare. The way it should be.

Our reservation for a table of 8 was at 7:30 PM and we arrived there on time. We were led to a table in the back of the restaurant surrounded by a noisy crowd of about 80 people in that section of the restaurant. We quickly decided our seating and then waste no time to dig into the warm petit baguettes with whipped butter and two other spreads. As they were deciding what they each liked to eat or share, I already knew what I wanted: Escargot, a 6 oz. Filet, and a bowl of French onion soup. I as usual went for the wine menu and started going down their lists of red wines from France. Since I barely heard 1/10 of the wines on the menu, I decided to pick one from the Medoc region of Bordeaux. I picked that particular wine, Haut Medoc – Chateau Camensac, 2005 for $66, because I knew 2005 was an excellent vintage for Bordeaux wines, Camensac is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot which would be easier to drink for several people on the table, and $66 seemed to be reasonable for a Bordeaux wine in a French restaurant like Mon Ami Gabi.

After much debate and going back and forth, here were our selections:

Appetizers:

2 Escargots de Bourgogne – oven-roasted snails, garlic-herb butte

Chicken Liver Mousse – burgundy red wine mustard, warm country bread

Steamed Mussels in Calvados sauce – full order with Fritte. Calvados is an apple brandy from the Normandy region in France.

2 Duck Confit on a bed of lentils, pearl onions with a balsamic reduction

Soup and Salad:

Frisee Salad

2 Salade Maison with goat cheese, olive crouton and vinaigrette

Butter Lettuce – apple, gruyere cheese, walnuts in cider vinaigrette

2 Onion Soup au Gratin – “the French classic” – baked with gruyere cheese

2 Butternut Squash soup – crème fraîche with chive

Entrees:

New York Strip Steak with shallots and burgundy sauce

Filet Mignon – with butter and red wine (Melot) reduction

Bone-In Ribeye – 22 oz. with red-wine wine sauce

Slow-Braised Pork Shank – with white wine and rosemary

Sides:

Green Beans

Cream Spinach

Veggie Sampler

Desserts:

Profiteroles – a vanilla ice cream filled pastry, fudge sauce

Apple and Pear Crumble with vanilla ice cream

Crème Brûlée – a classic. vanilla custard with burnt sugar

Chocolate Cake

The escargot was as good as the ones I had here before: a lot of butter, garlic and parsley. I knew that a lot of Baguette was consumed trying to get the last bit of the butter from each of those 8 holes. The chicken liver mousse wasn’t as good as the country pate we had before. Duck Confit was warm and tender. It wasn’t very greasy but needed a little more seasoning. The bed of lentils was good though. The steamed mussels were definitely above average and the sauce went well with baguette too. Although I could use a little more brandy in the sauce.

The salads were fresh but since it wasn’t my cup of tea, I had a few bites and that was enough. My French onion soup was hot and it was topped with a thick layer of cheese like it was suppose to be. The bread was a bit thick though but the beef stock was concentrated and filled with onions. I didn’t like too much of the butternut squash soup probably because I didn’t like the sour cream in the soup.

The wine was good but not great: dark ruby red in color, fruity on the nose (I couldn’t tell what kind of fruit it was because I am still learning the tricks of wine tasting.) The wine, as expected, was gentle on the palate probably because of the Melot and Cabernet Sauvignon blend. However, the finish wasn’t very strong. I am not too sure what other people thought about the wine but everyone had some and I ordered two bottles so that I would have enough to last the entire meal.

My piece of steak was great: tender and warm in the center. Juicy and with the right amount of seasoning! I also had a few bites from the others but by that time I was too full to fully enjoy other dishes. Desserts came quickly after our table was cleared and cleaned. Some of us had coffee and others decided not to order any after a full meal. Of all desserts, I only had some crème brulée because I was too full to eat anything else.

The bill came with 18% 18% gratuity added. I would certainly give him more than 20% if it wasn’t added to the bill. I added $20 more tips to make it about 23.5%.

Here is the breakdown of the meal:

Food: $313.75.

Wine: $132

Tax: $23.79

Tips: $105.64

Total: $605.18.

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