Anniversary Dinner at Cafe Provencal

After 42 years of marriage, trying to find a way to celebrate that hasn't been done can be a challenge,however a nice meal in great surroundings is always a good option. This year we decided to use a gift card our daughter had given us to a hidden treasure Cafe Provencal in Williamsburg, VA.  When I say it is hidden, I mean that even people I work with who live in Williamsburg do not even know about this jewel.  Maybe because it is inside a country hotel (Wedmore Place), inside a winery (Williamsburg Winery), but believe me, it is worth the winding drive and elevator ride down from the hotel lobby- kind of like Harry Potter running toward Platform 9 3/4- like entering a different world!  The location, service and food are just amazing, the perfect choice for a leisurely "occasion" meal, and the staff treats you like you are the only guests there.

Gorgeous oysters were perfect!
While we chose wine and the bartender made my Cosmo, a small basket of warm cornbread and rye bread slices were brought to the table, which only whetted our appetite.  We decided since it was a special occasion, we
decided to have appetizers first.  My husband was quick to choose the oysters on the half shell, a half-dozen that came on a bed of ice and with fresh grated horseradish and champagne mignonette sauce.  I selected a Scallop Ceviche, that truly looked more like a work of art than something to eat.
 This was my first time having scallop ceviche and the taste and texture were just amazing.  Served with cantaloupe and green papaya salad and a fermented pepper sauce that added just the right amount of heat, and a crisp with sesame seeds that I think was for garnish, but added a crisp texture an sweetness to the dish- it was a perfectly composed dish with a variety of complementary textures and flavors.

After the successful appetizer course, I wondered how our entrees could stack up.  My husband decided to go with the duck breast that was served with smoked duck pastrami, a wine-poached peach and a carrot-cardamom jus and he was not disappointed.  The duck skin was crisp, and the breast meat was pink and succulent.  The artistry of jus and other complements are usually lost on my husband, but suffice it to say he cleaned his plate!  I decided to go with the market fish, which that night was black sea bass (after I determined that
Duck breast entree with pea shoots
"whole" fish meant without the head)! The plate again was pure artistry, but beyond how it looked, every single component was absolutely delicious.  They brought me a bowl so I could remove the bones which was very convenient. The fish was just delicious, flaky and flavorful with a crispy skin accompanied by a watercress nasturtium sauce that perfectly complemented the fish. The spotlight for me was shared with the cashew butter that was an accompaniment- creamy with a distinct cashew flavor.  I ate it with the lion's mane mushrooms until I ran out -  I honestly wanted to lick the plate, but I didn't think I would make it to my 43rd anniversary if I did.  The potato croquette also on the plate was not up the the standards of the
Delicious black sea bass and see those little mounds of cashew butter?
rest of the plate in my opinion- it was good, but not really complementary to the rest of the plate.  But no worries, my meat and potato-loving spouse scarfed it up and declared it delicious.

I wish I could share pictures of our desserts- mine was a chocolate terrine plate with a flame broiled marshmallow that was amazingly rich, and my husband opted for the dessert cheese board- but alas, my phone battery died.  You will have to take my word that it was incredible, and the server brought a a glass of sparkling Gamay to toast our anniversary. All in all a wonderful meal to celebrate yet another year of marriage, and an experience that I would definitely recommend.
Chef's amuse bouche-oyster with pumpkin pesto


barb said…
Anne Coleman said…
What a beautiful dinner - and I'm so happy to "see" you!