NOTH­ING BEATS A DAME

SIX COUR­SES OF FAB­U­LOUS FOOD PAIRED WITH

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pre­mium wines, all pre­sented by a dis­creet waiter who ap­pears at just the right mo­ment to sat­isfy ev­ery culi­nary whim? Such ser­vice mas­tery is de rigueur in La Dame by Re­lais & Châteaux, no mat­ter which far-flung sea Sil­ver Cloud sails. With but 12 ta­bles to feed, La Dame’s deft chef fusses and frets over ev­ery plate un­til each of the mul­ti­ple com­po­nents har­mo­nize into one awe- evok­ing dish.

The menu reads like a mul­ti­course love af­fair with food. Costly cov­eted in­gre­di­ents, from Nor­mandy but­ter to Li­mousin beef, star in nearly ev­ery course. Do you love caviar? Ex­pect one en­tire ounce as a por­tion. How about foie gras? Try this take on seared goose liver: clev­erly pre­sented with Bordeaux wine– poached pear, sa­vory pear crisp, and Poire Williams (pear liqueur).

Con­sider La Dame’s Co­gnac- splashed lob­ster bisque, the gas­tro­nomic take on the lit­tle black dress — time­less and chic. No or­di­nary bisque, it’s light on cream, de­pend­ing in­stead on its highly con­cen­trated shell­fish stock base and plen­ti­ful Maine lob­ster chunks for fla­vor.

I usu­ally es­chew sor­bet in­ter­mez­zos as a sug­ary af­fec­ta­tion, but when one stars the French Men­ton lemon — praised as the world’s sweet­est — then yes, please. This sor­bet tastes like the most amped- up lemon I’ve ever eaten, nearly shock­ingly cit­rusy and bright.

The dou­ble-thick lamb chops are juicy enough to de­vour un­adorned, yet the thyme- in­fused silken lamb jus makes the lamb taste, well, more lamb-y, and even juicier. And how pretty is the mod­ern mar­riage of lob­ster tail paired with pea jus? The slick green sauce just pops against the red shell­fish.

If you pre­fer a sa­vory, rather than sweet, dessert, may I sug­gest the French cheese plate? Ex­pect goat, sheep, and cow cheese, vary­ing in tex­tures from creamy to hard. Oth­er­wise, or­der a Grand Marnier souf­flé. Its bak­ing is timed like a mil­i­tary oper­a­tion; it ar­rives all puffy and still quiv­er­ing un­der a glass dome.

With a golden crust and cus­tardy cen­ter, it’s tech­ni­cally per­fect; I doubt Ju­lia Child could do bet­ter. Wield­ing a tiny knife, the server ex­pertly slashes into the mid­dle and pours in a con­sid­er­able amount of crème anglaise. How easy it is to pol­ish off this souf­flé. I even scrape the ramekin sides, for the last pos­si­ble bite.

Fi­nanciers — dainty French tea­cakes ex­ud­ing a caramelized but­ter and al­mond aroma — are La Dame’s sig­na­ture pe­tit fours. Don’t you dare re­sist. In­dulge ap­pre­cia­tively, and think let­tuce leaves tomorrow.

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