31 December, 2009
La Residence (Chapel Hill) — Restaurant ReviewComments : 2 Posted in : Dining in Chapel Hill - NC, Restaurants on by : The Gourmez
202 West Rosemary Street
Downtown Chapel Hill
La Residence is a cozy, fine dining establishment that specializes on local food with a French influence. They’ve been around since 1976 and plenty of family work here, even when they are just in town for vacation. The service was a wee bit too attentive for me but we’ve all got our own service preferences, and this was definitely appropriate for a four star establishment. Rat Park music played in the background, and our room was painted with a warm, clay brown that kept the ambience from feeling dated.
The light, white, fluffy bread reminded me of the frozen, ready-made loafs I’ve baked at home recently, except that this was a million times better. Chives were mixed in with the butter, always a nice touch.
I had North Carolina trigger fish, a first for me, with a Spanish saffron beurre blanc sauce; potato, andouille sausage, and sugar snap pea hash; and two crab cakes.
The hash presentation was fun and it tasted great, too, with only a little heat from the sausage. The sugar snap peas were an interesting addition, but I think I might have liked the hash better without the crunch they provided. The citrusy beurre blanc combined well with both the hash and the trigger fish, which I thought tasted vibrant and delicious. I’ll definitely be ordering trigger fish again! The bell pepper bits added a wonderful smell to the dish as well. I didn’t have any idea what purpose the teeny crab cakes had on the plate, though. Very fresh crabmeat, but it had herbs that were so bright they overwhelmed the crab taste, and they just plain didn’t fit with anything else on the plate. Otherwise, I loved it!
My friend was less enthused with her vegetarian entrée because her portabella steak had a taste and texture that was too close to meat. For new vegetarians, that’d probably be a plus but for someone who’s been one since her teens, it just was too close of a resemblance for her taste buds. She enjoyed the rest of her dish, though, especially the potatoes.
My friend ordered the chocolate apricot decadence torte with a honey-almond truffle for dessert.
I tried a bite and it was dense and lovely, but definitely not what I was in the mood for, which is bizarre, considering, you know, it was chocolate. My choice was the pumpkin-praline cheesecake with pumpkin seed toffee and spiced whipped cream. It hit the right sweet tooth for me!
The pumpkin layer was delicious as was the crust and sauces. I was disappointed with the whipped cream-no spice that I could taste! The dense top layer was the consistency of marzipan and just . . . too . . . much. I loved the pumpkin seed toffee but it would have been so much better with a milk or dark chocolate coating rather than the white one. I know that’s a lot of complaints, but it was really good!
There were fabulous elements in our meal and ones that made us stop and ask, “Huh?” Ambience was lovely, especially at our table by the fireplace. I liked the imagination used in the meals, even if I didn’t think it always succeeded.