Rachel Roland is a mom on a mission - exploring beautiful Arizona (and beyond!) with her two little companions, Jeremiah and Sarah, in search of the best restaurants, attractions, and products for you and your children. See what she has in store for your family today!
Very recently, my husband and I visited the beautiful L'Auberge de Sedona's Restaurant, which is situated creekside on the 11 acre L'Auberge property. It's a gorgeous setting for a romantic dinner, and I was thrilled when we had the chance to preview the restaurants brand new tasting menu - "A Culinary Gondola Ride Thru Venice."
This delightful Venetian-inspired tasting menu is the child of Executive Chef François de Mélogue, and this 8 course meal is sure to delight even the most discerning 'foodie.'
The tasting menu ($120 per person) can be paired with wine for an additional $65 per person. The first course, a shared starter of compressed melon and prosciutto is paired with a classic bellini. Both are delicious and a promising sign of the pairings to come.
Next, a chilled tuna carpaccio paired with a Elio Perrone, Bigaro, Mosto d'Uva Rose - an effervescent, almost sweet wine that is delightful next to the tuna drizzled with olive oil, and adorned with baby arugula, mache, and shaved reggiano. This is a light, refreshing carpaccio that prepares you for the next course.
Risotto - a dish that is simply amazing when it's prepared properly, and so incredibly disappointing when it's not. It's no surprise that this porcini, pancetta, and pea risotta was executed perfectly. Paried with Arizona-grown Freitas Vineyard Sangiorose, which was dry and complemented the creamy and slightly sweet risotto delightfully. I mentioned to my husband that peas are woefully underutilized in fine-dining, and they are such a great addition to this risotto.
After the creamy risotto was a shellfish stew comprised of spot prawns, mussels, and clams, paired with Paitin's Campolive Barbera - a rich red wine that balanced the brothy shellfish stew. I have to tell you - this might be my favorite dish. It was simple, delicious stew that was enhanced by the Barbera's fruity richness. I simply loved the broth - I wish I could make broth that good!
To cleanse our palates, an intermezzo of campari-grapefruit sorbetto was brought to the table. This sorbetto - made in-house from the Italian apertif and grapefruit juice - was a lovely interlude before our next course.
Following the sorbetto, was the 'snackini' - a spicy lamb and goat cheese meatball, dipped in 'Grandma's' tomato sauce. This was a single meatball, delicious, spicy and crunchy, that only slightly prepared us for the next course.
The "Primi:" a healthy Wagyu Filet Mignon with salsa verde. Being an Arizona girl, 'salsa verde' to me, means spicy green salsa. Of course, in Italian, it means green sauce, but something completely different - it tasted slightly like pesto, but not exactly. It was delicious, and with the filet and the gnocci pasta - it was amazing. Paired with the Ars Poetica Aglianico del Vulture, it was simply heavenly.
By this time, you can only anxiously anticipate the next - and final - course: dessert. This is a light and flavorful citrus tiramisu - and this summery twist on the classic Italian dessert is the perfect way to end the evening.
Clearly, I've done a lot of talking about the food at L'Auberge. It is gourmet dining at its finest, to say the least. Surrounded by the rushing water of the creek, the gentle breeze, and the beautiful stars, it's an amazing location. The service is impeccable, from our server, to all the other staff, to the general manager coming over to chat wines with us, to Chef François stopping by to discuss the menu. It was an awesome experience that will be one of our favorite memories for years to come, I'm sure!