Walter Mencken 2:37 p.m., March 1
Lame Duck a L'Orange in 4S Ranch
Fans of French Food in America's Finest City know the name Philippe Verpiand. He first cut the Dijon mustard at La Jolla's Tapenade as the younger component of a mentor-protégé relationship with chef Jean-Michel Diot before staking his own claim out in the then mysterious new 4S Ranch neighborhood. What came next was Cavaillon, a cozy neighborhood sit-down spot for fans of foie gras, confiture and all things Provençal.
Despite cooking at a less-than-ideal location, Verpiand gained a good rep and a respectable following; a coterie of mixed North Countians who were collectively saddened to hear that come the end of the month chef Philippe will be bidding adieu to the Ranch. In doing so, he will be handing over the cooktop to a new chef - Michael von Euw - a toque of Swiss origin who trained in Europe under Michelin-starred stars and is all about adding his own variations to some of Verpiand's Cavaillon classics while coming up with his own entries for the bill of fare.
Von Euw will officially take over on July 7 (after a brief three-day closing), but until then, guests can experience his inaugural offerings head-to-head with Cavaillon's founding Francois via the following five-course menu:
Von Euw: House-cured Salmon with Micro-Fennel & Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette Verpiand: Diver Scallops with White Corn Risotto & Vanilla Foam Von Euw: Pan-roasted Wild Turbot with Truffled Gnocci & Mushroom Sauce Verpiand: Roasted Duck Breast a L'Orange with Daikon & Glazed Mushrooms. Von Euw: Warm Chocolate Molleux with Lime-Ginger Sorbet & Chocolate Froth
Cavaillon's new Chef de Cuisine, Michael Von Euw