4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

It’s like being in France

La Bonne Table brings Provence (and great cheese) to Hillcrest

This cheese is so great it doesn’t require accoutrements.
This cheese is so great it doesn’t require accoutrements.
Place

La Bonne Table

3696 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

When I think of France, I think of food: real food, fresh food, quality food. Freshly baked baguettes, perfectly ripened cheeses, savory charcuterie, and of course the Mother sauces: béchamel, espagnole, hollandaise, and allemande. Even the word “chef” is French.

David and I have had some of the best meals of our lives in Provence, and we discovered firsthand that the food isn’t too shabby in Paris and Nice either. Though I enjoy all of the French-themed restaurants here at home, it wasn’t until a few nights ago when I stepped foot inside La Bonne Table that I felt transported back to one of those perfect Provençal bistros I adore.

Sponsored
Sponsored

La Bonne Table
Cocktails

The illusion was made whole by the adults and children conversing in French at the tables surrounding us. For a moment I thought we’d need to ask for menus in French, but our server turned out to be as American as apple pie. And his lack of accent, for whatever reason (call it mono-lingual insecurity), made us feel that much more comfortable as we settled into our seats in the dining room that wasn’t much larger than my mother’s living room.

We began with a cheese plate and aperitifs. I got The Saint ($10), a gin-based martini with St. Germain, and David ordered the Automne en Normandie ($10), a warming cocktail with Calvados (apple brandy), honey, and lemon.

But the cheese. Forget all those crackers, nuts, and fruit compotes that come with most cheese plates, this cheese (imported from France via Epicure out of Los Angeles) is so superb it doesn’t require accoutrements, though we appreciated the poached baby pear and balsamic reduction. Of course we were provided fresh, warm demi-baguettes, but we mostly enjoyed savoring just the naked nibbles of the Saint-Nectaire, Morbier, and triple crème cheeses.

Confit de Canard (duck confit), with lentils and fig glaze
Truite Amandine

The menu is sparse, with only six appetizers and six entrées to choose from. Our server explained that the chef/owner prefers it this way so he can focus on his best execution of each. David went for the Confit de Canard ($24) with “crispy and tender” duck thighs, lentils, and a fig glaze. He is a bit of a duck confit snob and heartily approved of this iteration. He enjoyed the contrasting flavors and textures, from the earthy lentils to the rich, sweet fig sauce, as well as the refreshing dressed salad nestling in a radicchio leaf.

I didn’t taste David’s dish because I was too busy enjoying my own, a Truite Amandine (trout almondine, $23). The ten-ounce trout was roasted whole and served with giant asparagus spears, toasted almonds, and a lemon butter sauce that made me want to lick the plate. The filet was tender and moist and contrasted nicely with the satisfying, nutty crunch of the toasted almonds. But the real star of this dish was that delicate sauce, which seemed to highlight but not overpower the natural flavors of the trout, asparagus, and almonds.

We didn’t make it to a third course, but we’re going to try to get back to La Bonne Table soon to continue tasting our way through the rest of the menu.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Frogmen sleuths used by Bill Koch against other yachtsmen

Editor's picks of stories by Bill Salisbury
Next Article

La Jolla Institute for Immunology studies the affects of Alzheimer’s in women

“Women have different vulnerabilities to AD, and also different protections against it.”
This cheese is so great it doesn’t require accoutrements.
This cheese is so great it doesn’t require accoutrements.
Place

La Bonne Table

3696 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

When I think of France, I think of food: real food, fresh food, quality food. Freshly baked baguettes, perfectly ripened cheeses, savory charcuterie, and of course the Mother sauces: béchamel, espagnole, hollandaise, and allemande. Even the word “chef” is French.

David and I have had some of the best meals of our lives in Provence, and we discovered firsthand that the food isn’t too shabby in Paris and Nice either. Though I enjoy all of the French-themed restaurants here at home, it wasn’t until a few nights ago when I stepped foot inside La Bonne Table that I felt transported back to one of those perfect Provençal bistros I adore.

Sponsored
Sponsored

La Bonne Table
Cocktails

The illusion was made whole by the adults and children conversing in French at the tables surrounding us. For a moment I thought we’d need to ask for menus in French, but our server turned out to be as American as apple pie. And his lack of accent, for whatever reason (call it mono-lingual insecurity), made us feel that much more comfortable as we settled into our seats in the dining room that wasn’t much larger than my mother’s living room.

We began with a cheese plate and aperitifs. I got The Saint ($10), a gin-based martini with St. Germain, and David ordered the Automne en Normandie ($10), a warming cocktail with Calvados (apple brandy), honey, and lemon.

But the cheese. Forget all those crackers, nuts, and fruit compotes that come with most cheese plates, this cheese (imported from France via Epicure out of Los Angeles) is so superb it doesn’t require accoutrements, though we appreciated the poached baby pear and balsamic reduction. Of course we were provided fresh, warm demi-baguettes, but we mostly enjoyed savoring just the naked nibbles of the Saint-Nectaire, Morbier, and triple crème cheeses.

Confit de Canard (duck confit), with lentils and fig glaze
Truite Amandine

The menu is sparse, with only six appetizers and six entrées to choose from. Our server explained that the chef/owner prefers it this way so he can focus on his best execution of each. David went for the Confit de Canard ($24) with “crispy and tender” duck thighs, lentils, and a fig glaze. He is a bit of a duck confit snob and heartily approved of this iteration. He enjoyed the contrasting flavors and textures, from the earthy lentils to the rich, sweet fig sauce, as well as the refreshing dressed salad nestling in a radicchio leaf.

I didn’t taste David’s dish because I was too busy enjoying my own, a Truite Amandine (trout almondine, $23). The ten-ounce trout was roasted whole and served with giant asparagus spears, toasted almonds, and a lemon butter sauce that made me want to lick the plate. The filet was tender and moist and contrasted nicely with the satisfying, nutty crunch of the toasted almonds. But the real star of this dish was that delicate sauce, which seemed to highlight but not overpower the natural flavors of the trout, asparagus, and almonds.

We didn’t make it to a third course, but we’re going to try to get back to La Bonne Table soon to continue tasting our way through the rest of the menu.

Comments
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Q&A’s Diamonds & Pearls: an intro to oysters

“Diamond” activated charcoal gives it a texture more than a flavor
Next Article

Sultan Baklava brings its kebob back to El Cajon

The Turkish bakery once again joined by its counterpart Mediterranean grill
Comments

Have you ever been to France? To Lyon, Grenoble, Dijon, Toulouse, Reims or Perpignan?

Nov. 30, 2015

Yes, I've been to France, a few times. I say so in the story above. Just reading the headlines today? ;)

Dec. 1, 2015
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close