And now that I’ve thrown out all my major gripes and criticisms about my meal at L2o, I’ll tell you about two things that I think they got completely right. The first thing: their bread service. Now I know what you’re thinking. Bread service? How good could it be? Good. Really good. In fact, I won’t hesitate to say that this is the most amazing selection of breads I’ve ever had at a restaurant.
L2o bakes several types of breads in the French tradition on the premises. Throughout the evening, servers bring around trays of various breads to each of the tables. Depending on what is coming out of the ovens, the selection varies. Breads are baked continuously throughout the evening. (I wish I had taken a picture of the trays that they take around from table to table but between several kinds of bread, soaking in the atmosphere, and a 12+ course I was a tiny bit distracted.) Pictured above are just three of the breads I tried. I also tried a pain au lait that was really delicious and a country wheat bread. (For the baking ambitious, you may want to try the pain au lait recipe, which was divulged here. Thanks to Peter for pointing me to the link.) My brother tried all of these breads plus a demi baguette. We both agreed that of the breads, the rosemary salt croissant was a complete standout. As much as I was disappointed by the overall experience, I would seriously consider going back just to eat their bread. Yes. It was THAT good.
Now, the second thing they got right? Well that goes with the first. BUTTER! I know that this is just butter, but holy wow was this stuff fabulous and the presentation was pretty nifty too. Being the idiot that I am I actually thought this was some sort of candle centerpiece sitting on our table. (My brother *totally* rolled his eyes when I said that.)
In any case, when the bread service commences (and not a moment sooner, because the butter starts to oxidize once it comes into contact with the air), the server comes out and flips the glass top. The result is that you get this amazing, perfectly shaped dome of butter. What was most interesting is the way the butter changes throughout the evening. It starts off very hard and cold but throughout the meal as people take away more and more of it, it softens, changes shape, etc. There are subtle changes in the flavor as well.
This butter is, not surprisingly, something that the restaurant churns itself in the kitchen. (My brother tells me that the kitchen has gone to some lengths to get a particular type of culture to make this butter.) The difference is, obviously, quite palatable. In color, taste, and texture, this is unlike any sort of butter I’ve ever had before. (I actually got to see the butter churning machine and the bread oven. Both are *serious* pieces of equipment. We got a brief tour of the kitchen after our meal…but more on that later.)
So how about that?? The things that possible saved a $$$$ meal for me are the only complimentary items from the meal. Go figure.