Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Review: Northshore Brasserie

I know that I am very lucky to get along with my parents so well. And to not just get along, but to truly have fun with them. Today, as a thank you for the lunch I made for her last week (and also because she's just awfully nice), mom took me out to lunch, at the location of my choosing. I had been hearing about this new traditional French brasserie on the (far) west side of town, and I thought that lunchtime would be the ideal time to give it a go. I am so, so glad that we did.

The decor was evocative enough of France that it made me a little giddy and excited to be there, as well as a touch nostalgic. The menu sealed the deal, with lots of classics represented, as well as some new players that honestly made my mouth water.

Mom and I decided to split two dishes to get the maximum out of our visit. Mom always deferrs to me when we eat out, so after some serious agonizing, I picked out the Fried Oyster Salad and the Lobster Club, as well as a lovely rosé. Before I get into the divine main courses, I feel I have to talk about the bread. This may very well be the best bread I have had, stateside, ever. The baguette was crusty on the outside, with just a few grains of fluer de sel, and the inside was a testament to all that is chewy and delicious. They serve their bread at the Brasserie with soft herb flecked butter, and it's good they only give a small piece, because I could have done some serious damage to my appetite with this yeasty wonder.

I'm going to try and snap myself out of the breadlust and think about the entrees. Oh, there we go, how I love to relive a great dish like this. I started with the Lobster Club, and for something so simple (generous chunks of lobster, thinly sliced tomato, spears of avocado and a thin lettuce leaf on lightly toasted bread), this was really a master piece. Quite possibly one of my favorite sandwiches ever, and as far as lobster goes, up there with Pearl Oyster Bar's Lobster Roll in satisfaction. Alongside the delectable sandwich was a tangled pile of wonderful frites, crispy and delicate and, like the bread, sprinkled with fluer de sel. They were so good that ketchup seemed to be a shame, although it was thoughtfully provided.

Now, on to the salad. There were a lot of things to get my attention with this salad--for starters, the presentation was lovely. One half of a heart of romaine lay prostrate with oven warmed cherry tomatoes, crunchy delicate fried oysters, white anchovies, and a tangy parmesan dressing draped along the length. The surprisingly good white anchovies mixed with the dressing to give the salad an almost Ceaser-like feel, but much better. When you took a bite with all of the elements included, you could really see how much thought went into this creation.

I honestly can't wait to return to the Northshore Brasserie, however my unemployed status doesn't get me out to dinner much these days. I have already put in a "birthday dinner" request to dine here, though, and my mind drifts down the tempting menu in anticipation. Lastly, the food is important, but having good service really makes or breaks a dining experience, and our waiter John was a conssumate professional. He knew to get a feel for his customers and tailor his approach thusly--luckily my mom and I are a pair of clowns and basically super easy to deal with (once you get past the jokes and all that). But really, we spent more than 2 hours at lunch and never felt the afternoon dragging by. A million stars (seeing as how this is my first review, we'll just have to see how that stacks up, no?)!

I know most of my readers are not from this area, but don't you want to visit?


Skeezix said...

Man, I'm all over you on the bread lust thing. In my mind there is nothing finer than bread, good delicious bread. Although I prefer an herbed olive oil as opposed to herbed butter. Whatever, I'm not going to turn that shit down.

LE said...

Hm. Knoxville really is only about 6 hours away...

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Marianne said...

Ellie, you and Tim need to find a way to make a detour through here when you move back up north. I'll make it worth your while!

Felicia--thank you for the link!

Anonymous said...

Can we please please please go here during Camp?


Marianne said...

I'm way ahead of you darlin'.

beerbitch said...

drop me a line at

southernbrewnews@aol.com if you would like to write a review for publication in our paper.

not much $$, but some.

tjb said...

I am eight hours from Knoxville but have chosen to eat at the Northshore Brasserie at least seven times - not just because my son is the sous chef. OK, the trips to Knoxville are to see him, but trust me if the food wasn't the best, I wouldn't keep returning...the desserts are to die for and I haven't eaten the same dish twice because there are so many to try. I have not yet been disappointed. I am happy you enjoyed eating there.