HVRW: Why Can’t I Eat Like This Everyday? Joan Jennings at La Panetiere in Rye

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I could get used to this. One of my best and oldest friends Melanie Morrissey (who has a past life in off-site catering in NYC) joined me for the HVRW luncheon at La Panetiere on Milton Point in Rye. The only time I’d ever been there was as a photographer at a bar mitzvah years ago and you can’t “dine” when you’re working.

That day I resolved that someday, I would RETURN! And return I did. As you come up the sloping driveway, you leave Rye and enter the French countryside. A wonderfully courteous valet took my old rattletrap car without laughing too hard after having just positioned a Bentley in the parking lot.

The ambiance started at the door and we felt transported to a French country inn. A nice convivial bar was on the left as we entered and we were immediately welcomed, our reservation confirmed and we were seated at a lovely table with a lace overlay, linens, china and silver. Beautiful fresh flowers were in different Quimper-style containers on each table and the salt and pepper shakers were chickens.

The maitre d’ welcomed us and presented us with menus that had a insert with the HVRW special luncheon menu. A waiter brought warm home-baked bread and the sweet butter was served in a pottery holder.  We could have stopped with the bread and left happy.

Our table at La Panetiere

Our table at La Panetiere

But now the trouble started. What to order?

Three appetizers were a seasonal salad, gnocchi ricotta and a winter veloute. The entree choices were equally daunting: seafood risotto, beef short ribs and braised duck. Mel and I both chose the gnocchi and duck with a very generous reasonably priced merlot.

Gnocchi Ricotta with haricot verts, wild mushrooms and pancetta

Gnocchi Ricotta with haricot verts, wild mushrooms and pancetta

The gnocchi were as light as clouds with the moisture and flavor of a fine ricotta.

Braised duck leg with quinoa, pomegranate, vegetables and cranberry

Braised duck leg with quinoa, pomegranate, vegetables and cranberry

The duck (which arrived looking very dark – almost burnt) was extremely moist and flavorful, plated on a bed of quinoa, pomegranates and cranberry.

Dessert was a perfect sampler of 3 wonderfully different offerings: an “Easter egg” of creamy raspberry sherbet, a lemon tart and a mocha layer cake.

The Dessert Sampler

The Dessert Sampler

It was the perfect ending to a wonderful lunch. The service throughout was friendly and impeccable. When we left, Mel and I looked at each other and sighed with ultimate satiation and relaxation. The only way anything could have improved was if the sun came out. But it was shining inside.

At La Panetiere in Rye

At La Panetiere in Rye

The 411 on La Panetiere.

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