By Jai Williams, Special to EdibleDC When Chefs Christophe and Michelle Poteaux decided to move Bastille from its Old Town Alexandria location to the Parker Gray neighborhood, many may have thought “Why?” Yet the pair knew exactly what they were doing as their new community has embraced them with open arms and their bistro expansion continues. Situated on the corner of Pendleton and N. Fayette Streets, the restaurant boasts large, striking windows with generous patio seating indicative to the upcoming warmer months. Aesthetics aside, it is the Poteaux’s passion and commitment to executing delicious seasonal French cuisine that makes this restaurant a neighborhood gem.
A delicacy in their own right, the frog “wings” had a crisp exterior as each piece was broken down individually making it easy to eat with a knife and fork. Accompanied by a Roquefort dip and Espelette sauce, when eaten together the subtle heat and smokiness provided a well-rounded flavor profile to complement the frog.
When our selected appetizer arrived, the colorful plate of dark red Tuscarora beets, bright green arugula caught our eye immediately. However, the creaminess of a goat cheese tartine juxtaposed perfectly with the crunchy walnuts.
The visual stimulation continued as the main course arrived in its pastel glory. Vibrant, fleshy pink salmon from Skuna Bay (BC) sat atop a tender bed of leek fondue, drizzled in an aromatic dill lemon sauce, and finished with a side of grilled asparagus.
And just when we couldn’t possibly eat any more, we remembered that we had a 2015 RAMMY nominated Pastry Chef in our presence and couldn’t pass on the opportunity. The Pamplemousse dessert brought together the beautiful complexities of spring. Gently burnt grapefruit, slightly sweet Ricotta, softened black peppered meringue peaks finished with a velvety olive oil ice cream had us questioning how something so good could be gluten-free; but it is, and there were absolutely no complaints on our end.
Sommelier Michael Williams paired each course effortlessly as the servers were impeccable in their attention to detail. Not at all stuffy, nor unapproachable it’s evident why Bastille has continued to capture the hearts of Alexandrians and beyond for the last nine years and hopefully many, many more.
Pamplemousse dessert with olive oil ice cream, ricotta cheesecake, black pepper meringue and carmelize grapefruit by Pastry Chef Michelle Poteaux of Bastille and Bistrot Royal
Olive Oil Ice Cream
- 3 1/2 egg yolks
- 3/4 quart milk
- 1/3 cups Granulated sugar
- 1/16 oz. Ice Cream Stabilizer
- 94 ml Extra Virgin Olive oil (Very fruity oil)
Heat milk. Mix together egg yolks, stabilizer and sugar. Temper into hot milk. Cook mixture until the temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Remove the mixture from heat and ½ oz salt and the olive oil. Chill 24 hours. Strain the next day before processing in ice cream maker.
Pour 2 quarts into ice cream maker and set timer, turn on blade and chill button. DO NOT OVER PROCESS!!
Immediately remove ice cream from your maker and place a freezer safe container and seal with a tight fitting lid. Place the container in the freezer.
This ice cream can get hard once in the freezer. To soften leave to sit out and temper on your counter top for 15 minutes or so (depending on how warm your house is) and scoop when ready.
- 12 oz. Whole milk ricotta
- 16 oz. Cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 TBS cornstarch
- 4 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Mix the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch and salt and blend well, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping down the sides of the work bowl. Add the ricotta and mix until smooth. Add the eggs and pulse just until blended.
Pour the batter into 8” springform pan that has been wrapped to prevent water leakage, sprayed with pan spray and sugar coated. Place the springform pan on a jelly roll pan and place that in the oven. Pour enough water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken.
Refrigerate until the cheesecake is very cold. Unmold onto a cake plate or a cake stand.
Black pepper meringue kisses
Makes approx. 100 mini kisses
For the meringues:
- 150g egg whites
- 300g caster sugar
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Line a deep tray with baking paper and the oven down to 100C/212F.
Add egg whites to clean bowl of a Kitchen Aid with 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar. At first whisk slowly allowing small stabilizing bubbles to form, then increase the speed until the egg whites form medium peaks.
Using a large spoon, add the sugar spoon by spoon while continuing to whisk. It is ready once you have a full bodied, stiff and glossy mixture (about 5 minutes).
Stir in the black pepper.
Fill the piping bag ensuring there are no air bubbles. Pipe small kisses onto a lined baking tray.
Bake for 1 hour, then just turn the oven off and leave the meringues in there until the oven has cooled completely.
- 3 Grapefruits, supremed
- 1/4 + 1/8 cups sugar
- 1/4 + 1/8 tsp Corn Syrup
- 1/8 tsp salt
- ¼ cup + 1/8 cup water
- Combine sugar, corn syrup and water and cook until the sugar turns a deep amber color. Remove from the heat.
- Add the juice from the segments and stir until smooth.
- Add the grapefruit segments and salt and stir gently.
- Refrigerate until needed.
- Drain before using.
- Syrup can be strained and used in your favorite grapefruit cocktail.
Bastille Restaurant is located at 606 N Fayette St, Alexandria, VA 22314 neat Braddock Road Metro station - (703) 519-3776.