Bouchard Restaurant, Newport, RI

October 2011 in New England for a friend’s wedding

David and I flew into Hartford, Connecticut for a friend’s wedding, but stayed on for an extra day to take advantage of being in New England in the fall. We drove a somewhat meandering route from Southbury, CT to Rhode Island just for a day trip. As it was somewhat spur of the moment, I hadn’t planned anything particular, but a quick internet search on the best restaurants in Newport, which was to be our final destination, yielded several mentions of Bouchard Restaurant. Apparently, it was renowned for having some of the best soufflé. We are not ones to pass on the promise of tasty French food, so we quickly made a reservation.

The dining area was sweet and comfortable, bathed in a soft, warm glow. We were soon seated by some finely-dressed waiters and eagerly perusing the menu. I opted for a glass of sparkling wine, and David, after a taste, soon followed suit. After some debate, I opted for the lobster bisque as an appetizer and cornish game hen breasts on bread with paté finished with a truffle foie gras madeira sauce. David went with the chef’s house paté to start and re-stuffed lobster and scallops with truffle, Gruyere cheese and lobster sauce. The waiter re-informed us that their soufflé was the best he’d ever encountered, and they have to tiptoe through the kitchen with it to prevent it from falling. We’re not ones to resist such an elaborate dish, so we also pre-ordered a soufflé, apparently because of the preparation time.

As we waited for our meals, munching away on warm buttered bread, we paused to simply soak in the lovely ambience and the hushed din of conversation. It wasn’t long before we were digging into our first course. The lobster bisque was absolutely divine–the flavour was intense, sweet and salty all at once. Wonderfully well-rounded, I scraped every last drop from the bowl. David’s paté was also tasty, strikingly fresh and brandied. Our main courses were similarly heavenly. David had never had lobster, as a full meal in and of itself, and was very appreciative of its sweetness and tenderness. The cream sauce, not surprisingly, was appropriately delicious. My cornish hen breasts were also excellent, and paired well with the paté and sauce. Each dish was also adorned with an elaborately displayed collection of whipped yams and potatoes (yum!) and other vegetables. Stuffed full, we carved out a little corner for the soufflé, which our waiter poked a hole into, pouring a cream sauce down the middle. It was tantalizingly airy, a light, eggy confection that was super tasty. All in all, a truly excellent meal and well-worth the two and a half hour drive from Connecticut. The next time we’re in New England, we’ll definitely be swinging by again.

 

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