Last month, I had a dinner at La Salle Des Ambassadeurs but decided not to write a review since it was a big event. The food was excellent, I enjoyed my time, my plates, my meat and salad. Today, dinner is at La Martingale, the restaurant next door was as good as the event so sharing was a must.
People might think the Casino is old school, and I'm one of them, I’d never planned of coming here for dinner. Open every night and offering a live entertainment with a one-man show and a singer, tonight's experience made me change my mind.
Last month I wrote: "Tonight I had dinner at Casino du Liban. More than 400 invitees all received extremely hot plates, a perfect salmon quality, tasty spinach crepe and a fine portion of a tender juicy meat, non oily mashed potatoes covered with grilled almonds and a very innovative mushroom cake. Bravo, I personally was impressed."
Located just off the gambling district, La Martingale offers an intercontinental cuisine in a peaceful and melodious ambiance. The lounge-like impression of the restaurant allows you to dine with style, in a trendy and tranquil atmosphere. A modern piano bar and talented singers sing the night away while you gently sip on your favorite champagne and gaze at the magnificent bay of Jounieh. You can also enjoy unforgettable scenery in an outdoor setting throughout the summer season on the extended terrace of the Martingale restaurant.
Large round tables were awaiting to welcome us, perfectly set with fine silverware, a bread plate with its knife and an individual butter portion for every guest.Dinner started with a selection of nuts and baked bread salaisons. A choice of fingers covered with roasted sesame, squares topped with local zaatar, square puffs covered with nuts, hotdog rolls and cheese roulades. Airy and crunchy salted creations of a hundred layers of puff pastry crumble under your teeth in such a finesse and style while their inner core is a bit fluffy and enjoyable.
Andre, taking care of our table that night, was one of those professional waiters working at La Martingale. The team is clearly professional and well trained. I enjoyed watching them move around in a synchronized way, all knowing what they were doing.
The menu of choices at La Martingale:
- Mixed fresh seasonal vegetable salad with herb dressing
- Fresh green asparagus tips with parmesan cheese with balsamic dressing
- Saffron mussel cream in a martini glass
- Duo of smoked and marinated salmon, caponata and wasabi cream
- King crab meat with potato mousseline, mixed green salad
- Six oysters "spéciales no. 3" served on ice, with shallots in vinegar
- Homemade foie gras with Porto wine and mango aspic
- Quail with foie gras and mushrooms on French bread with a mixed green salad
- Fresh salmon fillet with zucchini and eggplant cannelloni with horseradish sauce
- Gratin of shrimp on a bed of spinach
- Roasted sea bass fillet, scallops and shrimp bouillabaisse style
- Fresh lobster with herb risotto and vegetables, and a béarnaise sauce
- Confit of duck parmentier with a green salad with walnut oil
- Farm chicken with morel, pasta shells in a chicken sauce
- Tender shoulder of lamb with spicy sauce
- Heart of pork chop served with "charcutière" sauce, fondant potatoes and bacon
- Braised veal breast served with a spicy sauce, apple and pineapple compote with Calvados
- Peppered tenderloin beef flamed with Cognac, asparagus tips and dauphine potato
- Beef fillet "Rossini style", with mushroom stew and stir-fried potatoes
- "US Prime" beef rib, forstière potatoes and béarnaise sauce (for 2 people)
- Crème brulée with griottine
- Apple crumble "tatin" style served with green apple sorbet
- Chocolate soufflé with Grand Marnier and vanilla ice cream
- Pineapple puff pastry with Pina Colada ice cream
- Arlette crunch raspberry served with raspberry sorbet
- French toast with sliced almonds, served with almond ice cream
- Profiteroles with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce
- A selection of homemade ice cream and sorbet
On the menu tonight:
- Meli-melo de saumon fume et queues de crevettes, petites salade, sauce citronnee
- Mille feuille d'asperges, sauce béarnaise legere
- Medaillons de boeuf, sauce madere. Pommes dauphines et press de legumes
- Parfait praline
At first, a martini glass landed in front of each one of us containing melon soup with duck magret; tasty, with all its flavors followed by the feeling of the duck and a slight crunch that explodes with subtle saltiness. Two melon balls end the experience in style. After that was the first dish, a plate of premium smoked salmon topped with a fresh mix of salad, sliced cucumbers and shredded radish, underneath which were hidden four shrimp. Simplicity redefined into a tasty and rich plate. The shrimp were topped with cocktail sauce while the salad was marinated in a lemon sauce, a blend of sweet and sour while the crunch of the vegetables gave off a feeling of freshness.
Now was asparagus time. A mille feuille constituted of two triangular puff pastries filled with diced asparagus while five long green asparagus rested within. The mix was served with a béarnaise sauce that added flavor and an interesting texture. A crispy and tender heart combined with well-cooked asparagus. A plate I loved while two cooked cherry tomatoes added a touch of color. Now for the main plate: The meat. Two slices of a fine and tender beef served along with three potato cubes and a vegetable mille feuille-like cake of tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant. Just as good as it should be, the meat was tender, the sauce tasty and the vegetables served hot. Bravo.
One plate after the other, I was enjoying dinner more and more... maybe because I was not expecting it to be that good. When you say Martingale, or Casino Du Liban, you tend to think, gamblers, smokers, alcohol and maybe just average food. Tonight, I was proven wrong.
The best was kept for last: the dessert. Half a ball of dark chocolate filled with light chocolate mousse and a spongy cake at the bottom, which served as support. The plate was decorated with a chocolate stick and a leaf of white chocolate all bathing in a white sauce with some nuts which added a crunchy texture. Two thumbs up for the chef.
The things I loved:
- The bread was really awesome. Balls of freshly baked bread, crunchy on the outside and super fluffy on the inside. It was so enjoyable!
- The waiters were professional, something that's become rare in our country
- The music, handled by professionals, was good. We enjoyed our night
Good food and good ambiance, The Casino is not only for gamblers but for people who want to go back in time when this institution was a reference point for all around the Middle East. Food and beverage is taken seriously around here.