Belle Mer offers free private menu tasting for the bride and groom. Belle Mer no longer has a menu that you can choose from. Their new “custom menu” works differently.
First, we discussed the type of menu we like for the wedding with our assigned Belle Mer event coordinator. The Belle Mer culinary team then created a menu proposal based on what we discussed. We were able to make changes or add or subtract items from the proposed menu until the tasting. Note that the Belle Mer culinary team likes to create their own version of the usual items, like duck sauce for example. They won’t provide the regular duck sauce you can get from the grocery store, they create their own duck sauce.
When we didn’t like an item, the chef discussed with us possible alternatives. We then had to trust them to create something better or at least something we may like, as we would not be able to taste those alternatives as per Belle Mer policy.
Before I start saying what I thought about the food, I just want to say that I’m not a food connoisseur and my description of the food is not very good.
Now on to the food (click on images to enlarge)…
BUTLER-PASSED HORS D’OEUVRES:
Vegetable Fresh Rolls with Cucumber Dipping Sauce
I’m not a vegetable fan and I don’t like cucumber, so this wasn’t my favorite. But it was a good vegetable option. There was a good amount of vegetables and the wrap tasted great.
BLT on a Savory Spoon
This was John’s favorite and my second favorite. The spoon was edible, but it wasn’t crispy as I was hoping it to be. The portion was really really tiny.
Kumomoto Oysters with Spicy Mignonenette Gelle & Smoked Sea Salt
Oysters are my favorite, but I didn’t like these oysters too much. I couldn’t taste much of the oysters, the taste of the Mignonette Gelle was too overpowering. It didn’t help that the oysters were tiny too. So we told the chef to replace the gelle with cocktail sauce. The chef told us she’ll create something similar to cocktail sauce.
Lamb Noisette on a Rosemary Spear with Lemon Mint Aioli
This was my favorite hors d’oeuvre. The lamb was cooked just right and the lemon mint aioli perfectly complements the meat. It was a good portion too.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken Filet with Sweet Corn Relish
The chicken was tender and juicy. It was really good. However, I didn’t like the sweet corn relish (I’m not a relish fan) so we asked the chef to propose another garnish. The portion size was big.
Bacon Dusted Sea Scallops with Red Pepper Jelly
John and I love bacon and scallops. And Belle Mer’s version of the Scallops Wrapped in Bacon hors d’oeuvre is the bacon dusted scallops. We loved it, but I didn’t like the red pepper jelly. I thought it was too sweet and didn’t go well with the seafood.
Grilled Littleneck Clams with Spicy Parsley-Garlic Butter
I like the Spicy Parsley-Garlic Butter on the clams. Unfortunately, the clams were chewy so we didn’t go with it.
We are having a Far East Experience cocktail display and requested some Filipino items included. Belle Mer usually don’t include cocktail display items at the tasting, but I requested some of the Filipino items and here they are…
Pinoy Pork BBQ
The pork was tender and juicy and flavorful. However the sauce was more on the sweet side and tasted more like teriyaki instead of barbecue sauce.
Lumpiang Shanghai with Duck Sauce
Lumpiang Shanghai is the Filipino version of an eggroll. The eggroll was great, but the Belle Mer duck sauce was very sweet. I had to ask the sauce changed. I really wanted the regular Chinese duck sauce, but they create their own duck sauce so they said they’ll tweak it to make it less sweet. Hopefully it will turn out more like the regular duck sauce.
John and I both love New England clam chowder so we requested that to be included in our menu. But the chef suggested something lighter, as New England clam chowder might be too heavy for a Spring day wedding. So here are the soup we had…
New England Shellfish Bisque with Pernod and Red Pepper Rouille
It was very “seafood-y” in a good way, but still not as good as a New England clam chowder. It is lighter and it didn’t have anything in it, just soup.
Mushroom Barley Soup with Goat Cheese Croutons
It tasted good, but it wasn’t something we would order over some soups that we regularly order.
Caesar Salad with Baby Green & Red Romaine with Ciabatta Crostini and Parmegiano Reggiano
It was good and Caesar Salad is the only salad that I eat, so we went with this of course.
Field Greens & Watercress Salad with Haricot Vert, Shaved Red Onion, and Creamy Cucumber Dressing
I thought there weren’t enough dressing on it. But it was alright.
Champagne and Lemon Intermezzo
The lemon intermezzo was creamy while the champagne is more “icy.” John preferred the lemon, I preferred the champagne. So we decided to get small scoops of both.
The entree portion of the tasting was my favorite, even though I was already full by then. All the entrees were delicious! It makes me hungry now just thinking about them.
Olive Oil Poached Free Range Chicken with Crispy Pistachio Crust + Parsnip Puree & Bay Scallops Sautee with Garden Peas & Wild Mushrooms
The chicken was again very tender and juicy. The parsnip puree perfectly complements the chicken. I don’t like pistachios but the pistachio crust was great. The peas and mushrooms were alright.
Grilled Filet Mignon with Sweet Onion Parsley Relish + Shrimp & Leek Risotto / Lobster Risotto & Vanilla Baby Carrots
Like the chicken, the filet mignon was tender, juicy and flavorful. I loved the shrimp & leek risotto, it was creamy and not too seafood-y. We were served lobster risotto as well as another option to pair with the chicken or filet. I loved it too and chose it over the shrimp & leek risotto.
Truffled Spring Vegetables + Pearl Onions, Leek Puree & Hand Rolled Potato Gnocchi
I don’t like vegetables, but the leek puree and potato gnocchi were great.
All photos were provided by Belle Mer. It was nice for them to do that so we only needed to focus on the food at our tasting. Our event coordinator also brought 8 (more than we requested) sample linens and chargers for us to look at! She was very helpful and very responsive.