I went to Ghyslain on Market on a cool Saturday morning right before attending the Flea on Market. Ghyslain, tucked right off Market Street in a renovated carriage house, is the very picture of refinement, an elegant French bistro that manages to stay relaxed while delivering top notch food. The moment I walked through the door I gave up on my diet for the day; there were cases of beautiful little tarts and mousses and chocolates and gelato around the counter, and as we ordered I stared at them and decided that I could probably live with a few extra love handles, if only I could wrap my face around a few bites of those decadent delights. In anticipation of this indulgence, I ordered the roasted beet and goat cheese salad.
People think of salad as this awful “eat it because you have to/are on a diet/watching your cholesterol” food, but the crispness of fresh greens is a great texture background to showcase an arresting combination of mouth feels. The roasted beet and goat cheese salad and Ghyslain was AMAZING. The spring greens and shaved fennel added a super crisp backdrop to the smushy roasted beets, and the strong flavor of creamy, smoky goat cheese. The caramelized pistachios added crunch, and small avocado slices were buttery against the tart grapefruit segments. Aside from the magnificent salad, we had a cup of French onion soup and lobster bisque, with real cream and sweet chunks of meat swirled through the depths. We the chicken salad on a croissant, the chicken salad was still warm and fresh.
We were hard pressed to decide on a dessert, with options like “Purple Rain” chocolates made with dark chocolate ganache, raspberry purée and Chambord extract, or a chocolate genois cake with dark chocolate mousse, inundated with orange syrup and hazelnut, surrounded with chocolate sticks, or a chilly blueberry sorbet that tasted like condensed iced fruit? In the end, we settled for the Soleil Levant, or “The Rising Sun” pastry. The dessert was a sweet and buttery tart shell filled with tangy custard and topped with an airy, egg yolk yellow mango mousse dome, filled with mango coulis. If summer vacation had a taste, this tart just might be it--bright, fluffy, intense.
While Gyhslain was a teense on the expensive side ($10-$15 dollars per entrée, and $3 to $7 for a dessert) the quiet atmosphere, the snappy service, and the fabulous eating made it well worth our while. There’s no place like this to cheat on your diet, or perhaps have an simply smashing salad!
Photos: Elizabeth Orrick