Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Sofitel's New Menu is a True De-Light

I am not a foodie. I don't know my spices vs. my sear marks vs. my baking pans, I just know what tastes good, and what, well, doesn't. And don't even get me started on wine. It's just sad. But, I'm working on it.

So, luckily, last Wednesday, the Sofitiel Los Angeles invited me to try Chef Marius's newest catering menu, De-Light, which they recently began serving in their restaurant, Simon L.A. The concept is simple: a french-inspired three-course meal with less than 500 calories. The food? Delicious.

When I sat down, I was presented with a glass of  Laurent Perrier Ultra Brut champagne, surprisingly light at only 65 calories per glass (!), and a plate of hors d'ouerves.  The one that stood out most for me was the chopped and seasoned smoked salmon, served on an Belgian endive. Soo good.

The meal itself started out with a first course of Spanish shrimp on a bed of sauteed kale, served with sliced chanterelle mushrooms, and a dollop of mustard seed cream.
I loved the shrimp's initial crunch, dissolving into the savory meat inside. The kale and the cream were a perfect accompaniment. I'd never had chanterelle mushrooms before, not that I know of, anyway, but they disappeared off my plate pretty quickly!

The second course was my favorite - grilled halibut with basil and a European salad green called "mache"(totally reading off the menu + google search, but hey - learning!) . The plate was artfully drizzled with a sweet, citrusy sauce, which really worked with the fish and the greens. And, what is that at the top of the plate? A slice of sangria - infused watermelon, that I desperately missed when it was gone.

Time for the third course, dessert, which was a silken panna cotta, with a side of macerated market berries.

This panna cotta was different - instead of Italian cream, which would have blown the calorie count right there,  this was made from sweetened silken tofu. Sounds strange, tasted like cheesecake. All good.

What really struck me about the De-light menu was that it was able to be both light, flavorful, and substantive at the same time. I didn't walk away from the table still hungry, or needing seconds. Wanting, maybe, but not needing! It was a full meal, and a great one.

But I'm a wedding planner in Los Angeles, and my couples have a wide range of culinary experience.  Some are like me, who, faced with a high-end meal like this, might feel the awkwardness of walking into the room with a bag of Cheetos in their purse. Some pride themselves on being connoisseurs who want to impress their guests, others just want to serve their friends and family a good, tasty meal. So, I'm always looking for accessibility, a menu that will appeal to as many people as possible. Could De-Light do that?

Chef Marius assured me that it could, and you could still keep it under 500 calories as long as you stuck with a three course menu.

Starting at $70 per person, evening wedding receptions at the Sofitel usually involve a couple of appetizers, and along with the smoked salmon that I loved, the choices range from tomato gazpacho shooters to seared scallops to something as exotic as octopus with polenta croutons.

One of his favorite salads is the kale salad with shaved fennel, roasted apple and an orange dressing. Or, for a bit more adventure, the quinoa salad with roasted baby beets, grapefruit and red currant. If you're afraid of question marks on your guests' faces, there's also a  mixed california green salad with seasoned tomatoes and fresh tarragon. 

Entrees? For red meat lovers, there's grilled skirt steak, with roasted baby carrots and arugula. If you want to add a poultry dish, serve the Tuscan herbs chicken with lemon-infused potato and capers. If you're not as in love with the halibut, there's also sea bass or lobster and scallops.  -->

For a vegetarian entree, Chef Marius suggested a Vegetable Beef Wellington, with onion, tomato, eggplant, zucchini and basil, baked in phyllo dough instead of puff pastry. Yeah, I kind of want that right now, too. 

For more information on holding your wedding or reception at the Sofitel Los Angeles, visit their website at You can also make reservations for lunch or dinner at Simon L.A. by calling 310-358-3979. 

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events

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