L’Auberge Sedona, AZ

I have heard of L’Auberge as the high end restaurant in Sedona for as long as I can remember.  Why it has taken us so long to dine there I couldn’t say.  We have eaten at some of the finest and best restaurants around the world, and the most notable restaurants in Sedona (namely Elote and Dahl & Deluca), but somehow L’Auberge has alluded us.   That is… until now.  In Sedona for a special birthday weekend we stayed at L’Auberge’s sister hotel, Orchards Inn, and made reservations for dinner at L’Auberge.

The menu is broken into Appetizers, Fish/Vegetarian & Meat/Poultry.  Choose 2, 3, or 4 courses.  We choose 3 courses which allowed us to pick 2 items from the Appetizer section, and 1 item from the Fish or Meats section. (Highlighted on the menu below are our choices.)

labuergeWe each made our selections and split every course so that we could taste each.  They were all winners, but some were definitely better than others.

salad2_Ss I started with the winter greens.  It was beautifully plated with edible flowers on top.  It was a colorful and delicious salad.  The sweetness from the pears complemented the delicate greens.  The earthy beets and wonderful crunch of the granola made for a texturally gorgeous bite.  Very good.

crab_Ssi The crab salad was full of lump crab shards, lettuce and shitake.  It wasn’t as bold in flavors as I would have expected, but good none the less.

beef carp_Ssi The beef carpaccio may have been best of show. It was bursting with delicate flavors.  It was beautifully presented, colorful, fun, and delicious. The accompaniments lended a nice crunch and balance and didn’t overpower the super tender and delicious beef.

clam chowder_Ssi The clam chowder was served with the clams, bacon, potatoes, and herbs sitting on the bottom of a large rimmed bowl.  The liquid soup was poured out of a carafe into bowl over the chunky goodness.  It was beautiful.. and tasty.  But it was less of a soup and more of a cream sauce and very heavy cream.  It would have been better thinned out with a flavorful broth so that it wasn’t such stark cream.

lamb_Ssi  The lamb dish was a work of art.  It looked like a painting on a plate.  It was masterfully presented, with a cranberry sauce swirling around the plate, dollops of pea puree, and whimsical baby carrots standing on end around some crunchy topped mushrooms.  The lamb was tender and lovely, albeit not super flavorful.  As gorgeous as it was to look at, it’s flavors didn’t pop.  Maybe the presentation was so grand it built up the taste experience to a level it couldn’t compete.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad… it was an enjoyable dish, but just didn’t completely wow us.

beef tenderloin_Ssi The beef tenderloin made up for the lamb dish.  While it was comparatively drab looking, it made up for it in taste.  It had to be the most tender beef tenderloin we have ever eaten.  The mushrooms on top were a delicious accompaniment, and the potato puree was amazing… we couldn’t get enough.  It made for a perfect ending to a wonderful dinner.

The evening was a smashing hit.  The service was exemplary, the setting picturesque and inviting, and the food… truly stellar.  We’ll not only be back… we’re already making plans.

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