“That’s the way, uh huh uh huh, I like it” – KC and the Sunshine Band
We pull up to the impressive entrance at Château Le Jardin. Valet’s leap with alacrity to take our car, and guide us across the black moiré patterned carpet to Apres Noir. Inside the opulent foyer, flutes of Dom Perignon are graciously offered, several bars with top shelf wines are offered for the tasting. And, what’s this, artist Daniel Mazzone is painting huge canvasses with pithy phrases in bright colors. “Lets Make Dreams Our Reality”, we agree.
A fashion tableau takes place before us on a stage with illuminated steps. These young models are so perfect in every detail, dressed in the gorgeous designs of Roberto Cavalli. If they did not move, I would think they were sculptures. They are here to be admired and photographed, and remain unfazed by the flattery.
Guests have dressed up, way up, for the evening. So many fashion-forward, beautiful people, so many air kisses, so much anticipation of delights to come. Greeting his many friends in the lobby, it’s clear that President and GM Carlo Parentela is a happy man tonight. The preview evening for his extravagant, monthly night club series is off to a great start.
The grand hall doors open, and, it’s show-time baby. The stage is strictly Las Vegas. A lighting engineer has given his all. Whimsical videos with giant strawberries, leaping fish and reflections of other vignettes, flank the stage and grab our attention. At the tables, there is much to admire. Golden glass service plates, lots of stemware and silverware, and an ice bucket with a bottle of limited edition Roberto Cavalli vodka. At a secondary stage, the fabulous lounge singer DIA, and her band, set the tone for the evening.
No glass is left wanting, as servers continuously pour fine wines. Chef Bobby Flay presents the first course with fanfare, telling us that the caviar is from Venice, with the flag of Italy on the tin. A generous portion with perfect little blinis is brought to the table, accompanied by traditional accoutrements. Let’s open that Cavalli vodka. When the server mistakenly pours Butterfield 2015 Corton Blanc Grand Cru in my vodka, I just smile and enjoy the cocktail.
Master of Ceremonies, sitcom star, Bob Saget, takes the stage and has us all enjoying his wit. He introduces Arianna B, a bombshell performer who rocks the room with her passionate renditions in several languages, including Italian. She gives us her heart and soul and wraps us up in her music.
Meanwhile, we’re enjoying our second course of Angus Beef tartar with a quail egg perched on the side, ready to be mixed into the tartar along with toasted black sesame seeds. It’s a first for my tablemate and I notice that his plate is cleaned. A very successful tartar. It’s paired with one of my favourite wines, Antinori 2015 Tignanello.
Now they’re pouring Cliff Lede 2014 Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon and the table is in agreement that this Cab with its long opulent mouth feel is special indeed. It pairs with ruby red Ostrich filet that shares the plate with smooth celeriac mash. Interesting choices and elegant wine pairings.
I have been patiently awaiting dessert and I am not disappointed. A trio of chocolate frivolities, each more chocolaty than the other is a splendid ending to this extravagant dinner. More champagne please.
But wait, did I say ending? Bountiful platters of blue cheese with honey, grapes and pears are brought along with a bottle of Port.
Bob Saget takes the stage again to introduce the headliner, Robin Thicke, and get’s out of the way fast, as the light show kicks in. Robin begins his set with an amazing performance, and it’s clear to all of us that he has star quality. It’s after midnight and his energy has not waned, nor has the crowd thinned. We are mesmerized. The applause is deafening.Photo by Thirteenth Media
Now, a glass of Port, a cup of coffee and it’s time to make our way home. Carlo is at the table, cautioning us to wait. There is still another not to be missed performance, and he is right Mark Kingswood and his orchestra, a British swing band, takes the stage and holds our attention. It’s 2:00 a.m. and all’s well.
Next up? Chef Giada de Laurentiis and Drake on June 7th. For more info go to: www.apresnoir.com
Sara Waxman is an award-winning restaurant critic, best-selling cookbook author, food and travel journalist and has eaten her way through much of the free world for four decades, while writing about it in books, newspapers and magazines. She is the Editor in Chief of DINE and Destinations magazine.