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Restaurant  L'Europe
American Dream Cuisine™
Restaurant: L'Europe
St. Petersburg - Russia
6 Stars & 7 Stripes
Society - World Level Perfection
December - 2005
6 Stars & 7 Stripes
Cuisine & Service

The Ultimate Award:
Seven Stars and Stripes™
It would be a night to remember! Not just for the excitement and high energy that a Tina Turner concert creates before curtain call; nor for the whispered rumors of Bill Clinton arriving for a book signing; nor for the fact that Mikhail Gorbachev actually accepted an invitation to dine with the GM of Grand Hotel Europe, Tomas Noll and his wife. Yet still, this would be a night to remember!
GM Thomas Noll and Executive Chef de Cuisine Dominique Ferchaud have pulled out all the stops. There would be nothing left to chance; attention to every detail would be impressed upon each one of their well-respected and capable staff. Our dining arrangements for this evening were to be held in the impeccable surroundings of the Restaurant L'Europe under the watchful eye of Maitre D' Dimitri and his proficient servers all dressed in formal black attire.

Our greeting at the L'Europe entrance was the respectful and personal handshake of immediate recognition, reflecting the precise, meticulous nature of our gracious restaurant master of ceremony. The enduring sounds of a quartet singing a classical selection and supported by violin and piano accompanied us to our special table decked out with fresh flowers. As a matter of fact, there were fresh flowers everywhere, all organized and arranged by the Grand Hotel's in-house florists. Dimitri, who is a member of the famed La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs sees to it that every guest at the restaurant receives the highest possible level of unobtrusive service available. It is also apparent that he must work closely with Master Chef de Cuisine Dominique Ferchaud in the presentation of his powerfully creative cuisine.
“Dimitri, who is a member of the famed La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs sees to it that every guest at
the restaurant receives the highest possible level of unobtrusive service available.” ~ TB
Immediately upon being seated a toast was proposed with several fluted glasses of precious Tattinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blanc. This powerful yet dense multilayered well-balanced bubbly offered an abundance of white fruits, tangy green apple and a deliciously long finish. It was the perfect representation for this moment of gratitude and enjoyment. A white-gloved server named Anton approached pushing a large garadon filled with an abundance of assorted house-baked breads. We were asked to choose, but that was almost impossible with baguettes, rolls and other shapes made from pumpernickel, rye and other whole grains overflowing from the wagon. Butter was another dilemma but this time we tried all three types including dill and garlic, fiery red paprika and natural unsalted. L'Europe - Cuisine
Preparations complete, it was now time for Executive Chef Ferchaud to begin his performance with the first order of business introducing us to Kamchatka Crab & Vitelottes Potatoes, Boquet of Green Leaves, Basil Oil & Balsamic Vinegar. At first glance you wonder what the purple stuff is under the delicate crabmeat but upon tasting you realize that they are purple Peruvian potatoes, shredded and prepared simply with basil oil and balsamic vinegar. A finer combination of colors, shapes and taste may be hard to find as this proved to qualify as original art.
“A finer combination of colors, shapes and taste may be hard to find as this proved to qualify as original art.” ~ TB
L'Europe - Cuisine
This was followed by Warm Boston Lobster with Artichoke confit and Citrus White Wine Butter sauce brought from the kitchen completely out of the shell and arranged in such a way that appeared three dimensional. It was a superb representation of a New England (Massachusetts, US) favorite, actually bursting with sweetness and not chewy at all. All along we were fortunate to have had the 1995 Sauvignon Blanc, Blue Grove Hill, South Africa as our recommended wine selection and it proved to compliment the shellfish in a way that brought out their fresh ocean flavors in a big way.
“It was a superb representation of a New England favorite, actually
bursting with sweetness and not chewy at all.” ~ TB
Our specialty for the evening so far appeared to dwell on seafood, so in keeping with that theme Chef Ferchaud impressed us with his rendition of the ~ 'King of All Fish' ~ Grilled Filet of Turbot with Seared Fennel & Tomato Purée and Coriander Oil. Anton, our server, smiled as he poured another taste of the Sauvignon Blanc seemingly aware of its auspicious affect on this special fish.
We relished the floral quality of the aroma and savored the golden citrus and honeydew melon found while swirling the wine over the palate. An intermezzo was next on the agenda and it was to be Lemon Sorbet with Beetroot & Vodka, an inexplicable combination forcing us to admire the blood-red effect of the beetroot on the rest of the sorbet. Vodka, the far from trivial ingredient in Russian culture is omnipresent in all shapes and forms and this intermezzo was yet another way to show its versatility. L'Europe - Cuisine
Our next course appeared to break ranks with the rest of the menu and came to us in the form of Roasted Rack of Lamb with Parmesan and Paprika Crust, Potato with Sun Dried Tomato & Olive with Port Wine Sauce. Rack of lamb must be carefully roasted in order not to dry out the meat; therefore it is imperative that the rack be 'encased' by some sort of crust to preserve moisture.
L'Europe - Cuisine Chef Ferchaud's use of his savory mixture proved effective in moisture control although a bit overwhelming to the taste buds. "A little less parmesan" I mentioned to Arno feeling a little guilty as I finished off the last tasty morsel. This time a very fine bottle of 1997 Capanelle Solare, Italy served as the appropriate wine paring for the rack of lamb. Ruby red in color, it conjured up visions of the beetroot sorbet although I must say, that is where the similarity ended. Capanelle Solare smoothly flowed over our palates with minimal effort imparting such subtle hints of dark red forest fruits reminding us of raspberries and blackberries. A slight tannin finish worked to lightly cleanse the palate in preparation for the next sip of this medium bodied treasure.
Plates were dutifully cleared all the while overseen by the watchful eyes of Dimitri as he choreographed each magic moment. It is obvious that the feeling of cooperation amongst the restaurant and kitchen teams reflected a greater importance that the management of the Grand Hotel Europe under the guidance of GM Noll has placed on their overall goals of complete guest satisfaction.
We were now ready for the final course of tea, coffee and petit fours to accompany the chef's creation of Chestnut "Mont Blanc", Pineapple Cappuccino with Rum. My secrete passion is desserts and at first glance I just wanted to say 'wow' but could only mange a smile. After tasting the chestnut crème my smile turned into a vocalization of pleasure through various ummm's and ahhh's as each bite was processed. L'Europe - Cuisine
Over coffee, we talked to Executive Chef Dominique who purposely came out of his domain to see how we liked his artistry. We discussed his organizational skills and how difficult it is to run an operation with a team of 35 chefs and 17 stewards. Chef Ferchaud's goal is to maintain the highest standards in terms of quality and service by leading, motivating and developing his staff's innate talents. His leadership skills had been honed throughout his career with positions in England, France, Anguilla, New York, Abu Dhabi and Lebanon some of which included Michelin Star establishments where he furthered his global expertise.
Dominique Ferchaud & Thorsten Buehrmann
Dominique Ferchaud & Thorsten Buehrmann
His most recent accomplishment with the Valhrona Chocolate Training, in Tain L'hermitage, France with Mr. Mickael Loonis shows that his desire for self-improvement continues even after many years of experience. This acquired expertise has successfully led to a new profit center for the Grand Hotel Europe and much deserved notoriety. It was equally refreshing to find out that every high-energy personality has his down time to relax and forget about the business and Chef Ferchaud enjoys scuba diving and underwater digital photography. It's no wonder some of his culinary works of art reflect the tropical colors and natural free forms of the environment beneath the seas.
Just when we thought that it couldn't get better then that, shielded from the winter temperatures in these cozy warm halls, we were asked to put on our coats and follow the Executive Assistant Manager i/c of Food & Beverage Christian Sack for a drink outside. Did he say outside? We were lead through the heavy main entrance door and stepped out on the light filled walk way to the 'Ice Bar'. People were lined up in warming clothes; some wore fur coats and furry hats and gloves. While this seemed embellished to us at first, we changed our mind after some time at the bar amongst the joyous crowd. The iced sidewalk bar has no doors, anyone can walk up and order a stiff Grand Exclusive Vodka, some served in a glass of molded ice...
by Thorsten Buehrmann & Arno Goudschaal

Editor: Ingrid Lemme,

Editor-in-Chief: John Lomitola
© 2006 ~ Seven Stars and Stripes, Inc.

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Although the above information was accurate at the time of publication, it can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all pertinent information with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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