Last night, Lisa and I had the great pleasure of dining at Belgian restaurant Si Bon, a lovely simple eatery created by Edith and Philippe Caupain. Philippe was opening Si Bon at the same time we were opening Figue. He came in one day during construction at Figue to check us out and I had a great conversation with him. My boss Lee spoke very highly of his cooking so I was excited to give it a try. My experience with Desert dining hasn’t been kind so to throw money at another restaurant lacking in quality scared me. For instances, at lunch the same day, Lisa and I stopped in a Palm Springs seafood restaurant that was, ‘GOD AWFUL’.
Thank god for bistros like Si Bon. The food is absolutely fresh and delicious. Our evening started by being greeted at the door by Philippe’s wife Edith and the dining room manager. I apologize I forgot his name. They seated us in the corner of the dining with a perfect view of the dining room and kitchen. The dining room was simply decorated which perfectly fit our expectations.
We were inspired to eat by the small but well thought out menu with selections like ‘fried zucchini blossoms with goat cheese; Juniper Gravlax, Cucumber & Goat Cheese Dill Cream; 9 Holers Escargots Waffle; Pan-Fried Wild Oregon Sand Dabs with Capers and Lemon; and Veal Ravioli “Florentino” Tomato Basil Sauce or Alfredo. We settled on the fried zucchini blossoms and “San Daniele” Prosciutto on a Toasted Waffles. Philippe was kind enough to send out some waffles with gravlax for us to nibble on while we waited for our appetizers. We ordered a bottle of Chateau du Prieur 2010 Bordeaux that was unbelievably approachable in it’s youth and an absolute steal at $30. The waffles really steal the show at Si Bon. Philippe said he has been working on the recipe for ten years now… it shows. Forget every preconceived notion you ever have had about waffles. These are not you diner or supermarket frozen waffles drenched in corn syrup and whip cream. Si Bon’s waffles are light as a feather and supremely crisp and are the perfect vehicle for a plethora of savory and sweet topping. They danced with the gravlax and sang with the prosciutto. I could have eaten about ten more easily.
The staff was highly trained and not pushy at all. I cannot stand eating in a restaurant and having food cleared before everyone is finished. Maybe it is a French thing. I call it politeness. I also cannot stand when restaurants bring food so fast you have no time in between courses to relax and restore yourselves. The wait staff at Si Bon was brilliant in this aspect. The waitress was remarkable in her anticipation of our needs.
For main courses we tried the steamed Mussels and braised short rib. The big fat juicy mussels were from Penn Cove swimming in a well seasoned and delicious broth. I do not know why but I was expecting some mayonnaise to dip my Belgian fries in. The only blemish of the dinner was the short ribs. They were very good but not as special as everything else on the menu. Maybe it is just I am jaded. Lisa enjoyed them, guests all around us enjoyed them, but I just keep thinking about those damned waffles.
I normally am not a dessert person. In fact, the only time I eat dessert is in France at the end of an extravagant meal. I tend to prefer stinky, runny cheeses. But at Si Bon, how can you leave without eating yet another waffle, especially doused in Belgian Chocolate and custard, topped with sugar and burnt like a creme brulee? I could not.
We finished out excellent meal with two single espresso’s properly served at the end of the meal and not with dessert. Pure paradise. I cannot wait to go back and eat more waffles. My Chef hat off to Philippe and his beautiful wife Edith for creating a very simple, casual bistro with amazing food. I highly recommend eating there soon, before season starts again and you won’t be able to find a seat!
40101 Monterey Ave #E5 – RANCHO MIRAGE, CA 92270
Phone: 760/837 0011 – Fax: 760/837 0051