V. won her NCAA pool, so it was time for a really nice dinner out. Our first thought was of course Lantern - always a good bet for "pricier meal than normal." Calling ahead we were assured that arriving after 8 o'clock would result in a minimal wait. The word at the door, of course, was 1.5-1.75 hrs.' wait. So. Around the corner we went to Bonne Soireé, which I'd only heard good things about, and... well, simply no offense meant to Lantern, but this experience placed it on the "good for Chapel Hill" list, and Bonne Soireé solidly on the "best meals I've ever had" list.
To begin with, and most impressively - after placing our orders and asking for a recommendation on wine, we settled on our server's first choice, the Sono Montenidoli Vernaccia di Carato 2003. I hesitate not for a second in saying that this was the best white wine I've ever had: not too sweet, or tart, or dry, or sulfuric - notes of fruit and anis and an unparalleled (in my experience) depth of body for a white. Simply astounding, and paired perfectly with our meals. Which were:
asparagus with cream sauce - the first crop of the year, tender, tasty, and very much of the "asparagus I could eat forever" school.
Rockfish with roasted root vegetables, yam, and red wine reduction - a perfectly done piece of fish, tender, flavorful, and complemented beautifully by the sweet, savory, rich-but-not-overpowering vegetables.
creme bruleé - perfect. Creme bruleé is a test of any great restaurant, and this passed with flying colors.
mixed green salad - with candied walnuts, pears, bleu cheese, onions and a vinegarette - the walnuts balanced out the cheese well, onions not overpowering, dressing just enough.
scallops - and now I'm forgetting what else was with them, but they were excellent. Tender, not rubbery at all.
creme bruleé - see above.
Just exemplary, and the service was unpretentious and among the best I've ever had. Not cheap to be sure, but unbeatable enough on so many levels that I can guarantee multiple return trips when the wallet allows.