Sometimes, you need to be seated at a table with a white tablecloth, and an origami-shaped linen napkin while being attended to by a server that is dressed like he just came from the red carpet and enjoyed an evening with the people of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. I didn’t really have the time to sit at that table on that particular evening, but I had never been to the French Lick Resort—and I had made the mistake of looking at the menu for the 1875 restaurant. People told me that the steaks were expensive, and that the charcuterie board would offer a wonderful foray into the gifts of the establishment, but I was not there for either of those. I had seen the Five Onion soup as I opened the menu in the hotel lobby. It had been my obsession since my first perusal of their fare. The soup, in and of itself, sounded spectacular with its five different varieties of onions, but it was the vehicle of delivery that had intrigued me the most. The soup was served in an onion bowl. I have enjoyed soup in bread bowls on the pier in San Francisco, and here and there across this culinary nation, but I had never even heard of an onion bowl.
When it arrived at the table, I was in awe of the beauty of that grilled onion still in its yellowish brown parchment. I stared at it from a number of different angles before Michael stated, “it’s an onion.” I replied that I knew that, but I just could not wrap my head around the wonder of the mind that first thought to offer such a gift for their diners. The cheese was thick and full-bodied, and a large crouton protruded from the cheesy land mass that formed the lid and rose toward the ceiling drawing as much attention as it could to the complete beauty on the plate before me. If only Van Gogh could have seen this, and painted it.
I worked my way through the dark brown, thick broth full of the aforementioned varieties of onions, and too quickly finished the delicacy. I then asked for a steak knife and disassembled the onion into bite-sized portions. Michael mentioned that people liked to enjoy their onion with their steak. Next time. However, this trip ended on Allium.
I look forward to returning to the 1875, and reveling in the opulence of their haute cuisine. Make sure you take your wallet, and remember that great food, and culinary creativity is an adventure worth the price and the experience. The tomato juice will hit the spot.