Chef Tory Miller's L'Etoile - The Star of Fine Dining


So we finally did it.  

We made the reservations and had dinner at L'Etoile in Madison, WI.

There have been countless times when we've looked into the floor-to-ceiling windows of the restaurant as we walked past it to get to the other Chef Tory Miller restaurant next door Graze.  Not sure why we waited so long to finally eat the food, but we're glad we finally did.

Here's a tid-bit of history.  L'Etoile was first established in 1976 by former owner Odessa Piper before she sold it to Chef Tory Miller, a James Beard Award Winning Chef, and his sister (Traci Miller) who have continued L'Etoile's farm-to-table concept and tradition.  

You can only imagine our excitement to eat at this restaurant, so we won't dilly-dally, here's what we ate.

We decided on the 7-course Tasting Menu ($125/person), but opted out of the wine pairing ($65/person) since we drove to the restaurant and didn't want to leave sauced.  We're responsible adults you know.

They served an Amuse-Bouche which was some sort of tiny little puffed pastry with a savory cream topping.  This was gone so quickly and we enjoyed it so much that, we literally forgot what this delicious delectable was called.  In any case, these little things were incredibly delicate but packed with flavor.  I would have gladly eaten a handful of these at at a time.  


Anyhoo, here is what it looked like.  If any of you know what this was called, please comment below.


So, we ordered a drink.  It was a non-alcoholic beverage, they're take on a mojito.  It was incredibly refreshing and super pretty to look at.  

Here was another amuse-bouche that came out that we wish we would have remembered the name for.  We like to call it the 'delicious teeny dish that has no name'.  It was quite good.  So, we're 0-2 with the names, but we promise everything will be better after this point.  Needless to say this was super yum!

The 1st Course: Hamachi with shiso, green plum umeboshi and radishes.

This was an incredibly 'smooth like buttah' dish.  The Hamachi just melted in our mouths!  Already, we knew they were off to a great start.

The 2nd Course: Mushrooms with Foie Gras, Onion and Pine Nuts

Foie Gras folks!  Need I say more??!?!  This dish was sooooo good!  the earthy mushrooms were so tender and the soup that was piped out like 4 dots of cake icing were a nice touch.  Oh, and did I mention it had Foie Gras? 

The 3rd Course: Carabineros Shrimp with celeriac, Oscietra caviar, and harissa.

Oscietra Caviar!!!!!  Our fav!!!!! Nope, not Beluga, but from the Oscietra Sturgeon.  The intense flavor and mild nutty taste of the caviar was a great addition and paired well with the perfectly prepared shrimp.  That little bit was enough to delight our taste buds.  And, we have to add that this is one of the most lovely plating and presentation of a single shrimp that we've ever seen.

The 4th Course:  Blue Valley Gardens Duck with persimmon, papaya, and cilantro

This was a phenomenal dish.  The duck breast was cooked perfectly, and if you look to the right of it, you'll see a rolled up duck leg!  How in the?!?! What?!?!  Whatevs.... It was deeeeelish!  Every element of this dish worked so well together and we were practically licking our plates clean.

The 5th Course: Jefferson Township Beef with carrots, spinach and Bordelaise

This was another fantastic dish.  A favorite.  The beef was cooked to perfection.... but that Bordelaise though!!!!  Soooooo goood!

The 6th Course:  Hook's 15-Year Cheddar with cherries, brioche, and pecans.

This was another favorite, although everything seems to be our favorite during this tasting. 

I mean c'mon!  15-Year Hook's Cheddar!!!!!  No question about it, we were going to LOVE this.  The streak of cherries was a great pairing for this young-at-heart cheese.  We still talk about this one. It was that good.

The 7th Course: Caramelized White Chocolate Cremeux with coconut ice cream, hickory nut financier, and apricot.

Oh.  Em.  Gee.

That's all we have to say about this one.  You'll have to try it for yourselves.  It's dabombdotcom.

They were also kind enough to serve us a serving of house-made Fiddle-Faddle (remember those?), truffles, and jelly-like candies similar to Turkish Delights.  Everything on this plate was fantastic.  The Fiddle-Faddle was a nice nostalgic touch.


They also served us a complimentary glass of Limoncello, an Italian Lemon Liqueur.  Which was also amazing.


The only thing that we were unable to capture images for was the exceptional service.  The service was second to none.  Our glasses were always filled, we never waited long in between courses, and we always had brand new silverware for every meal.  Our server was incredibly accommodating and incredibly knowledgeable about what L'Etoile had to offer.  Not to mention, we had the best seat in the house, overlooking the Capitol, right next to the window.  We didn't want too disturb the other patrons with our flash, so we just waited until we were outside to take this beautiful shot of the State Capitol.


There is no question why L'Etoile is the créme de la créme in our book.  

The food was remarkable, the quality of service was exceptional, the location was stunning, and the entire experience was memorable and outstanding.  We're convinced that L'Etoile is THE STAR when it comes to fine dining in Madison, WI.