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On one plate ...


Andrae's restaurant has significantly raised the bar for fine dining in the Treasure Valley. Located in the same underground spot where downtown favorites Zutto and Milky Way got started, Andrae's contemporary French cuisine has been winning accolades both locally and nationally. The restaurant industry magazine Santé has just bestowed the honor of Best Culinary Restaurant in the Northwest upon this newcomer, placing Andrae's alongside the best in Vegas, Chicago and D.C.

Executive chef and owner Andrae Bopp (rhymes with pope) graduated first in his class from the French Culinary Institute in New York in 2003. While in New York, Bopp worked in the kitchen at Le Bernadin and the wine cellar of Balthazar before opening his elegant namesake in Boise nine months ago. His delicacies will satisfy the most sophisticated palate, yet his waitstaff's gracious demeanor makes his cuisine approachable for the intimidated.

The formal multi-course meal begins with a flute of French sparkling wine and is interspersed with tiny amusé (beginning), intermezzo (middle) and petit fours (end) courses, all gratis. Add impeccably professional service that is the most attentive, informative and courteous in the Treasure Valley, and you'll leave Andrae's feeling downright pampered.

For dinner you can order a three-course prix fixe menu ($45), a five-course chef's tasting menu ($70), or á la carte. My date ordered his appetizer, soup, entrée and dessert from the á la carte menu while I opted for the three-course prix fixe dinner. Andrae prepared a delightful amusé of fresh rock shrimp in phyllo with rosemary and lemon that nimbly juxtaposed brine with bitter and crisp with juicy in a single mouthful. An appetizer of raw Kumamoto oysters ($15) with champagne gellé and apple cloud (or foam) melded ocean freshness with delicate sweetness. Andrae's impossibly creamy lobster mushroom veloute ($16) stopped me in my tracks, eliciting great appreciation. I hadn't had a reaction like that since dining at the French Laundry. My date thoroughly enjoyed his quail stuffed with duck confit ($29) while I savored a succulent braised Niman Ranch short rib and delectable porcini risotto. Boiseans are fortunate to have a restaurant of such high caliber located right outside their front door.

-Jennifer Hernandez steals from the cookie jar but takes her Flintstone vitamins.