Bordier. Bierce. Yuzu. Crab. Carrot. Egg. Verbana. Squash. Grapefruit. Tomato. Sorrel. Licorice. Avocado. Zucchini. Nasturtium. Dried Shrimp. Squash. French Beans. Salmon. Ginger. Purslane. Squid. Speck. Red Mullet. Monkfish. Farro. Chocolate. Porcini. Shitake. Hazelnut. Foie Gras. Apple. Beef. Rye. Pigeon. Corn. Parsnip. Purple Basil. Quince. Carte Blanche.1
Archive for france – paris
“Do you remember the desserts? When they filled the table full of plates?” It is a shared memory for those who have worked through a Pierre Gagnaire tasting menu – a moment equal parts excitement and exhaustion – staring at an haute abyss. The servers, highly choreographed, endlessly dispense dishes on the table where many smaller plates orbit their larger counterparts. It is an overwhelming onslaught of food, ideas, and force – the triumph and downfall of Pierre Gagnaire – captured in one final course.
This was the final meal on my recent Paris trip, the day before the restaurant took off for summer vacation. Yannick Alleno went from two Michelin stars to three in a few short years. My main interest lie in trying the acidic and iodized flavors that are often mention in reports of the food, such as this Luxeat review. Seafood-based menus with an emphasis on acidity sounded like a refreshing way to end a summer trip to Paris.
Sardine w/ quinoa
The dining room is baroque and opulent, a setting where very large diamonds and pearls are meant to be flaunted as much as one’s social status. The floors are marble, the trimmings are real gold, the tables decadently spaced apart, and one would not be surprised to find Louis XVI eating dinner – there is plenty of cake here. The atmosphere warms up after an hour or two, but it is stilted and unnatural in this day and age.
My first Ledoyen meal was one of those rare magical moments, even in the rarified circles of Michelin three-star restaurants, where a series of dishes leaves one speechless. The food was the definition of refinement – “soft-spoken but all-commanding” as I said in my last review. Chef Chrisitan Le Squer reminded me of a tempered Pierre Gagnaire with his application of modern techniques in an “organic” fashion 1; however, instead of Gagnaire’s intensity and fireworks, he preferred subtlety and calm.
Despite cooking in a modern fashion, no real 2 tasting menus are offered. In fact, this cuisine is the antithesis of the “less is more” philosophy; his portion sizes are absolutely old-fashioned – they are very large – large enough for a Julot to enjoy 3. Restraint should be exercised during the ordering process, else the appetite will be absolutely defeated. While the waiters speak English, they did not dissuade me from ordering four dishes, and possibly encouraged it. At the least, that is one too many; and probably two too many for most people. Come hungry and order conservatively.
Langoustine & Seaweed Lollipop
It’s easy to mistake the San Francisco Richart store for yet another shoe store in Union Square – a generic window filled with a slew of white and gray boxes evokes the necessary minimalism to sell high heels. I walked by many times without a moment’s glance before someone told me it was a chocolate store. Intrigued, I bought boxes of the Citrus and Floral chocolates. One bite and I was instantly hooked – never had I had such clean, intense flavor in a chocolate before.