Monday, June 25, 2012

Paris Restaurants Spring 2012, Part 1, The Informals: Le Comptoir (Relais St. Germain Hotel), AOC, Le Grand Pan, Restaurant Dali at Hotel Meurice, Sardegna e Tavola, Benoit

Le Comptoir Restaurant, Relais St Germain Hotel

The owner chef is Yves Camdeborde, a highly regarded chef who was formerly the senior in a 2** resto in Paris. He creates traditional, regional French cuisine. I have tried to get into this resto several times, but the lineups can be intimidating so I had never eaten there until I happened on my friend Jeanne Beker walking out of the adjacent hotel. The secret, Jeanne told me, was to become a guest of this wonderful small boutique hotel and then a reservation would be forthcoming. Further, you can eat the fabulous breakfast there, only available to hotel guests.

Pressed lamb, eggplant and zucchini with sauce pistou (no photo). The textures and flavours of this dish were superb.

Spelt from Haute Provence layered with scallops and cooked with tripe, with slices of garlic on top. Such a wonderful combination of tastes and textures.

A very rich and intensely flavoured blue lobster bisque.

Deboned pig's foot fried with bread crumbs accompanied by mashed potatoes.

Carpaccio of tete de veau (the face of the veal...."head cheese") in the fashion "ravigote" (with a dijon based veal broth laced with chopped capers and shallots), with asparagus. A rich and wonderfully unctuous dish! Great execution!
Braised suckling pig and roasted lentil ragout (no photo).

Prunes steeped in armignac (no photo) with vanilla ice cream. This is a wonderfully refreshing dessert.

Cafe caramel ice cream with salted butter.

Peach melba.

Fine tarte with apples and vanilla ice cream, another favourite!

Tapioca pearls (Perle du Japon) with milk and confiture of rhubarb.

Breakfast at Le St. Germain, in Le Comptoir (Guests Only)

An amazing breakfast is offered daily at Le Comptoir, for hotel guests at Le Relais: coffee or hot chocolate, fresh orange juice, baguette, croissant and pain au noix from Gerard Mulot (!), confiture and artisanal honey from Maison Curtelin-Marseille, fresh fruit (orange wedges, prunes stewed in armignac and fresh rhubarb compote), beurre (butter) de Baratte (great butter!!) and plain yogurt from St Malo both from Jean-Yves Bordier, 16 month old Compte de Montaigne cheese, Spanish ham (patte noir) sliced fresh from the bone and soft boiled egg......AND YOU GET ALL OF THIS!!! You may request to not be served and item(s), but otherwise you get it all. What a great breakfast!! Who needs lunch!!??

Lunch At Le Comptoir

Gelee of herring caviar with mousseline of haddock. This sublime dish is one of the great ones served at this resto and should be a selection everyone should try at least once.

Beef cheek stew with small maccaroni and carrots.

Tartar of beef from Aubrac with vegetables croquants and topped with a raw egg yolk.

AOC Restaurant

This is a wonderful resto serving very well sourced rustic food. Definitely worth the journey.

Roasted bone marrow with fleur de sel and toasted Poujaran bread rubbed with garlic.

Deboned and fried bread crumb crusted pig's feet with tartar sauce.

Andouillete de Chez Duval with mashed potatoes and a dijon mustard based sauce with chopped chives.

Basque style blood sausage from Chez Parra on mashed potatoes.

Chocolate fondant with salted caramel butter ice cream.

Tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream.

Le Grand Pan

Milk fed lamb for 3, with lamb liver, chorizo, and beans with bacon (panchetta). Forgot to take photos of terrific lamb, it went so fast! The terrific beans, devoured quickly too, I was able to shoot before gone.

Limousin beef for 2 perfectly cooked rare as requested.

The steak was accompanied by very tasty, crispy, hand cut fries.

Stuffed choux pastry filled with chocolate "in the Roman fashion". The chocolate was dark and intensely rich tasting.

Panna cotta with Madigascar vanilla and rhubarb compote.

Restaurant Dali at the Hotel Meurice

Voted the best club sandwich in Paris. A good club sandwich, but the one I tried at the Peninsula Hotel in New York, for example, was better.

Burger voted "best" in Paris by the New York Times, ordered med rare to rare, arrived perfectly cooked topped with bacon, tomato, lettuce and pickle. Great burger, particularly for Paris! You would be hard pressed to have a better burger anywhere.

A really good dark chocolate tarte.

Sardegna e tavola

This resto was a real find. Rustic Sardinian food that was very well prepared, real stick to the ribs cuisine.

Paper-thin, crispy flat bread.

Complementary olives and cubes of polenta with tomato sauce.

Grilled asparagus.

A terrific, fresh tasting, garlic rubbed bruschetta topped with sliced grape tomatoes, crushed small olives, chopped basil and very good olive oil.

Ravioli stuffed with fresh cheese, lemon and orange zest, honey and topped with a fresh tomato sauce lightly flavoured with cinnamon. A wonderful dish of remarkable flavours that came together so well. The pasta was light and perfectly cooked.

Tagliatelli with the first morels of the season, sauteed in "mountain lard", flavoured with rosemary and served in the mushroom reduction with a touch of cream. Wonderful pasta with the perfect springy consistency, all beautifully flavoured by the morels and morel reduction.

This incredibly rustic Sardinian dish was a perfect dish for me to eat, with incredibly satisfying flavours, a "typical dish prepared in their country homes", made with fricasse of goat cheese, suckling pig meat and skin, lamb andouillette (a garlicky coarse grained sausage made from the intestines of typically, a pig), chick peas, small onions and perfumed with anis.

Sunday at Benoit
This year is the restaurant Benoit's 100th anniversary. It is my go to resto for Sunday night as it is a wonderful resto in itself and has classic and reliably good cuisine. It is extremely difficult to find a good resto in paris on Sundays. Multi-star chef Alain Ducasse bought out the original owners and has maintained a high standard of the classic Benoit dishes as well as some new ones.

Classic asparagus with perfect hollandaise sauce.

A perfectly cooked slice of foie gras with balsamic reduction accompanied by potatoes, green beans, a cornichon and a wedge of romaine lettuce.

Classic cassoulet with garlic sausage, duck and lamb.

Chocolate Cake with crunchy praline and hazelnut ice cream.

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