Friday, September 18, 2015

Paris, Spring 2015: Le Dali, Alain Ducasse, Le Baratin, Neige D'ete

Le Dali, Hotel Meurice

This restaurant is highly worthy of a visit.

Hansen and Lyderson Norwegian smoked salmon. This was smoked salmon perfection. Look for this brand whenever you are in Europe. A great firm texture and a clean, very pleasant smokey flavour. 

Pasta with broccoli, peas, asparagus and chopped scallions topped with shaved parmesan.

Corn fed chicken and tarragon fricassee with caramelized onion and young garlic. 

Three perfectly seared scallops. 

The presentation of Grenoble styled filet of sole.

The filet of sole served with pan seared broccoli.

Simmered and steamed spring vegetables: morels, beets, baby turnips, broccoli and peas.

 The Dali salad.

 The presentation of the group of desserts.

A selection of cheeses.

Chocolate soufflee. 

Lemon tart.

Walnuts Paris-Brest.

Lime dessert.

 Sorbets: mango, pear and apple.

Almond eclairs.

Alain Ducasse, Plaza Athenee

First, let me say that the cuisine of this restaurant NO LONGER speaks as well of the current trend in healthful cuisine that it once did when it first opened, Sept, 2014 (when I last reviewed my experience and felt that what was happening here, the menu, mostly plants and grains with a very minor amount of fish and shellfish, was rather revolutionary, philosophically, when expressed at this high level of cuisine). Now, oil/fats are used more liberally in the dishes (but not excessively). Compared to last September, there is a preponderance of fish and shellfish featured on the menu and very few purely plant based dishes. For me, this change was disappointing and probably, a recognition of reality. The general food public may not have been ready for the kind of healthy change that was originally introduced when the renovated resto re-opened.

I apologize for the photos but the light this visit was particularly dim.

Water flavoured with cucumber, sorrel, spinach, lemon and ginger. A terrific refresher to begin the meal.

Galette with toasted cereals. A crispy cake with winter squash seeds, sunflower, buckwheat, oats and barley, as well as puffed cereals ( black rice, quinoa, amaranth and khorasan wheat ), all dotted ginger, lemon, bay leaf powder and dried hibiscus.

Marinated mullet, thin slices of mullet seasoned marinated lemon and lime, bottarga chips bottarga ( dried, salted mullet egg pocket) all on a crispy wheat khorasan.

Marinated radish with foamed fermented milk and rice soufflee. 

Barely grilled sardine presentation, the sardine done seviche style served on a bed of purreed chickpeas seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, fresh coriander, special hand selected shallots from Haute Alpes, marinated in vinegar. the side cup was chickpea/sesame cream prepared as hummus with caviar, lemon juice, bay leaf powder and sumac.

 The grilled sardine with grilled hearts of romaine lettuce (closeup).

 Green lentils de puy in a delicate gelee, topped with caviar.

Pressed Petrossian ossetra caviar in Borniambuc cream.

"Vegetables from the garden of the queen". Seasonal vegetables: radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, spring onions, artichokes, peas, red onions, zucchini and trumpet mushrooms all from the Château de Versailles garden, and girolles mushrooms from Sologne. Every item in this dish was cooked one by one and mixed together, served on a crushed hazelnuts mixed with saké and olive oil with a carrot and turnip lemon juice sauce.

Cultivated quinoa from Anjou with black and white morels, green asparagus, all simmered with morel juice and grated and chopped morels, accompanied by grilled asparagus and roasted quinoa condiment and topped with green asparagus shavings that were marinated in rice bran, red quinoa, toasted quinoa more morel juice (!!) and with a further infusion of a juice of roasted green asparagus quinoa and nasturtium leaf. A very complex but wonderful dish.

Black rice with shellfish. Camargue black rice cooked in a chamba, topped with a shellfish ragout with oyster leaves and Espelette pepper. Preparation was topped with a fish soup made with red wine and tamarind.

The next 2 dishes were served to be enjoyed together. All of the chocolate was made in the special new Alian Ducasse chocolate factory.
Chocolate tart topped with chocolate frosting with cocoa nibs and seasoned with salt and pepper and further topped with hot chocolate sauce. Seriously indulgent!

A "caboosse" pod filled with cocoa nibs, chocolate mousse ( 75% Java - Indonesia), frothy cappuccino, crispy chocolate, kasha buckwheat, chocolate ice cream and iced buckwheat.

Strawberries from Carpentras, au natural, topped with white farmer's cheese.

 Beet sorbet.

Le Baratin

This restaurant has not been on a lot of radar, but should be!

Escabeche of quail with nuts and raisins. 

Artichoke poivrade (from Navarre), ricotta cheese, arugula and tomato. 

Red mullet escabeche with fennel and xeres vinegar. 

Raw bonito from Saint Jean de Luz with fresh tomato water and petit pois. 

Bresse duckling, cooked perfectly, served 2 ways, breast and leg with a sweet ginger and onion sauce. 

Poached monkfish tail topped with a ragu of pancetta and celery.

Crumble made with apples and red fruit, sided with vanilla ice cream. 

Chocolate fondant. 

Neige D'Ete

My experience at this restaurant was one of the best eating experiences that I have enjoyed in Paris in the past 3-4 years. The expression of cuisine was pure, refined with clear flavours, ostensibly simple in presentation and the ingredients were pristine.

Foie gras on a biscuit of parmesan. The parmesan had a compressed crumbly texture. The flavour combination worked so well, as the the textures.

 Shellfish potage.

Marinated salmon with Aquitaine caviar, dressed with sliced radish.

Grilled white asparagus with a slice of pate negra. A wonderful dish of complementary, clean flavours.

"Paella" of blue lobster, the poached lobster is on a rice. 

 Scallop with morels and green asparagus.

Eel with foie gras, watercress and watercress sauce.

The presentation of rack of breast of suckling pig cooked 12 hours with hay. The pig is basted with pepper sauce  

The sliced suckling pig presented a very pleasing barnyard aroma and was plated with baby turnips, peas and fennel frond. 

Grilled simmental beef cooked over binchon charcoal was wonderfully medium rare to rare, had great texture and flavour and was nicely juicy. (no photo).

A selection of cheeses, including Brillat Savarin "wild" Comte.

Granite de Melisse: granite composed of bee balm, common balm and a wild bergomot like herb.

This dinner was the occasion of my dear friend, Myra Sable's (the proprietor of Sable and Rosenfeld Gourmet Foods) birthday. We surprised her by having the chef prepare a cake.

A very delicious, rich "French" version of strawberry shortcake. 

Chocolate tart on a lemon thyme flavoured sorbet.

Mango sorbet with fresh mango.

Petit Fours.

The wines chosen by the sommelier, that accompanied each course, in order: Kreuznacher Krotenpfuhl riesling, kabinett, Donnhoff 2013; Alsatian Grand Cru Wineck-Schlossberg riesling, Domiane Meyer-Fonne, 2008 (no wine was served with the asparagus course, as expected); Pouligny-Montrachet Premier Cru Les Folatieres, Domaine Dupont-Fahn, 2012; Sake Kubeiji, junmai-daiginjo, 2013; Irouleguy, Cuvee Haitza Domaine Arretxea, 2013; Maury, Mas Amiel 2012; Jurancon moelleux, Domaine Charles Hours, 2013.

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