Restaurants & Bars

Au Fer Rouge, Colmar, France

Limster | Nov 30, 200111:38 AM

In contrast to its fiery name, the elegant and comfortable interiors of Au Fer Rouge are abound with soft colors and textures. The only things ablaze was good flavor, along with beautiful but sensible presentation.

Dinner began with an amuse bouche of lovely duck mousse and a crayfish bisque that presented a less intense and more subtle flavor than the two other similar soups I had in Au Crocodile and Table du Gourmet.

It was foie gras again - this time another terrine. But instead of the multiflavor assault like Table du Gourmet, the kitchen highlights its rich flavor and creaminess by pairing it with silvers of haricort verts, tiny bits of carrots, equally tiny bits of gelee and a freshly toast slice of brioche with the thinnest possible crisp on the outside and delightfully fluffy on the inside. It's a great textural composition.

Next, a fantastic roasted bass in a little sea of foam enriched with seafood broth. Individual piles of accompaniments dot the plate and surround the bass. There are the sweetest mussels I've tasted in France, and two kinds of stewed wild mushrooms.

Then game - pigeon with an excellent port reduction sauce. An arc of sauce spins out from under the pigeon, and on it are arrayed tiny individual piles of accompaniments. There is (what I thought to be) a sweet potato puree, a celery puree, wild mushrooms, stewed red cabbage and wild cabbage with bacon. The sweet and wintry flavors go really well with the game bird.

Besides the array of little tarts and candy and chocolate served on a round two-tiered tray, I had figs for dessert. These are very sweet - they seem to have stewed and saturated with a sweet and fruity sauce. An airy parfait provided a creaminess that went hand in hand with the fruit. Nearby, there is a mesh made from caramelized sugar that has caught bits of chopped pistacchio and hazelnuts. A tiny kugelhopf (a local cake with dried fruits) is also present, a delicious reminder that I was so lucky to be in Alsace.

Among the regions in France I visited last month, I had the best eating in Alsace and IMHO, it was as good as, if not better than Paris, for less.

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