Restaurants & Bars 4

Grand Vefour

cabrales | Nov 19, 2003 05:26 PM

For molochbaal --

Some thoughts on Grand Vefour, based on a non-prix fixe lunch there last year. It's a good idea to try the prix fixe lunch at GV, but consider going to Gagnaire before GV (Gagnaire's cuisine is not to my liking, but he seems to have more interesting cuisine than Guy Martin). (And don't let anybody tell you you're not ready for Gagnaire as your second three-star, because you are :) )

Ravioles de foie gras, a l’emulsion de creme truffee (Foie gras ravioli, with a truffled cream)

Cuisses de grenouilles blondes dorees, panais et moelle, pluches de persil et pointe d’ail
(Frogs' legs, a vegatable I can't translate into English, bone marrow, parsley and garlic aspect)

Homard de Bretagne roti entier servi ote de sa carpace, trait de vinaigre, legumes facon risotto
(Brittany lobster whole, trace of vinegar, vegetables in a risotto style)

Pigeon Prince Rainier III
(Pigeon Prince Rainier III)

Tourte d’artichauts et legumes confits, sorbet aux amandes ameres (Tart of artichokes and confit legumes, sorbet of bitter almond)

Fraises des bois sur un macaron, fraises parfumes avec lavendre et chocolat du lait (Fraises des bois on a macaron, strawberries accented with lavender and milk chocolate)

We drank Delamotte NV and some red for the pigeon. The above dishes were taken in by two people. I have significant portions of each dish.

The seats are burgundy velvet, and the setting of the restaurant is very classical. Drawings of women and other people adorn the walls. The restaurant is somewhat intimate, not particularly large. I like the environment, although it does seem somewhat dated (but that is the point). This is a dining room replete with history. I believe Napoleon and Josephine dined here once.

The amuses were poor, consisting of a smoked salmon item rolled into a rose-like shape, and a small quenelle of some sort of sour cream with herbs (?). An overly traditional, poorly executed set of amuses.

The foie gras ravioli were quite good – my half portion offered two medium-sized raviolis sitting in a white nage with truffle sprinkles. The nage was quite light in both texture and taste. The essential part of the dish was the foie gras fat oil flowing out of the warm foie gras inside the raviolis. This oil emanated from the foie gras itself, and was rich. A quite good dish.

The next item was the frogs’ legs, coated a bit with some type of breadcrumbs (possibly) and therefore a bit too harsh. The frogs’ legs lacked the lusciousness and moisture of the Buerehiesel frogs' legs I had sampled. There was a lot of parsley seasoning on the frogs’ legs, but they were dry and there was something else. The other part of the dish was slightly better. It was two whole pieces of marrow – as fatty as pork fat. It had a bit of fried, diced garlic on top, and that added to the seasoned nature of the otherwise fatty item. Not bad. It was placed on top of a small circular disc of panais – a vegetable tasting somewhat like white carrot, but with the freshness. There was ladled onto the dish bits of fried slices of garlic by the dining room team member, and a further little bowl containing the same that I utilized quite a bit. A taste of garlic that remained after an initial burst of bitterness.

The lobster main was so-so. The lobster was appropriately cooked, leaving it quite flavorful. However, the cooking method was nothing special (a bit of oil sitting adjacent to the lobster). There was nothing special about the seasoning of the dish. The vinegar components were suppressed. The vegetables (carrots, zucchini, etc.) were in the form of diced softened vegetables that did remind me of the texture of risotto. The taste seemed to be closer to an herbed cream.

The pigeonneau was also so-so. It was brought to the table in a little black cocotte. This is apparently a classic of the restaurant, and it involved a stuffing of the pigeonneau with truffles, foie gras and with the interior portions of the bird. A dark, diced truffle sauce – thick and intense – was scooped onto the pigeonneau. The pigeonneau was rare (appropriately). But overall over-truffled and not appropriately balanced.

Desserts were good. The artichoke tart (note increasing use of vegetables, like tomatoes, in dessert) was a pie-like item, with a wafer-like sweet item at the bottom. The artichokes were nice, being only slightly sweet, and were surrounded by a creme brulee-like item also of limited sweetness. Next to this were small segments of confit, sugared celery (cut in little “c” shapes along their cross-section). The almond ice cream was appropriate as well.

The fraises des bois dish was good. A macaron (which I did not taste) with some sweet yellow custard, on top of which were placed in a little mountain lots of wild strawberries. Then, three or four wild strawberries forming the little “legs” of this concoction. In the middle of the dish, along a diagonal, a row of sliced ordinary strawberries, overlapping one another, with sprinkles of purple lavender with another herb. There was milk chocolate underneath this – perhaps too much (I dislike chocolate). The final element in the dish was a curl of wafer, with vanilla ice cream.

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