Restaurants & Bars

Le Cinq -- Disappointing

cabrales | Jul 9, 200305:51 PM

I remain skeptical about Legendre's cuisine at Le Cinq, Paris, and do not believe that the promotion to three-star status this year was warranted.

Nonetheless, the restaurant offers a reasonably priced lunch at 70 euros for three courses, with significant choice (probably at least 5 alternatives for each course) reflected.

-- “R” de Ruinart (27 euro/glass). The champagnes are served using a cart that is circular in shape, with the metal (silver-colored) large bowl containing ice and the champagne in the middle.

First set of amuses were (1) long silver spoon with a 1/2 boiled quail egg "mimosa" style (per the dining room team)– this was subjectively pleasing, but the taste, while nice, was nothing special; and (2) a little bread puff soaked with butter along the inside, with a cooked mixture of shredded tetragon (more flavorful than spinach, and without the spinach aftertaste). Tetragon seems to be increasing in visibility at haute cuisine levels in France – saw a reference to it on a prior Lucas-Carton menu.

Second amuses is lobster sausage in small quantity, with a corail emulsion. This is a version of the Taillevent lobster sausage, but with more coraile. Also, saucing is not lobster butter nage in this case. Not special.

-- Zucchini Blossoms Stuffed with Cod; Black Truffle Saucing, with 1/2 bottle Sociando Mallet (spelling) 1997 (50 euros)

A terrible zucchini blossom dish. Three smallish blossoms lined the outer ring of a dish that had an interior composition of salad (with frisee, etc.). The salad was rather mundane, but the blossoms were worse. They were literally less than room temperature, and their interior portions contained a limp, mushy cod mixture. This stuffed zucchini flower presentation was among the worse I have seen, including at US restaurants such as Chanterelle. Next to the flowers was a sliced up version (in a fan) of the zucchini stems.

The sommeliers should have advised that Sociando-Mallet was not justified by the black truffle-based saucing. There were tiny black truffle bits in the vinaigrette-consistency saucing, but these were not strong enough to justify the Sociando-Mallet and in fact a white wine would have been a better choice.

-- Duck from Challans with cherries and almonds. This was a fairly good preparation. Slices of appropriately fat, with a bit of skin, duck. Overcooked, particularly given my request for rare. About 6-8 very pristine-looking marinated cherries (small side) stood erect in a ring surrounding the duck pieces. They tasted like they had previously been marinated in some type of eau de vie, or a similar alcoholic material that was not too aggressive. Nice use of the cherries, but I tend to think that of many cherries (particularly when coupled with duck or quail – mmmm). :)

-- Raspberry and White Peach Dessert. A vertically-oriented dessert composition; this seems fairly typical for this place. On top, 2 raspberries with a bit of gold foil; then a quenelle of mediocre raspberry sorbet, coupled with a layer of nicely roasted white peaches (the only thing I ate from this dessert). Again, nothing special.

-- I made no selections from the goody/candy trolley, which had some pates de fruit, nougat-type items, caramels, etc.

-- Chartreuse Vert, Tarragon (80 euros/glass; available on request). Not ideal after the type of dessert I chose, but I like drinking this.

Although the prix fixe was 70 euros, the total bill was around 240 euros before any "extra" tips. The meal was mediocre, for a three-star, and, to be clear, that assessment is unrelated to the bill.

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