Restaurants & Bars

Lucas-Carton: Appealing

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Lucas-Carton: Appealing

cabrales | Jul 10, 2003 08:45 AM

What a coup! I arrived in central Paris from the airport around 2:15 pm, which is the last point at which diners at Lucas-Carton can be seated for lunch :)

As background, I am quite fond of this restaurant, which I believe has, for some reason, strengthened since its recent switch to listing wines by the glass, before their matching dishes.

While I enjoy dinner at this restaurant, when there is a tasting menu (usually at over 200 euros before wine and over 300 euros with accompanying wines by the glass), the "business lunch" menu (offering significant choice for each of three courses) is a meaningful bargain at 76 euros (wine excluded; wine prices indicated). Granted, my total bill came to around 200 euros, but that included a glass of Dom Perignon '95 and other wines. The business lunch menu (which is the prix fixe menu available during lunch) does not list the dishes according to their matched wines, and indeed does not list wines by the glass that accompany the dishes at all. However, the matching wines are available upon inquiry to a sommelier.

(Of course, a la carte is always available. Also, one need to choose the suggested wine/dish pairings, although I find that advisable)

(0) Champagne, Cuvée Dom Pérignon Vintage 1995 (31 euros). At Lucas-Carton, the aperatif chosen determines the two amuses a diner would receive. A separate menu of aperatifs is not always presented to the diner, and interested diners should either ask for the menu or view the website (which is fairly regularly updated). For the DP 1995, one of the amuses was a capuccino of green asparagus from Durance, with almond milk and candied pistachio.

(1) Trevallon Blanc 1997 (white wine from southern France, 22 euro), with Browned king prawns with sesame seeds, spiced guacamole and papaya juice. This was a dish I found a bit aggressive, for my own tastes. Three medium sized prawns are deshelled until the tail and perched with their backs on the plate, in a brown circular base of guacamole. The guacamole definitely carried a bit of heat, and the spices I tasted also included lemongrass and ginger (spicing one often finds in the chef's cuisine). Next to this central composition was a scattering in a “ringed” formation (loose) of cumin. Protruding from the guacamole were 3-4 long tuiles that had more cumin on them. The tuiles themselves were slightly sugary, causing the sugar/spice juxtaposition.

(2) Chateauneuf du Pape (Red, obviously, for the lamb), Chateau de Beaucastel 1994 (31 euro) Saddle of lamb roasted in "panoufle", eggplant caviar with coriander, roasted with massala and grilled with fresh thyme and olive oil

Two thick pieces of saddle of lamb, with good fattiness, that were each wrapped in some sort of browned portion. Tender meat, with a hint of pink. Overall saucing included jus, with little portions of basil oil. The three-aubergine construction was interesting. From left: (1) a whole roasted section of small purple aubergine, that was supple, (2) a tuile of aubergine, and (3) a large, cross-section slice of aubergine (grilled, with criss-cross markings) that had a caviar of aubergines on top and a basil leaf at its peak. Wonderful Chateauneuf du Pape – less red fruit than the younger versions of the wine I have sampled, and a good match for the lamb.

(3) Champagne Gosset, Grand Rosé (25 euros). Raspberry Spéculos, scalded raspberries in their juice,
fine lace with raspberry, ice-cream of curdled ewe's milk, with its milk-shake.

This was a visually appealing dessert, with a long translucent glass plate (curved in its horizontal dimension) carrying many components. First, a mass of raspberries. Very nice, and my favorite part of the dish due to its simplicity. An undulating beautifully blush-colored tuile (deep blush). And finally, a lengthy rectangular construction with rasberries on top (in slices). I did not particularly focus on this final component of the dish. Complemented by the color, and the taste, of the Gosset rose, although I would have subjectively picked a Dom Ruinart Rose.

A bonus for this dessert during lunch is that there is a martini glass with a sort of milk shake concoction in a light pink shade. It’s more like a creme/foam item, and has less differentiation than a type milk shake’s different components. There was single raspberry in the middle of the top of the martini glass. I've sampled the raspberry dessert during dinertime, and the milk shake was not then included.

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