Ok I couldn't resist, and the view at Maison Blanche and the terrace really are wonderful!
MB was recommended by a Parisian acquaintance who suggested that, while pricey, it would deliver a top notch meal. Man, was she right. We managed reservations online the evening of, and while we did not get the promised return confirmation before we arrived for our seating, they had us on the list and seated us immediately at one of the booths. The window tables were all filled, and the booth was so cozy and quiet we didn't mind. The hostess suggested that for dessert there would prolly be tables by the window open and she would be happy to move us for the last course. The menu had lots of appealing offerings and I had a difficult time narrowing it down.
For mains I finally, after dithering over the veal and the pork, went for the Presa Iberico Cebo
Trapper spices, red cabbages and vitelotte dauphine potatoes. Himself ordered the Scallops Saint Jacques in carpaccio, mango and passion, emulsion of Cauliflower.
The Som came, consulted, and provided lovely wines. A Fonerol and a Sauternes. He was good at narrowing down personal taste with the dishes coming and finding a happy solution to the equation.
Starters were Jerusalem artichokes soup with black truffles and wild craterellus mushrooms and Lobster
With pear vinaigrette sauce, avocado and young lettuce shoots. They were both excellent, but the soup was far more complex and interesting to me. Unctuous is the word that comes to mind.
While we were enjoying the first course I recalled that dessert orders for the house specialty needed to be order early to allow for prep time. I asked the assistant server to add it to our order. To my great surprise she demurred, suggesting that a 'Treat' was coming to us and we might want to wait on ordering a dessert. We shrugged, mystified, and said "ok" and went back to our plates. When they had been cleared the head server appeared with two plates in hand and with a smile told us that because I had been so torn between the Pork and the Veal, she and the kitchen had decided to treat us to small versions of the veal dish I had passed on so reluctantly.
Oh My God. That veal was the best I have ever had. Usually veal is a bit boring to me but this was all the tenderness and mildness you expect with all the flavour you could want. Cooked to a perfect pinkness, juicy and moist. We swooned over it. It had a velvety smooth jus de veau and was served with glazed carrots and an intense brown smoked scallop sauce as garnish. An exapmle of how the most traditional of dishes, made from the most typical of ingredients, handled with wisdom, can rise above the ordinary and surprise!
At the end of the veal I was beginning to be full and the pork I had ordered arrived, again a juicy flavourful pint with deep magenta red cabbage reduced down to a intense sweet puree. Really lovely as well. The scallops were perfectly handled and sweet and delicious. Loved the tropical notes from the fruit and the creamy base of cauliflower.
But that Veal....
We stepped out onto the terrace and took in the view, which was stunning, and then returned back to the table by the window where coffee and dessert were served. We did order the Maison Blanche cake, a deep chocolate with a hot creamy ganache center and ice cream. Again, they surprised me. Lava cakes such as this are often just under-cooked chocolate cakes, with hot raw batter in the center. This was a lovely chocolate cake with a nice crumb and just enough crust in the outside to give it a bit of bite, before the heated chocolate in the center exploded in your mouth. Him self enjoyed most of it. I was so full after the extra course I could help with more than a small bite just to taste.
I was a bit reticent about coming, and thought that perhaps we were going to get 'Old Hat' cuisine and an over-rated, dated experienced. We got anything but that. Service was warm and impeccable, dishes were on point, surroundings were romantic and lovely. It was pricey but I have paid more for far less. Dinner came to €245.
And at the end of the meal the hostess brought me an autographed by the chef, printed copy of the veal recipe for 10. My daughter who speaks french will have to translate it for me and I am going to have to get out the sous vide, but I am making that veal dish at home! I only fear that I will not be able to match the quality of the veal.
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