I arrived promptly as I always do for my 9pm reservation. The restaurant is quite elegant in design. The place is refined in decor, with silvery jacquard table linens and as is the new style each course is served on a different size and shaped plate. The dinner wear is of modern design in shining white and geometric design. I went through the ususal kafluffle at the door--no reservation say they, yes I made it last week say I and so on. Anyway after much french shrugging I was seated in the non-smoking room--hurray.
You can have a prix fixe of three courses at 30Eu or the degustation (6 plus bonuses) for 50 Eu. Being a hound I chose the degustation. And I am glad I did. I am new at writing food reviews, and forgot to make note of the wine. In my unschooled way, I would describe it as very dark and rich. It had a slightly woodsy taste and aroma, but it had a rough finish. It looked like a cahors and I am sure that is what it was.
The amuse was a lovely foie gras pate with sweet butter and absolutely wonderful bread--crunchy outside, chewwy inside and lots of holes. Also served as an amuse were some chacuterie--salamis and hams.
First Course: A green pea puree. The soup tasted like the essence of pea, with a very subtle taste and a backround of heat (peppers).
Second Course: This was too good--like in died and gone to heaven good. The menu described Compote of Pig Cheeks. It combined wonderful flavours with the lingering sweetnes of the carmelized onions and the dark unctuous feel and taste of the cheeks. The aroma was just as marvellous. The only slight no I have is the oyster on the top--it just didn't make sense to me, but I didn't eat it as I was fearfull of ruining my perfect pleasure in this dish. Quite honestly, I had to restrain myself from licking the plate. My favourite dish.
Third Course: This dish appeared to be a play on the old saw of scallops wrapped in bacon. A salad dressed in vinagrette was topped with sliced scallops, tiny mushrooms and crumbled bacon. The components come together quite nicely. I enjoyed the cool greeness of the salad with the soft sweetness of the scallops and mushrooms and the salty, crispy bacon. The whole was more than the parts for sure. Nice dish, but not terribly exciting.
Fourth Course: This is one of their signature dishes. Escalope of Foie Gras with apple slices and a compote of pear, berry (myrtille) and wine. The tart/sweet fruit was a wonderful foil for the foie gras that was very well prepared with a carmelized exterior. It was just a tad overdone for my taste, but still a very good dish.
Fifth Course: The Bar Meuniere was scrumtious. Bar is maybe my favourite fish available in Europe. The closest I can get here in Toronto is the italian Bronzino which is very close. My favourite is the one served at Le Bisto du Dome at rue Bastille, so this dish had a lot to live up to and it came close to meeting the challenge. It was served with pommes de terre ecrasse (smashed potatoes) olives, and a puree of leeks. The fish, seasoned with thyme, was perfectly prepared--very moist and flavourful. A successful dish.
Sixth Course: This was my least favourite dish. Slices of roast duck were served with braised endive and a wine reduction sauce. The duck was tough and stringy and I personally thought the endive did not match the meat and was way too bitter. This may be a personal predjudice as I am not overy fond of endive.
Seventh Course: Pyrenese Cheese (don't know the name) was served with salad and confiture de myrtille. The cheese being hard, salty and creamy played very well against the salad and jam. Thank goodnes it was served at room temperature. Even in Paris I have often sent back cheese delivered to my table straight from the refrigerator.
Eight Course: A delicious sauteed banana covered in a thick chocolate sauce and served with vanilla ice cream. I am not a big dessert person, but this was definitly a contender in my dessert universe. I love bananas and vanilla ice cream (banana splits), so this was a suitable end to a wonderful meal.
I rolled out and walked back to the hotel, fearful I resembled a stuffed pepper after all that food.
Will post more later in the week.