During my brief 3 day visit to Paris, I have to say that my girlfriend and I experienced some truly amazing meals which ran the gamut in terms of setting.
Passage 53 on our first night was a truly special meal. Before getting to the food, I must first comment on the ambiance: it is a tiny room, but very nice. Did have an exclusive feel to it. Also, the vast majority of my fellow diners were foreigners, which may have to do with the time of year we were there (just before New Years).
On to the food. As many of you know, it is a chef's surprise menu and costs 95 euros. Guillaume, the maitre'd, was kind enough to recommend a terrific and inexpensive (if you can call a 40 euro bottle of wine that) bottle of white Burgundy which matched very well with our meal. I'll just highlight some of my favorite courses so as to keep the recap brief.
"White course" - cauliflower cream, grilled calimari, shaved cauliflower - this was a truly beautiful dish both in terms of taste and presentation. I am a cauliflower nut, so this definitely was a bright spot for me.
Amouse bouche of onion - served right before the "meat" portion of the menu, this is one of the most ingenious dishes i have ever eaten. The chef placed slivers of chorizo in between the layers of the onion before it was cooked. Simple and delicious, with a touch of brilliance.
Foie Gras - in warm clementine "broth" - the foie melted wonderfully in the mouth, and the clementine brother was the perfect tangy compliment to the rich foie gras.
Dessert - I am a dessert person, and I have to say that I would go back to Passage 53 for the dessert alone. Dessert is really a collection of about 6 smaller desserts, eaten in a progression. Though they were all fantastic in my opinion there were two highlights. First was a duo of chestnut and banana - one a sauteed banana wrapped in chestnut cream and the other banana gelato on top of a chestnut cake.Next was the "chocolate pie", which was quite possibly the most incredible dessert I have ever had in my life. It was one of the few pieces of food that have really blown me away. I know this sounds absurd, but it was kind of an emotional experience. I guess great chocolate can do that to you.
As for the service, I must say that it was superb. Incredibly attentive and cordial without being overbearing. A truly amazing experience - I can't wait to come back to Paris and visit Passage 53 again. Highly recommended.