I didn't find any mention of it with a quick search. What are regulars doing around here? Or do I just suck at search?
So Bruno opened what he plans to be the first of his "Table" restaurant. The concept is extremely slow food and relies on an all-artisanal approach: that is, not only for produces and wine, but for tables and plates and everything up to the bathroom's sink. Here's the website: http://www.tablerestaurant.fr/
The kitchen is entirely open and seats are around it. But unlike Robuchon, you actually see all the cooking happening (Robuchon only lets you see a small, staged part) ; and unlike Robuchon too, the bar follows all kind of curves, including a couple of tables that seat five or six. However, except for Bruno himself, the cooks are about as pleasant as they are at Robuchon, not very chatty (one stood in front of me with his arms crossed as I was eating, despite my many attempts at engaging on any topic really).
The promise of awesome ingredients (with minimal cooking) is definitely held. Those langoustines I had yesterday were just wonderful, they would qualify as "mi-cuit", served on branches of fresh thyme. I think I would still be licking those shelves if they hadn't taken the plate away.
The sweetbread was also pristine and cooked to almost perfection, with a little floury crisp around. It was unfortunately served with a lamb juice, which I think is a mistake ; and with bland wild mushrooms -- lack of salt probably. Also, the limits of a "little cooking" approach: only some mushrooms are better cooked rare, trompettes and pleurottes not among them. While in the mistake department, awesome raw scallops came with awesome (and cheap) white truffles, and I don't think they go well together.
Nothing terrible, and nothing detracting from the admirable work of Bruno's vendors. But not much was added either, to my taste. I like more muscle and more intervention in my cooking (not much, mind you -- minimalist alla l'Arpège is fine ; nihilism that way strikes me as excessive).
Prices are a reasonable compromise, giving access to Arpège level ingredients at a fraction of the price, while allowing for a healthy margin (FD: was comped). In six months, the restaurant seemed to have easily found its clientele of high-spending sophisticated gourmets -- in fact I met quite a few at that impromptu lunch, notably some renowned wine specialists or l'Ambroisie regulars.
Here's a pic of the dessert: whole quince, vanilla syrup and caramel icecream - awesome icecream. The quince, like everything else, was under-seasoned, but that might be my wasted palate of overfed, overseasoned foodie.
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