February 21, 2008
Paris – Good Food!
Good food for us doesn’t mean expensive – sometimes the best stuff is the cheapest (In N Out Burger for one).
Paris does have its share of street food – and a special version of it – since the vendors aren’t actually “on the street” – but have open portals to the street. Crepes, bakeries and the roasted chestnut vendors come to mind.
The crepes, as I mentioned before, are very fun, and extremely varied – from straight up dessert (chocolate, Nutella, fruits, sugar). Virtually every street that we walked down had some local creperie. Try it!
As for bread and croissants, we found Eric Keyser to be the best (http://www.maison-kayser.com/uk/boulangeries.html).
There were three meals that we had on this trip that were really special. (I did my best w/the links – all of these places don’t have their own websites, and some are in French.)
Part of the reason for much of this specialness was that we are mid-black truffle season. Many if not most of these places had some sort of special w/black truffles. This isn’t US black truffles where you get a sliver, you get a TON… totally different experience.
Au Bon Accueil (with Samwich)
We got there right as they opened (no reservation), and they squeezed us in, which was super nice. We even got a half-booth table which worked out very well for us w/the Samwich.
For starters we had a mushroom risotto (about four kinds of mushrooms), a quasi-mashed potato w/black truffles, with a soft boiled egg on top (with truffles, naturally), accompanied with perfect baby greens with shaved parmesan and truffles.
For the mains, I got a steak, which I think was a filet (this was the weakest thing that we had) w/mushrooms. Anh got this amazing chicken, which was spreckled with truffles, and served with pan-fried gnocchi and hearts of palm, topped with a champagne foam.
The mains were served with a perfect, buttery potato puree. Amazing!
For dessert, we had a roasted pineapple with apple crumble. It was like a deconstructed pineapple upside down cake. No dessert is complete w/o some sort of chocolate, so we had a chocolate Grenache as well. Both were outstanding.
http://www.frommers.com/destinations/paris/D41441.html (not with Samwich)
This was a local (Marie-Pierre) recommendation. Its small, out of the way, and you should get a reservation. She went with us, and helped with the ordering.
To start with, along with bread (typical), they serve a homemade meat pate, as well as pickles and onions – all of which were awesome.
We also got the charcuterie plate, which was Basque in origin, and they serve uniquely – they just give you the whole sausages to slice off what you want. All varieties here from salami-like to a blood sausage, to a crispy pig-fat… yum!
We had two kinds of scallops (served on the shell, the real shell) – with truffles and without. I’ve never had scallops with truffles before, and well, it was amazing.
For the main, we had fresh fois gras, braised beef cheeks and braised pork breast. The beef cheeks and pork breast were good – not great, and we’ve had better. The fois though, was amazing. According to Marie-Pierre, fois doesn’t hold for long, so when you get fois most of the time, its either partially or fully cooked. Fresh fois is rare, and a special treat, so we got it.
Wow. I’m not a fois fan generally (just too fatty for me), but this was light, crispy and just plain amazing). If you like or don’t like fois, if you see “fresh”, and its really fresh, get it. By looking around the restaurant, you could see what an occasion it was – nearly half of all the plates coming out were this.
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon (with Samwich)
These guys got points right off the bat from us because they had high-chairs, said they loved kids (and really did), and even though we had reservations for two, gave us three spots, in the corner, so it would be easier to manage Samwich.
This is one of our favorite places in Las Vegas (at the MGM), and honestly, this was even better… I thought it might be, well, about the same, a little better – but it was just better, all the way around.
The floorplan is very interesting – you sit at a bar, surrounding the kitchen, able to watch the preparation of everything.
Their menu has both small plates, and larger plates, to give you the opportunity to try more stuff (try as much as you can!)
The first thing that was brought out was a quasi-mashed potato w/truffle shavings and bits. It’s hard to describe this… but it had texture, taste, and just an amazing look to it. Samwich *loved* the drippings from this, as well as the potato bits. Me too!
We also got a charcuterie plate, which was served with a tomato bruschetta. I’m a big bruschetta fan, but this was amazing – spicy, salty, and tasty tomatoes, in February!
They next brought out the spaghetti, which we had order for Samwich, just with tomato sauce. Far from a throwaway dish, this was again perfect – texture, seasoning – right down to the whole marinated olives served on the side.
We also had a chestnut veloute, served w/floating fois gras. Again, the fois was amazing, and not being a fois fan, this is saying something.
Next was a lobster ravioli, topped with a cream and truffle reduction. The lobster was perfect, and wow… amazing combinations.
We finished with a small pork chop (super small!), which was served w/the trademark potato puree Robuchon. Fabulous end to a fabulous meal – and this ended up being our last big meal of this trip….