Carré des Feuillants, Paris
June 19, 2012
Chef Alain Dutournier opened this restaurant near the Place Vendôme in 1986, but Linda and I had never been until we went for dinner the evening of June 12, 2012.
We started with glasses of Champagne, Bonnaire Brut, Cuvée Alain Dutournier.
Three little hors d’oeuvres arrived.
They were light and good.
Then a hot, crispy shrimp tempura on a toothpick was presented.
We ordered the larger of the two tasting menus:
“LE MEILLEUR DU MOMENT.“
The bread basket was passed.
The first course was
ÉCREVISSES PATTES ROUGES EN INFUSION PARFUMÉE,
SPÉCIALES D’ARCACHON EN RAVIOLES DE CHAIR DE ST JACQUES
The crayfish tails were lightly poached in the saffron broth. Diced Arcachon oysters were inside ravioli formed from sliced scallops colored black with squid ink. The whole dish was a nice mix of flavors of the sea.
With this we had a glass of Saint-Romain white Burgundy.
The second course was
SAUMON SAUVAGE DE L’ADOUR JUSTE CUIT A LA PLAQUE,
PETITES GIROLLES, LENTILLES GERMÉES, FEUILLES DE CORIANDRE
This was a flavorful piece of wild salmon enhanced by its crisped skin. The garnishes of girolle mushrooms, lentils, fava beans and coriander foam were enjoyable, although not unusual enough to elevate this dish.
We started on a bottle of
1990 Jean-Marc Boillot “Carelle sous la Chapelle” Volnay.
It was superb.
ASPERGE VERTE DU MIDI, COPEAUX DE VIEUX COMTÉ,
MORILLES AU JUS, L’OEUF EN COQUE D’ASPERGE
The two asparagus stalks, and the two morels under their foam, were exceptionally flavorful. Thin slices of aged Comté cheese covered the peeled stems. The ball was a soft boiled egg surrouded by thin asparagus slices and lightly deep fried. We really liked this dish.
CAILLE DES PRÉS FLANQUÉE DE FOIE GRAS,
MACARONIS AUX CÈPES
Half of a roasted quail was topped with a slice of sautéed foie gras (on the right.) A raft of macaronis was topped with sautéed porcini. All of the flavors were rich and luscious, just as they should be at this point in the meal.
FOUGERU BRIARD AFFINÉ A LA TRUFFE
This brie cheese had been interleaved with ferns and black truffle bits. It was in perfect condition. The spray of little salad greens offset in well. A fine cheese course.
For the pre-dessert a sphere of white chocolate was presented on a layer of rich dark chocolate. Hot green tea was then poured onto it, enhancing the flavors, although not the visual aesthetics.
CLAFOUTIS DE CERISES BURLAT,
RESILLE DE CACAO, CRÈME GLACÉE A LA VERVEINE FRAÎCHE
Early cherries topped mini-clafoutis, or traditional cherry cakes. Decorations were formed from dark chocolate. The scoop was an ice cream of verveine, a verbena traditionally used for herbal tea.
There were two little trays of excellent mignardises:
Dutournier effectively updated traditional French cuisine. His ingredients and techniques were impeccable. The courses followed a logical, wine-friendly progression. The service and pace were always just right. While the décor is not to our taste, and seems out of place by the Place Vendôme, the ambience was calm with well-spaced tables. We are glad we finally went to Carré des Feuillants.