La Table du Lancaster

November 24, 2006

7, rue de Berri, 01 40 76 40 18,

(November , 2006)  Alan and Ellen are New York friends most devoted to great food, trendy restaurants and fabulous hotels. And, very knowledgeable. So when they learned we were staying at the Lancaster in Paris they told us that we must eat in their  dining room. With that recommendation, we decided to enjoy a dinner there on our last night in town. Since the hotel itself is a small one, the dining room is also small; but it is as charming as the hotel. table-du-lancaster.jpgOur table was in the tiny, back dining room that looks out on a garden. This room seats maybe 6 people while the main one seats about 20. Even though they were only about 60% full, the service was more than a little slow—we were without menus and sort of lost to the staff for about 25 minutes and then we waited 20 minutes before they took our order; but we were so relaxed that we didn’t get too upset by all this delay. Once the order was taken, however, everything moved along smoothly.Chef Michel Troisgros divided the seasonal menu into six or seven sections plus dessert: L‘esprit de la tomate ; L’éclat des citrons et des agrumes ; Le piquant des condiments et des épices; La vivacité du vin et e mordant des vinaigres; La verdeur des légumes, des herbes et des fruits; and L’aigrelet des laitages. The arrangement made a lot more sense on their printed page than here and we found it a very appealing and revealing presentation of the choices facing the diner. Each dish in each section ranges from €22 to €58. We chose to have the tasting menu, called “Notes acidulées,” which was a menu in eight courses (€120).We began with a cold crème de potiron which was so good we sat back and sighed, sure that we were going to really enjoy this menu. The sardines fraîches à la moutarde, voiles d’une pàte fine, served at room temperature, were quite special. The cueillette de legumes d’automne was then followed by cuisses de grenouilles au tamarin, with a very dusky chou-fleur flavored with garlic and ginger.The finger bowl, served at this point, had such a strong fragrance, however, that it struck a wrong note. Now we are up to number five, and this was a real winner. It was a bouillon perfumé à la dorade rose et au riz “Koshi-Hikari which was similar to a risotto but had a crust. The fish was perfectly poached and went perfectly with the rice. Number six were delightful noissettes de chevreuil aux mirabelles.On to the cheese course, a well-selected variety, all perfectly aged. Finally, our desserts, starting with pomme confite au miel et sabayon de calvados, and ending with a tartelette au chocolat et noisettes, glace à l’huile d’argan.  As for wine, we started with a coupe de champagne and then followed with a 2002 Pessac-Leognan from La Chapelle de La Mission Haut-Brion.

For the future, the back room is a better bet than the front room because it so intimate and therefore cannot accommodate large and loud groups. In warmer weather it probably opens to the garden where an aperitif would be nice. The tasting menu is well worth it so go when you have the appetite. Since it is seasonal, we imagine that even the sections of the menu would be different from what we experienced in the fall.

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