Le Diamant Noir 4

April 21, 2007

On April 20, 2007, Linda and I went back to Le Diamant Noir with Véronique, Jean-Yves, David and Marda. When we arrived at 8:30, our table was set up in the middle of the room at counter height with six bar-type chairs. This worked out surprisingly well. The restaurant was not quite full this Friday evening. Orders for apéritifs were taken and six lovely warm toasts à la truffe were offered to us. We ordered the Menu Dégustation at only 45 € and a bottle of 2005 Mas Haut-Buis “Les Carlines,” a pleasant Côteaux du Languedoc red wine.  The first course was three separate items on a squarish white plate: 

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Truffe en feuilleté

Macaron de champignons à la truffe

Salade de tomate confite, parmesan et truffe. 

The truffle in puff pastry was on a rich brown sauce that created a traditional bistro effect. The macaroon, a trompe l’oeil created by slicing a white mushroom in half, filling it and topping it with chopped truffles, brought a lighter touch. Then the salad cleared the palate without being boring. 

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The second course, Gambas snackée et son cappuccino à la truffe, had two tasty fresh gambas on a bed of flavored mashed potatoes. The truffled cappuccino with a shellfish reduction in a little glass was quite elegant.

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The third course was Carré d’agneau croustillant à la truffe avec legumes glacés. It was a perfectly cooked rib chop from a rack of lamb with truffle slices, a glazed carrot, an artichoke heart and a green asparagus spear. 

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The dessert was Pain perdu aux pommes et caramel au beurre sale. The « French Toast » with caramel topping was delicious. The caramel ice cream and chopped apples were needed elements.

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Above left: Marda and Jean-Yves enjoy the gambas and their cappuccino.

Above right: Véronique gets ready to open the truffle in puff pastry.

Below: Linda and David make a point above the lamb. 

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We had an excellent time in a friendly, intimate ambience and enjoyed the meal. The menu this time specified that the truffles were “truffe tuber Brumale,” a variety in quality between the prized winter and the faint summer truffles. I think that the difference in power was substantial. Moreover, seasonal spring cuisine, such as lamb, is not as suited to truffles as the veal or capon we had in the winter. (See DN posts 1&2 and 3.) The glazed vegetables were not in the same category as the sensational truffled purée of Jerusalem artichokes or the truffled chopped winter vegetables we had before. And the classic truffle/egg combination was missing this time; perhaps it would have been disappointing with “Brumale” truffles. Everything was professionally and competently cooked, but this meal did not distinguish Benjamin Bruno from many other good chefs in Nice as his winter meals had. Cooking in the warmer months will be a big challenge for him as he moves ahead.

www.diamant-noir.fr

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