L’Hostellerie Jérôme, La Turbie, 4
October 20, 2009
L’Hostellerie Jérôme has been our favorite restaurant within a short drive from our house. Linda, Tony and I went back on October 10, 2009. The restaurant was full on this Saturday evening and we were seated in the back room. We ordered glasses of Simart Moreau Grand Cru Champagne. Very nice. Three hors d’oeuvres for each of us arrived: a gougère, a foie gras cube and something we never did figure out.
The menu gave us a choice of à la carte, a limited 65€ menu and, our choice, the menu Poissons et crustacés de la criée d’Imperia at €120. We ordered two bottles of regional white wine which complemented the cuisine. 2007 La Courtade from the Ile de Porquerolles of the coast between St Tropez and Toulon is good with seafood and is supposed to have a touch of the salt sea air. The 2007 Domaine de Trevallon was excellent. One thing that has not changed in years here is the amuse-gueule: a warm duck pâté in a pastry crust, greens arranged to make it look like a turnip and a truffle cream sauce alongside.
The first course was
Tagliatelles à la rapée de truffes blanches d’Alba
The first white truffles of the season are always a great pleasure. Fresh pasta in a butter sauce is a perfect way to show them off.
Gamberoni rossi grillés « Bellini » à la menthe sauvage
The barely cooked local shrimp were nice, but matching them with peaches didn’t work for me. The mint was lost in its little fried bundle, but could have been a good idea if there were enough to make a statement.
Calamars grillés servi avec ail doux à tartiner
The grilled calamari pieces were plain except for some pepper. I liked the garlic mousse for spreading on the toast, which created an unusual, but balanced, dish.
Scampi cuits dans une infusion de citronnelle aux mangues
This seafood/fruit combination worked better than the last one. The lemon grass was dominant over the mango.
Filets de rougets de roche aux olives noires à la compotée niçoise
Local rouget filets with crispy skin combined with olives is a classic local combination and worked well here after the courses with more exotic ideas.
Les cèpes, les pommes de terre nouvelles et le foie gras rôti
The smashed new potatoes and the sautéed cèpes were lovely, but the foie gras was overly crisp and hard with little flavor. We couldn’t figure out how this could happen without the foie gras all dissolving.
Millefeuille aux fraises des bois, glace aux grains de vanille
The wild strawberries were fresh and delicious. The vanilla in the ice cream was very evident.
Tarte fine tiède aux potimarrons, raisins chasselas, noix nouvelles
This pumpkin concoction with grapes and walnuts alongside was okay.
Chocolat cuit nature dans un bouillon de pêches blanches
The chocolate was high quality, but the peach broth didn’t work for me here any better than it had with the shrimp.
There were sugary candied flowers and nuts. The thin dark chocolate disks were excellent.
This meal worked a lot better when the chef stuck to his tried and true regional combinations. Some chefs are better at innovation than others and I think that Bruno Cirino is one of the others. His procurement of excellent local products cannot be surpassed and he knows the traditional ways to show them off without either too much simplicity or too much complexity.
The service was very good, but the kitchen was a bit slow on this Saturday with a full house. We will be back.
To see our blogpost from a year ago click here.