L’Arôme, Paris

January 20, 2010

On January 13, 2010, Laurent of Gastros on Tour joined Linda and me for dinner at L’Arôme. Laurent is a regular so we were welcomed like old friends and seated at the table next to the kitchen where we could watch the preparations and the chef could step and out discuss the meal as it progressed. This was my view of a sous-chef working in front of us.

Thomas Boullault joined L’Arome as chef a little over two years ago and earned its first Michelin star last March. He is charming and obviously impassioned about his work. The initial discussion was wide ranging, particularly since this was the first night of a menu new in both its format and all the dishes. We ordered the Menu Dégustation with several definite requests of what we would like to have included.  Fresh country bread and Bordier butter arrived.

We ordered a bottle of 2008 Christophe Pichon Condrieu which was good and went well with the early courses. This was followed by a bottle of 2006 Clos de la Bousse d’Or, 1er Cru, Volnay; it seemed insubstantial to me at first, but became more assertive with the sweetbreads.


The first course was
Nems au bar de ligne
pamplemousse rose, caviar

The pink grapefruit sauce for this spring roll did not overwhelm the excellent fresh sea bass filling, but brought out the flavor, as did the caviar dab.


Le Foie gras de canard confit,
En casse-croute de pain croustillant et betterave, anguille fumée


You cannot see the two main ingredients in the photo. Between the thin slices of toast are slices of foie gras and of smoked eel. The chef explained that smokiness complements foie gras, but that it cannot be done directly. The solution is to meld it with another fatty ingredient which takes smoke well, in this case eel. The vinaigrette of beet root and the beet greens cut the richness and the toast provides the needed textural base. We thought this was very successful.

La fine crème de châtaignes
coquille Saint-Jacques


This was an extra offered by the chef to let us sample his new foamy chestnut soup. Very nice.

Le Risotto arborio,
Lié à la truffe noir du Haut-Var, copeaux de vielle Mimolette

The good flavor of midwinter truffles really came though in this dish. It was much more accomplished than the similar risotto we had at Le Cinq the evening before. The shards of aged Mimolette, a somewhat nutty cheese from the far north of France, wouldn’t be my choice as a garnish, but they went well.

Le turbotin
Rôti au tilleul et morceaux de noix, mousseline de carottes « yellow stone »
Sauce au vin d’arbois

When we arrived, the chef told us about the great turbot he had acquired that day. He also mentioned the special yellow carrots. So naturally we wanted them included in our meal. The carrots are in a purée on the bottom. The sauce is made from a veal stock, enhanced with  the jus of the fish bones and Arbois, a flavorful white wine from the Jura. All the ingredients were allowed to shine through. Superb.

Le ris de veau de lait,
raddichio de trévise, raisins secs du Chili, brisures cacahuètes,
Jus à la réglisse


We could watch the chef, Thomas Boullault, assembling our sweetbread dish in front of us. They rest on a bed of braised radicchio with two leaves for decoration. Peanuts and a licorice flavored veal glaze finish the dish. This was excellent and quite rich, but it was the only meat course.


Le soufflé et le sorbet mandarine, sucette à la pâte d’amande

Having both a hot soufflée and a cold sorbet in the same tangarine flavor was a lovely contrast. The cherry is actually coated almond paste.

La poire Williams, meringue blonde croquante,
marrons et noix de pécans caramélisés, glace au vieux rhum

Chunks of pear and caramelized pecans were on top of a very flaky meringue. The aged rum ice cream was delicious. The composition of this dessert had no logic, but it was lovely.

Mignardises

Nice little macaroons and fruit gels to finish off the evening.

The meal was consistently excellent throughout. The ingredients were top quality; the composition of the dishes was well thought out; the presentation was lovely. Of course, our service was excellent, but I think that the pace and ambience was right for everyone fortunate enough to be at L’Arôme. 

www.larome.fr/

4 Responses to “L’Arôme, Paris”

  1. Laurent V Says:

    Glad you enjoyed as i did ! Lovely report Michael ! And your pics are really nice ! I think that the meal was faultless indeed with a couple of highlights like the risotto (yummy !!), turbotin and sweetbreads…

    Will send the link to the guys of L’Arôme.

    Take care !
    Laurent

  2. Alex Says:

    Very Nice report and nice pics indeed! I think it’s interesting how some dishes and products found their way into French restaurants that you wouldnt have seen some years earlier – like radicchio di treviso or the risotto. An incontournable step for the renewal of French cuisine? Regards, ALex

  3. Blair Says:

    Mike, This looks wonderful! Would you mind comparing this meal with some of your 3 star meals? As we often talk about sometimes the 1 star meals are the best as the chef focuses on the food as opposed to trying to be a creative marvel.

  4. john howell Says:

    It can’t get any better than this. What a wonder!


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