June 26, 2012
After seven years working at the Plaza Athénée, chef Kei Kobayashi opened his restaurant last year in the spot which was Gerard Besson before. Joëlle joined Linda and me for dinner there the evening of June 13, 2012.
We started with flutes of Champagne. The amuse-gueule was little foie gras cubes with fresh ginger.
The fruity sharpness of ginger was a perfect foil for the foie gras. The biscuit outriders made this finger food and added good crunch. Things were starting out well.
Butter and salt were put on the table; the bread basket was passed.
There is no à la carte option. We ordered the larger of the two menus: Harmonie Collection, Composition2. The dishes are not described beforehand, although we had a choice of American beef, Spanish pork or pigeon for our meat course. The French titles below are from an email the restaurant sent me later, although, as you will see, I cannot remember some items. We ordered a bottle of 2010 Chapoutier Condrieu, which was excellent, of course. It was followed by a half bottle of Savigny Verglesse with the pigeon and cheese.
The first course was
Glace à l’oignon, concassée de tomates et caviar
A scoop of onion ice cream was topped with a bit of caviar and served on chopped fresh tomatoes complemented by basil-flavored bits.
Salade de saumon fumé et vinaigrette de yaourt
This pretty plate included, from the left: finely julienned beets in the style of daikon for sushi; a vertical salad of small greens in a cucumber base; a chunk of house-smoked salmon; a mix of various raw vegetables, herbs and flowers. The white dressing was a yoghurt vinaigrette.
Alongside was a bowl of delicious cold cucumber broth with a scoop of cucumber ice cream.
Very good natural flavors.
Beignet d’asperges vertes, émulsion de pamplemousse rose
Tempura of a large, fresh asparagus stalk was topped with a bit of caviar. Alongside was a spiral, creamy cone lightly flavored with pink grapefruit. Curried salt added a touch of needed spark.
Bar de ligne sur écaille, asperges blanches
A piece of sea bass with a nicely crisped skin was served on a lettuce cream and lengthwise slices of white asparagus.
Homard bleu breton, vinaigrette de tomate et pesto d’herbes
A chunk of Breton lobster, hiding under a piece of its shell, was served on a plate decorated with spirals of tomato vinaigrette and pea purée. We were still in the seafood and vegetable phase, but this dish was richer.
Pigeon rôti, légumes de saison
A generous piece of roast pigeon breast was served on a lettuce “dish” garnished with spring vegetables.
The cheese tray was small, but high quality and just ripe.
Vacherin aux fruits rouges, glace basilic
Seasonal strawberries and raspberries were prepared in several different delicious ways.
The madeleines were to be dipped into the caramel in the glass. The spoon held a tea sphere and a candied mint leaf.
Biscuit chocolat-caramel, sucre pétillant
The left cylinder was a light chocolate mousse inside a crisp caramel tube.
The triangular chocolate truffles were excellent.
As we left, the chef came out to chat with us a bit.
The meal was really excellent. There was imagination and flair in every dish; the combinations of flavors and textures were well conceived and executed. The courses progressed in a logical fashion. The service was always efficient and the pace just right. The tables were well spaced; the ambience was calm and right for the meal. Bravo.