Le Violon d’Ingres, Paris
June 28, 2016
Christian Constant, who had been a chef at the Crillon and the Ritz in Paris, opened Le Violon d’Ingres in 1996. It has a Michelin star. The name comes from a French expression for a second skill beyond the one for which a person is mainly known. The French neo-classical painter Ingres enjoyed playing the violin when he was not painting. It is also the title of a famous photograph by Man Ray.
Micky joined Linda and me at Le Violon d’Ingres for dinner on May 13, 2016.
We were seated along the wall of the long, narrow dining room with the open kitchen in the back.
We started with glasses of Bruno Paillard Champagne. These were followed by a bottle of Villard Condrieu and of Villard Saint-Joseph red. (We were having a good time and I was taking photos, but not taking notes.) We ordered the tasting menu.
There were simple little hors d’œuvres.
A loaf of bread was put on the table.
The first course was
Velouté de petits pois, caillé de brebis relevé au vinaigre de vin vieux
A bowl was served to each of us with sheep’s cheese enhanced with aged vinegar and garnished with lettuces. A creamy pea soup was then poured around. The flavor of the peas came through nicely. The cheese added interest. A nice start.
Coque d’œuf à la crème de morilles, mouillettes du caviar Avruga
An eggshell had been refilled with a morel cream and reheated. There were little dabs of caviar on an asparagus slice atop a crisp rectangle.
Feuilleté d’asperges vertes et blanches, beurre monté à la ciboulette
A stalk of white asparagus, and one of green were dressed with chive butter and served in a puff pastry sandwich. The first three courses were nicely based on seasonal vegetables.
Turbot doré meunière, soubise d’oignons tempura, jus de poulet au soja
Two slices of turbot had been floured and sautéed. They were dressed with chicken stock with soy sauce. Alongside was a swirl of bechamel with deep fried onions. Very good.
Pigeon fermier des Landes rôti au crumble, jeunes légumes du moment à la sarriette
Pigeon had been roasted and topped with chopped pistachios. The pigeon had a nice flavor, but the lack of crispness in the skin was disappointing. It was garnished with spring vegetables dressed with summer savory.
The cheese cart was wheeled up to our table, but we declined.
Fraises façon Melba à la gelée de groseilles
Strawberries in a meringue ring were topped with vanilla ice cream and a red current sauce.
Glace au thym, sauce au chocolat amer
Thyme ice cream was served on a rich bitter chocolate sauce. Inventive and good.
A basket of fresh, warm, aromatic madeleines was passed.
The mignardises were almond tuiles and chocolate bits.
We enjoyed a very nice meal. It mixed French culinary traditions with imagination and good ingredients. The service, ambiance, pace and noise level were all correct.