Troisgros, Ouches

June 6, 2017

In 1957 Jean and Pierre Troisgros took over the restaurant founded by their parents in 1930 in Roanne, a small city in a lovely agricultural area in central France. Les Frères Troisgros gained three Michelin stars in1968 and has been a major culinary destination ever since. I first went in 1970 with John and Carol. Linda and I went later, but before blogging. In early 2017, under the leadership of Michel Troisgros, Pierre’s son, the restaurant, with an added fifteen-room hotel, was moved to a forty-two acre spot in the countryside outside Roanne near the little town of Ouches. It was renamed Le Bois Sans Feuilles . Linda and I went for the night of May 17, 2017.

We had a nice room on an upper floor of the renovated old building that was developed into the hotel.

I took this photo from our window of Linda reading in the garden in the late afternoon sun.

We enjoyed our apéritif, glasses of Bollinger « Special Cuvée » Brut Champagne outside on the terrace of the hotel’s bar.

The menus were brought for our consideration, along with a tray of pickled vegetables on wedges of tarte sablée.

Going inside, we were seated at a corner table in the all-new glass-walled dining room.

A few minutes later, César, the chef’s son, came out of the kitchen and pointed out a deer grazing near the woods outside.

A brioche and bread were brought.

We ordered the Menu de Saison for May and a bottle of 2005 Bruno Clair “La Dominode” Savigny-lès-Beaune.

Very good.

The first course was
Cosa croccante

This was mostly carrot chips; there were also garlic chips, tiny shrimp, capers and greens. There was a light lemon dressing. That was appropriate, but after the pickled tartes, acid was starting to build up on our taste buds.

Asperge au blé noir et à l’oseille.

A white asparagus stalk was topped with buckwheat and shredded sorrel. Underneath was an acidic dressing. We stopped sipping our wine.

Huîtres, chou et curry toastés.

Oysters were wrapped in a cabbage leaf and broiled under a curry butter dressing. A good idea.

Bouillon de Saint-Jacques « Matisse »

Scallop slices were covered with paper thin cutouts that reminded of Matisse’s cutout works, particularly the “Escargot.”

The seafood bouillon underneath was lightly acidic.

Le petit rouget rouge.

A filet of rouget, or sea bream, was covered with a sweet red pepper topping that was enhanced with hot pepper which killed the delicate taste of the fish. The quarter artichoke was nice. 

Ris de veau grillé « sim-sim »

A sweetbread lobe had been grilled with a sesame-yuzu coating.  Alongside were turnip raviolis. The sauce was veal stock with lime juice and sesame paste.

Bons fromages, beau voyage.

The extensive cheese cart was wheeled up to our table.

I enjoyed three selections, which were served with raisin bread and two compotes: tomato-vanilla and orange-apple-mustard. The cheeses let us neutralize some of the acid in our mouths and let us enjoy the half bottle of wine we still had left.  

Oeuf à la coque.

This was a faux egg made from a white chocolate shell with kumquat and yoghurt inside. The “nest” was made from thin strips of crème patisserie dried in the oven. Nice.

Champs colorés.

Vanilla-yoghurt raviolis of pumpkin and almond were accompanied by a wedge of blood orange.  

Sur le bout de la langue.

My notes say that these mignardises were mango, orange flower and sweet potato, although they do not look like it.

Michel Troisgros has co-authored a book titled “La Cuisine Acidulée.” He concludes that acid notes improve flavors. For our meal the acid was overdone and we did not enjoy the repeated acidity, although evidently some people do. The acid hides the inherent flavor of the ingredients and deadens the palate.

Our server was charming and efficient. The pace was good. The tables were well spaced and the noise level low.

In the morning we enjoyed the breakfast buffet in a central room in the hotel sector.



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