L’Aromate, Nice 4

May 8, 2018

Mickaël Gracieux opened L’Aromate in 2008. In 2010 it gained a Michelin star, which it still has. Linda and I went twice in L’Aromate’s first year, but had not been back until we went for dinner on April 19, 2018.

It has recently moved to a larger space in central Nice.

The high-ceilinged, spacious dining room has thirty places in a spare modern style.

The large kitchen is glassed-in so one can watch the cooking and plating. There is room for more than just the chef and a sous-chef (pictured) who were there that evening. There are a lot of gadgets for foams etc.

We ordered glasses of Champagne. A bowl of tuna rillettes was put on the table.

There is a choice of a medium-sized and a larger menu or a few à la carte offerings. We selected the first. We ordered a bottle of 2011 Domaine Chantal Lescure ‘Les Vignots’ Pommard.

Good pinot noir character.

The amuse-gueule had a jus of meat on the bottom with a cream of Jerusalem artichokes over it. These surrounded a whole poached egg. Tiny croutons added crunch.

Somewhat luscious for an amuse, but ok.
.

Our first menu course was
Pélamide de Méditerranée
Marinée et grillée aux aromates,
velours tonato, fleurs aromatiques.

A square of marinated and grilled Mediterranean bonito bits was covered with a tuna mayonnaise (as in vitello tonnato.) It was decorated with borage flowers, leaves, petals and small croutons. This was good, but it was a large serving and did not hold our interest.

Petit Pois//Foie Gras de Canard
Les premiers petit pois en velouté,
royale de foie gras de Chalosse,
pain feuilleté à la fleur de sel.



We were served a glass bowl with a disk of foie gras on the bottom. This was topped with little round toasts, parmesan chips and chervil. Then a cream of seasonal peas was poured over it. The pea flavor was excellent, but the combination detracted from it. Alongside was a good, warm, flakey bun.
.

Then we were served the first of two extra courses offered by the chef
Raviolis de pomme de terre aux œufs d’hareng fumés,
soupe de coquillages au basilique et citron.


We were served five raviolis with a cupped top. They were filled with potato purée and garnished with salty smoked herring roe and a decorative bit of gold leaf. Then a seafood broth flavored with basil and lemon was poured around them. There were a lot of flavors here which did not harmonize. 

Asperges de Provence//Noisettes du Piemont
Cuite à court mouillement aux feuilles de mélisse,
crémeux à la noisette.

Two thick stalks of local asparagus had been slowly steamed. Lemon balm leaves were sprinkled over them. Alongside were dabs of hazelnut purée, which resembled peanut butter.

Filet de Bœuf Charolais//Monalisa
en piccata, pané à la mignonette de poivre-fleur de sel-
noisettes torréfiées, mousseline de monalisa,
chips de pomme de terre en impression persil plat.

This was like a classic steak-au-poivre with most of the crushed peppercorns replaced with crushed roasted hazelnuts and some with coarse sea salt. The inside of the good piece of beef was still red while the outside was crisp. Alongside were scoops of a good purée of monalisas, a variation on bintjes, the most grown all-around potato in France. We had no idea how the chef enclosed the parsley leaves in the thin transparent potato chips. Despite the restrained use of peppercorns, they were too strong for the other flavors.
.

Pomme Chanteclerc//Caramel
en millefeuille, crème glacé au lait de Cuneo et mascarpone,
velouté de caramel tendre chaud.


We were served a “millefeuille” with milk and mascarpone ice cream on the bottom, topped with baked apple rounds and a wafer. Then warm caramel was poured over it. This was luscious and good. A nice end to the meal.

I think that the chef was trying too hard this evening. The combinations were striking for being unusual, but many did not work well together for me. The decorative elements were nice, but we could watch the chef and the one sous-chef spending a lot of time finishing the plating with their tweezers, resulting in an annoyingly slow pace for us. The chef’s wife, Elise, ran the dining room with charm and efficiency and helped in the kitchen when things slowed down.  We wish Aromate well in its ambitious new location. 

http://www.laromate.fr/english.html

To see our meals at L’Aromate ten years before click here.

 

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