We’re back for a second round at l’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. This time in Paris on the scenic Champs Elysees, the restaurant is located in the basement of a classy drugstore. The colors are exactly the same chic red and black as in Las Vegas. It is elegant and sleek, yet modern - something that should be appreciated as this makes for a very nice atmosphere. The spiral staircase leading to the front desk is complimented with a series of mirrors, and as you enter you see a classy glass foosball table and an interesting dry ice (I assume) fireplace.
Again, we had the Menu <<Decouverte de Saison>>, a 9 course tasting menu meal which was very pricey at €175, which equates to about $271 CAD. We were seated at the bar; this time we could observe the creation of our dishes.
Amuse-bouche to start:
Pour Commencer (royale cremeuse voile d’une emulsion parmesane au Maury Vieilles Vignes)
… To Start (Royal veil of creamy Maury Vieilles Vignes parmesan emulsion)
Wonderful combination of smooth and creamy perfection in a glass. Great way to start the meal.
Le caviar imperial de Sologne (en symphonie de tartare de saumon aux pousses de shiso)
… Imperial caviar from Sologne (in symphony with salmon tartare with shiso sprouts)
Intriguing presentation with the red spiral and a lovely gold accent. I loved the tartare and caviar, which is always a personal favorite. You can taste - and see – the quality here. Highly refined flavors accompanied with thin slices of toast which bring a light crunchy contrast.
La noix de Saint-Jacques (ravigotee de poivre noir de Malabar aux herbes en civet et epinards petites feuilles)
… Scallop (ravigote of black pepper from Malabar with herb stew and small spinach leaves)
This dish seems rather gastronomic… Here, the ravigote (a mixture of chopped chervil, chives, tarragon, and shallots, used in cookery to give piquancy to a sauce or as a base for a herb butter – https://www.google.fr/search?q=what+is+a+ravigote&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-US:IE-Address&ie=&oe=&rlz=&gfe_rd=cr&ei=vkYsU6GVL7DY8gf4joDIBw) seems to be in a crunchy form rather than the typical liquid state as it is topped off with black peppery seasoning from India. Also, the “herb stew” is presented through foamy bubbles which appear nicely with the consistently cooked sea scallop.
La Truffle (sur un oeuf de poule miroir au plat, riz nacre dore aux copeaux de parmesan)
… The Truffle (fried hen egg mirrored to the plate, golden pearl rice with parmesan)
Does the name of this dish seem familiar? If so, you may be correct as this happens to be the same concept as La Truffle in Las Vegas - at first I thought it would be the exact same! However, just as a picture says a thousand words, I guess one main ingredient may allow for countless recipe variations! This dish does not disappoint: the rice is slightly crispy, and black truffle always adds a touch of importance. Also involved in this dish is the delicacy Iberico ham (black footed Spanish pig).
Le Homard (en tsukune dans son bouillon epice au gingembre)
… The lobster (in tsukune in its spicy ginger broth)
Another brilliant dish robust in flavors. A take on a more complex wonton soup, all the components of this dish (mushrooms, micro-greens) make for a great finishing product. So tasty, and the little “crevettes” wontons add a clever touch.
Le black cod (sous une mousseline de daikon au yuzu)
… The black cod (in a daikon yuzu mousseline)
The presentation here was beautiful with the purple flower which adds a vibrant pop of color. In all honesty, the black cod was perfectly cooked – it slid apart like butter – giving it a wonderful texture, plus it tasted magnificent. The mousseline did not include yuzu, but more resembled a mild potato puree. Perhaps it was only meant to be a splash of flavor to accompany the violet blossom.
For the main dish, there was a choice of:
La Caille (caramelisee avec une pomme puree et salade d’herbes)
… Quail (with a carmelised apple puree and herb salad)
and my choice of ↓ (contrary to everyone else, I decided on this because we previously had quail the other night. I’m glad I did!)
l’agneau de lait (en cotelettes dorees a la fleur de thym)
… Suckling lamb (golden chops and thyme)
Not usually a huge fan of lamb, this was super delicious! The meat was perfect: tender, juicy, and very appetizing. However, it seemed to be missing mashed potatoes as seen in the quail dish… Either way, we all got more than enough in a bowl on the side. Regardless, I really enjoyed this dish, and it seemed the taste of lamb was almost concealed - either in the sauce or in the cooking technique.
Even in the picture, you can see the creamy consistency of these world-famous mashed potatoes. Literally resembling velvet, I can’t understand how Robuchon gets these down to such a smooth, flawless, flowing texture while keeping it’s structure. It seems to be a puree, but it can’t be as it is not that fluid, and as I just said, it maintains a more solid form. Amazing!
Le Pralinas (cremeux praline noisette au yaourt, biscuit aux amandes, legerete a l’ananas)
… The Pralinas (creamy hazelnut praline yoghurt, almond cookie, light pineapple)
This royal looking dessert was very refreshing and light, something different that I really appreciated. What stood out to me was the pineapple shaved ice! :) Not too sweet but everything complimented each other well and made for a very enjoyable dish.
Le Cara – Poire (fleur de caramel sur une gelee de poire parfumee a la vanille de Tahiti)
… The Cara Pear (caramel flower on a pear jelly perfumed à la Tahitian vanilla)
A more simplistic dish, also light, but this time a bit sweeter. The caramel flower was interesting and almost like buttercream, but not so seemingly fattening and somehow seemed to have the consistency of a cookie as well. I liked the texture of the jelly puree although some might say that overall it is not as creative as you’d expect, and perhaps not such a memorable way to end the evening. The gold flakes were interestingly thicker than usual, like shaved chocolate.
Complimentary madeleines were given to finish the exciting meal.
Another unbelievable experience, fantastic flavors, we are extremely lucky. The service was friendly, and I got to practice a little bit of French! It’s no doubt that this place deserves it’s one Michelin star.