For Christmas Eve we had dinner at this fabulous one-Michelin-star-restaurant. The décor and atmosphere is trendy, chic, sexy with a black and red color scheme, yet classy and refined. There is a great upbeat vibe in here; there is a fair amount of noise that completes Robuchon’s vision of a “less stuffy restaurant” vs. a formally classic white-tablecloth candle-lit serenity – a nice contrast. An open kitchen is the perfect touch to this fairly small restaurant, with a surrounding bar and about 7 tables or so to fill up the remaining space.
On this special occasion, my family and I indulged in the $185 Menu Découverte (Seasonal Discovery Menu).
L’Amuse bouche (Foie gras parfait with port wine reduction and parmesan emulsion)
This first dish made a great first impression! It was very light, and the foie gras was so creamy melt-in-your-mouth with such a nice flowing consistency.
Fresh WARM baked bread. Beautiful mini French baguettes were fantastic with the creamy butter provided.
L’hamachi (Hamachi served as a ravioli with sea urchin in lemon vinaigrette)
When debating whether or not to get the tasting menu, we knew we had to try this mouthwateringly appealing creation (also featured à la carte). I was surprised because for some reason I wasn’t expecting that these would literally be raviolis. Very creative fusion of flavors and very very delicious. At this point I have really come to appreciate uni, and so, accompanying one of my favorite food combinations (raw fish and zesty flavor) I really enjoyed this dish. The only other thing I have to point out is that is was a bit on the salty side. Regardless, this would have to be one of my favorite dishes from this night.
Les Huitres (Poached baby Kushi oysters with French salted butter)
I liked the simplicity of this dish – including the presentation. Kushi oysters are some of the freshest oysters I’ve had back in Vancouver, so they happen to be a particular favorite of mine. With the warmth from the butter, some of the fresh taste was diminished. However, the creaminess was still there, and I could really taste the hint of thyme – which was great with the lemon. This was very good.
La Truffle (White onion tart with smoked bacon, quail egg “mirror” and black truffle)
Well, what can I say… You can never go wrong with egg and truffle! The sweet onion tart almost had the same texture as hashbrowns – the bacon component was a little lost because I hardly realized there was any here. The truffles were not so strong, but still added a nice flair to the dish. Suddenly, I’m developing a craving to try this a second time now.
Le Foie Gras (Foie gras ravioli served in a bouillon with gingered leeks and seasonal mushrooms)
Wow I absolutely loved this! Another personal favorite from tonight’s dinner, this was A M A Z I N G. Although a bit overboard on the salt again, the broth was full of flavor. The best part was the foie gras ravioli: perfect ravioli skin and warm creamy foie gras explosion in your mouth like xiaolongbao. Definitely not something to forget.
Le Saint-Pierre (John Dory over artichoke hearts served “en barigoule”)
This was just good, but not so memorable. The fish has a tougher consistency than usual, almost like chicken.
Choice of La Caille (Carmelized free range quail stuffed with foie gras served with mashed potatoes)
Le Chevreuil (Malabar pepper coated venison, carmelized quince, mashed potatoes)
Robuchon’s world-famous mashed potatoes are so flawlessly prepared that they almost seem like a purée; silky and oh-so-smooth. Not your typical fluffy recipe though, and apparently the potato to butter ratio is 1:1 – no wonder they’re so creamy! This was a good dish, great portion, and the caramelized quince had a nice taste that went sweetly with the venison.
La Pomme (Candied apple, spiced biscuits and cranberry coulis)
Beautiful presentation, this dessert was unique. Very yummy!
La Buchette de Noël (“Christmas log” as a duo of chocolate and pistachio with mixed fruits)
Again, gorgeous presentation. I enjoyed every bite of this. The mini macaron was very fluffy and chewy – I was impressed.
Le Café (coffee or espresso)
Because Alyssa, my brother and I still don’t drink coffee, our server offered us some coco on the house. It is to die for! SO SWEET AND CREAMY. Possibly (and probably) some of the best hot chocolate I’ve had so far. Beats Starbucks by over 50x.
I had an amazing dining experience here! Service was nice, I think if they worked on orchestrating it a little more they could well be on their way to two stars. In the beginning our food was coming out a little slow, but our server politely apologized out of his own courtesy (we had not complained), and furthermore our food proceeded rather quickly enough. They’ve got the portioning just right here; we were not left hungry, neither were we left feeling overly-bloated. I would gladly spend two hours of my time for this kind of dining. We left fully satisfied and impressed. *High expectations for l’Atelier in Paris now.* I’m looking forward to that in March! :)