Friday, April 4, 2008

One Last Paris Post - Our Last Meal

I let H pick the restaurant for our last night in Paris. He remembered a place he’d been to about 10 years ago on the Ile St. Louis. This being Paris, Restaurant L’Orangerie (28, Rue Saint Louis en l'Ile 75004 Paris) was still there and still wonderful, although headed by a different chef.

We found our way with no problem. There’s only one
street that runs down the inside of the entire length of the Ile and this was on it. It’s a small and lovely restaurant with especially attractive lighting that is soft and low and leaves you glowing, even before your first glass of champagne.

Speaking of champagne, take a good look at these glasses. Aren't they gorgeous? I liked the kind of rippled effect they had on the bottom.

Now don't be scared of this picture. This leetle vignette was charming. (Of course it was behind me, so I didn't have to look at it.)

One of things I loved was that we were given a lot of free stuff! The first was a lovely amuse-bouche of puff pastry rounds – one was topped with a roasted tomato slice and one with caramelized onions. Quite yummy.

THEN another taste enhancer was brought out. At the bottom of the little glass was a pepper purée, on top was a fish soup with a dab of basil(?) purée.

I’m sorry the picture isn’t clearer.

H had their well-known Foie Gras with a fig confiture - Foie gras de canard confit entier au sel fumé, confiture de figues épicée, sucre pétillant de pain de campagne grille (preserved fatted duck liver from Landes "à l'ancienne" with spicy dried and fresh fig chutney and grilled country bread).

H's only complaint was that there were 2 slices of foie gras and one would have been fine. I contemplated sticking the second one in the zipper compartment of my purse, but I thought it might make my metro tickets sticky.

I had the Ravioles de champignons de Paris aux truffes du Lubéron, sauce fleurette à l’infusion de morilles. In other words, mushroom raviolis with truffles in a light creamy foam of morels. It was heavenly, although, personally, I don’t find foam all that attractive. It makes me think of…well, I don’t think I’ll start talking about saliva here…and now.

Oh, we ordered a half bottle of this wine…Let’s not talk about how there was a gap in the wine list. There were a bunch of 30ish Euro half bottles of Cotes du Rhone and then a jump to 70 and 80 Euro half bottles. We asked for a bit of advice and not surprisingly the 74 Euro half bottle was suggested. Ehh, so each glass - assuming you get 3 glasses from the bottle - was about 37 dollars. (We DID take the metro to dinner.)

The main courses were served. Does this happen to you? You love the starters. You love the little other stuff. You love the wine and you’re looking forward to dessert, but the main course is never quite as good.

I guess it’s like the old rule of thumb where the first date (or appetizer) is the best, because it’s all exciting and new, the second (or main course) is always a let down, because it can’t compare to the first and the third (or dessert) is good again, because you’re comfortable, but ready for an enjoyable experience. OR I suppose it could just be that the first courses were very filling…but I like my explanation better.

H had dorado (again), avec mijoté de fenouil au citron confit à l’aneth, jus de braisage à la vanille or a dorado filet, slowly cooked fennel and preserved lemon with dill with a jus with vanilla. I didn't taste it, it looked good. But I thought the vegetables could have been tarted up a bit.

I had the Coquilles Saint-Jacques with crispy garlic bits and a timbale of diced vegetables. If this had been Top Chef, I would have said, "Good. It was good, not great."

One more palate cleanser was served. It was a light-as-air, fluffy, raspberry (I’m not swearing it wasn’t strawberry) mousse topped with a mint gelée. Very delicate.

Dessert was a treat without being overwhelming. I’ve said before, that even though I LOVE chocolate, I usually don’t order it in fine restaurants. I don’t think it’s the greatest test of a pastry chef. It’s so easy to make it fabulous. I like to see his or her skill using other ingredients.

We had the assiette de crèmes glaces et sorbets de saison or the plate of sorbets and ice creams. What could be bad about that? A rum vanilla ice cream, a cassis sorbet, a coffee ice cream and a tangy frozen yogurt.

We also ordered a very French, very delicate version of…basically blintzes, filled with white chocolate and candied (but not overdone) pineapple served with the same Rum vanilla ice cream. It was marvelous, but not sickeningly so.

THEN they brought out a heavy board of little treats – madeleines, sponge cakes, jellied fruit thingies (which I detest, but they didn’t know that) and a chilled glass with 2 gorgeous caramel filled truffles.

It was too good. The service was super, of course, and the atmosphere was very French, even though early in the evening there were a bunch of furr-rurr-ners (like us). Ah, it was a lovely au revoir to Paris.


Emiline said...

That statue was frightening. I took a close-up look at it, and I find the mustache very disturing. La moustache est mauvais.

Mushroom ravioli...mmm.

I've never had foam so I don't know what to think.

I'm thinking I would really like the ice cream and sorbet. And cassis! Oh la la!

Sue said...

Hi Em,

I thought it was very harlequinesque.

You'll learn all about foam in cooking school. It wasn't invented when I went.

The ice cream was ooh la la.