Thursday, December 26, 2013

Le Meurice

Le Meurice, Paris 9/20/2013
The restaurant, located at the very heart of the famous luxury Le Meurice Hotel, embodies all you can imagine of a grand restaurant in the French style. The eminently luxurious dining room draws its inspiration from the royal apartments at Versailles. Waiters with their silver trays serve to satisfy their guests, while the cuisine is one of excellence and timelessness. Le Meurice restaurant is located on the famous rue de Rivoli not too far away from Le Museum du Louvre. While you are dining at Le Meurice, you can see the beautiful Jardin du Tuileries across the street and feeling you are inside the royal apartment at Versailles. The decoration is ostentatious and luxurious. The dining room floor was made of mosaic tiles.

I ordered a lunch tasting menu. It started with Amuse Bouche – two courses:
1). Smoked ham, mustard and sliced cepes mushroom bite size sandwich. I had cepes mushroom two days ago at Guy Savoy, it must be in season. I hate to admit this is a delicate and delicious sandwich. Waiter was very considerate that he brought some fresh cepes mushroom from the kitchen to satisfy my curiosity. It is larger and has a more yellowish color than the straw mushroom.

2). Steamed vegetable with chervil sauce. It was served in a pot. Inside the pot, there was a steam plate to hold all vegetables place on a bed of salt. The steam plate was a few inches higher than the water level so that the vegetable were steamed not cooked in water. Through the steam process, vegetables will absorb essence from the salt to produce the flavor and texture unlike other conventional cooking method. Vegetable varieties included carrots, string beans, potatoes, artichoke hearts, yellow squashes and cauliflower.

Appetizer: Bonite, Aubergine. It is a dish of semi-raw white tuna served on mashed eggplants flavored with balsamic vinegar and garlic sauce. Eggplants were roasted and mashed; fish was just a touch in the pan. The vinegar and garlic sauce was superbly well-balanced resembling Chinese cooking of fish. This definitely was a fusion style dish.
1st course – “Legume et Fruits." It is a combination of baked pear, baked and mashed avocado, radicchio, and baby collard green in sauce made of balsamic vinegar. It was a very well-made vegetable dish. Both texture and taste were just right.

2nd course – “Sea Bass Fillet in Fenouil and Citron sauce." The sauce tasted excellent. Although fish was a bit overcooked as I specifically ordered fish to be “medium”. I hated to return it to the kitchen because sauce tasted so good. But, I did mentioned it to the waitress after the cheese course was served. She apologized for the imperfection and offered me an extra course of desert to compensate.

Cheese plate – I chose a variety of cheese including mild-flavored goat cheese and pungent-flavored goat cheese and 36-month aged Comte. The most aged Comte that I have ever had was 18-month old. This 36-month old cheese offered such a sophisticated taste, it was a bit nutty but smooth. I just loved it.

Desert – Included in the menu was “Roasted Figs and Marinated Cherries on Almond Ice Cream." The size of figs was quite large. I haven’t seen this large size before. Almond ice cream was quite tasty.

Since I was offered an extra course of desert, I got Baba Rum. I was offered 3 different types of Rum sauce, one strong, one medium and one mild. I took the suggestion from the server and chose the medium one. Even it is medium, the alcohol was strong. I understood why he did not want to recommend the strong one. Baba Rum was the best that I have ever had, the dough was light and spongy, Rum sauce was just strong enough to feel the potency but not overwhelming.

After the 2nd course of desert, some paper-thin wafer was brought over. It is crispy and you can almost see-thru even though it has got some chopped nuts in the wafer. You can munch a lot if you don’t have a full stomach by then already. Le Meurice was nearly a dining perfection. The room is a snapshot from Versailles, with impeccable service and cuisine is one of noble excellence and timelessness. But be prepared to pay for this gastronomic bliss.

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