Thursday, December 26, 2013

William Frachon/Chapeau Rouge

William Frachon, Dijon, 9/26/2013

The itineray of the trip that I took would have an overnight stay in Dijon, the capital of the famous Burgundy region. I decided to use this opportunity to indulge myself with the best meal in Dijon when I visited there. The restaurant is located inside l'Hostellerie du Chapeau Rouge. It was upgraded from one Michelin star to two Michelin stars in 2013. The manager was so eager to convince me that he insisted to have me keep the current Michelin guide. I chose the medium degustation menu because otherwise I was not allowed the option of replacing any items with their signature dish. In order to have the signature dish included I must choose the medium menu. I knew I had to stretch my stomach hard.

It started with Amuse Bouche – two courses:
I. Amuse Bouche 1st Course
1). Quail egg with red wine sauce. Red wine was reduced to a very thick status and be able to coat on a miniature quail egg sunny side up. The server kept reminding to eat it when it was still warm while I was busy taking notes and picture. Egg yolk was barely set, a good combination with reduced red wine sauce.
2).Smoked ham with mustard. House made ham with the best Dijon mustard that I have ever had.
3). Ginger bread with Foie gras and red currant sauce. I am usually not a good fan of ginger bread. But, in this case it went well. Currant sauce offered a sweet and a touch of sourness, a well-balanced taste with foie gras.
4). Smoked trout with pasta. It was a long piece of house made pasta topped with smoked trout. Using pasta to bring out the delicate taste of smoked trout. A change of taste among the Amuse Bouche.

II. Amuse Bouche 2nd course - Smoked haddock with potato mousseline and mushroom. 1st course of amuse bush was heavier than the 2nd course. Everything was light and tasty in the 2nd course. Potato mousseline, topped with smoked haddock, was like a light form of mousse. This course of Amuse Bouche really opened up your palate.

1st Course – “ Lobe de Foie Gras de Canard Rotti Entier, Mirabelle et Pomme Granny, Lait d’Amande." Foie gras with almond milk and pastry wrapping with sautéed apple inside. The lightness of almond milk and sautéed apple served as a balancing to foie gras. I can see the Burgundy region love Foie gras and can create numerous recipes for foie gras.

2nd Course – “ Grenouille, Bouillon de Poule et Cressons." This is the restaurant’s signature dish. There are two parts for this course, one covered by a glass dome and the other just displayed on a plate without cover. You were instructed to eat the part without cover first. This 1st part was fried frog legs and frog filet with garlic cream and watercress puree. They were crispy outside and tender and tasty inside. Then, I opened the lid and smelt the aroma of what was under the dome. The 2nd part was comprised of truffle, low temperature poached egg with egg yolk still soft, mushroom and chunk of frog leg meat. The smelt of truffle was so overwhelming because it was under the dome for a few minutes before I lifted up the lid. This course definitely deserved as being a signature dish.

3rd Course – “Taubot Sauvage Cuit a l’Arete, Artichaut Poivrade et Pomme de Terre Ratte Cuits en Croute de Sel, Bouillon Iode." Turbot slow cooked served in seafood juice accompanied by potatoes and artichokes baked in salt. It looked like salt baked vegetables were in fashion during this season in France. Without of doubt salt baked vegetable is quite tasty. Slowed cooked fish has a different texture, it is also very tender.

4th Course – “Agneau de la Ferme de Clavisy, et Truffes du Periford, Jus a I’Ail Confit." Shoulder and loin of Lamb flavored differently. Loin was roasted rare-medium and shoulder was pan braised with crispy skin like the braised belly. Even though this is not the 5-month old baby lamb, I was quite satisfied with the taste and the combination. 

5th Course - Cheese, Truffle Cheese, Bourgogne Chesse and Goat Cheese. The restaurant did not have the 36-month aged Comte, they only had the 18-month old Comte.

6th Course – “Tarte Chocolat, Sesame Noir, Cremeux et Sorbet Macha." Chocolate tart was filled with a light custard like filling. Tea flavored ice cream is also light. They together served as palate cleanser for the formal desert.

7th Course - “Soufflé, Marmelade d’Orange et Sorbet Orange Sanguine." This course was comprised of Grand Marnier soufflé, my favorite blood orange sorbet and orange marmalade. I have noticed these days the texture and the appearance of soufflé have changed a bit from the past. At present, restaurants are more focused on the appearance so they tend to decrease the portion of béchamel in order to keep the inflated appearance staying longer. However, by doing so the taste is compromised. I felt the taste of Grand Marnier could have been stronger. I did express my opinion to the manager.

Petit Four – Comprised of Coconut Passion Fruit Tart, Berry Tart and Raspberry Jelly Candy and mini Chocolate Tart. Coconut Passion Fruit was my favorite, it had a chiffon-mousse like texture with passion fruit flavor and covered by very finely shredded coconut pieces. Since I expressed my little disappointment with the soufflé, the manager would like me to go home with the feeling of happy meal, he packed 4 pieces of Passion Fruit Tart in a goody box.

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