Some of my favorites from Paris: l’Arpège
Last week, we went to one of my favorite restaurants in the world to celebrate my mom’s birthday – l’Arpège! I really love this restaurant – not only is the food amazingly delicious but the fruits and vegetables come from the chef’s own organic farms just outside of Paris. You can imagine how fresh everything tastes. And the cooking is out of this world! Chef Alain Passard is recognized by his peers to be a visionary and a “poet of vegetables.”
The décor of the restaurant is simple – art deco style with Lalique crystal panels on the walls. And there’s a beautiful basket of fruits and vegetables (from Passard’s farms, of course) in the center of the dining room.
And each table’s decoration consists of a vegetable from chef Passard’s garden. Our table had a tiny round zucchini with its flower still attached. Here’s the first amuse-bouche with our zucchini table decoration.
The tartelettes featured such ingredients as raspberry, squash, parsley, and coriander.
We then had chef Passard’s signature amuse-bouche – slow cooked egg (soft) with cream and a slight hint of sweetness from maple syrup. Delicious!
We then moved on to our first appetizer, the raviolis filled with a variety of garden vegetables and served in a vegetable consommé (you could definitely taste the fennel in the broth). Yum!
Our second appetizer was the white asparagus served with lemony greens. White asparagus is definitely one of my favorite veggies!
Our first main course was the turbot. Before being plated up though, one of the servers came to our table to show us the whole turbot fish as soon as it came off the grill.
The turbot was served with seasonal vegetables. I had turbot quite a few times in some highly acclaimed restaurants since I arrived in Paris (because turbot season is April-June) and chef Passard’s turbot is the best that I’ve had – his version of the turbot left all others in the dust. His skill and technique is really unparalleled!
For our second main course, we had the roasted chicken and duck. Chef Passard actually took a whole duck and a whole chicken, cut each in half, and sewed the two halves together, creating what he called the “Haute Couture Poultry Duo.” We actually were given a recipe booklet on how he did this so we can recreate this at home.
Here’s a picture from the booklet, showing the two birds sewn together:
Just like with the turbot, a server showed the whole poultry duo before it was plated up (but I had gone to the bathroom so I missed that). The poultry duo was served with some jus and seasonal vegetables, including a yellow squash with its flower!
During our dinner we drank a bottle of Saint Aubin. 2013 Premier Cru Les Perrières by Agnès Paquet.
I really like Saint Aubin, a chardonnay from the Burgundy region of France. This one has floral and citrus aromas and it is lightly oaked, which gives it a bit of richness. Yet the wine is still fresh and bright. What I like about this wine is that it is still refreshing and has good acidity despite some oaking (and with 30% new oak too, which is more intense).
The Saint Aubin worked really well with all of our dishes! It went well with the ravioli (especially the consommé), was amazing with the white asparagus, and was a fantastic match to the turbot. It also worked well with the poultry – Saint Aubin overall is a great pairing with rich poultry.
We finished our dinner with a millefeuille filled with cream and fresh berries.
The millefeuille was really buttery and crispy!
We had a glass of 2010 Coteaux du Layon Chaume, a sweet wine made by Château Pierre-Bise in the Loire Valley. You always want a sweet wine to go with dessert – otherwise the sweetness of the dessert will make the wine taste sour (and why would anyone want to ruin wine like that!?!).
It was an amazing and very memorable dinner at l’Arpège. At the end, Chef Passard came to meet the diners and he even hugged and kissed my mom – the birthday girl!
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