Food porn money shot - what we ate.
Iberian ham - with tomato toasts on the side
Creme de chataigne with cubes of seared foie gras and croutons
Salad of julienned, mayonaissed celeriac with black truffles
Torteau with avocado and julienned apple
Travers du porc with wilted romaine garnish and puree on the side
Soupe du chocolat chaud avec batons de brioche sucree
Assortiment des tartes des traditions
Cafe avec un caramel
With Grace, Karli, Steve, and Toby - almost Toby.
This is the more later. Technical problems - with my computer and my head. Cheating? Hey - welcome to my world - where you can go back and fix the term paper.
This was the dinner with Steve. I know. For those of you who know of Steve - you're thinking dinner with the devil himself. But Steve is more complicated than that - Steve is just so Steve.
20:30 reservations. But this time I didn't reserve. The hotel - the Pont Royal - reserved for Steve since he was staying there. When I got to the restaurant - a little late - the hostess - name withheld again to protect her from Robuchon groupies wanting to get in - the hostess was really alarmed that I'd reserved under a different name. The implication was that I was going to have to wait. That's OK - or so I thought.
Found Steve in the hotel's back bar lounge. He had Bloody Marys - spicy and icy - while Karli and I had water - and waited for Grace and Toby. Grace had a car meeting while taking the CEO of her new company to CDG - she got there just a bit after I did.
But Toby - Steve's friend - never really showed up. Ditched us in favour of a real French family - old friends - and their genuine love and affection. Fair enough.
So we waited - and waited - and waited. Along with about a dozen other people in the hotel. Good way to sell drinks I suppose.
Finally the hostess came to get us - really upset that we had to wait. But she even got us the four corner seats I'd asked for when I first got there - an hour ago.
And dinner was - not wonderful. The food itself was good - very good. But I made the mistake of asking them to order the menu for us. Which would have been fine had we not just been there - and I'd been there tasting even more. And I thought the menu was just a little too uniformly rich and smooth and - well - French.
The ham was very good. But - and how can I say this without sounding spoiled? I can't - OK. At Ducasse, we did a white truffle, St. Jacques dish, garnished with small, triangular slices of the Iberian ham. Ham does not come triangularly sliced - so we had a lot of trimmings. From the trimmings we'd pull off most of the meat and chop it up fine for the cepe marmalade - tossing all that beautiful fat. Well, while you're working, you're snacking - discretely. So there were days that I'm sure I scarfed down 50 Euros worth of ham - easily. The bottom line is that the ham we had at Ducasse I liked better than the ham at Robuchon - and when you've snacked on that ham like its Lays potato chips, it just kind of takes away the specialness a little bit. But the tomato toasts were really good. And Karli really liked the ham.
The creme de chataigne. It's beautiful - frothy chestnut emulsion with small cubes of seared foie gras and buttery browned crunchy croutons.
OK - please look away for the next paragraph if you are easily offended. Maybe not even easily. OK? Gone?
Last chance. I'm warning you. OK. The creme de chataigne - it's like eating a bowl full of chestnut (deleted)! I'm sorry but I'm like - what the fuck?! I'll even admit though that we had a dish at Ducasse that was garnished with a chestnut emulsion - the ris de veau - and even then I was like - what the fuck?! Is it just me?! Do I have such a sick, twisted mind?! Or is that just not obvious to everyone else?!
OK - it's safe again. Don't look up there!
The next course - a julienned, mayonaissed mound of black truffle flecked celeriac - garnished with black truffle slices blanketed over. Good - but when Grace and I saw it our mouths expected the hot pasta we had the other night - and the cool celeriac just did not do it. The black truffles are reportedly just not great this year - no mojo. And the third kind of rich, smooth, fatty dish.
The torteau livened things up again - thin slices of avocado sandwiching the crab with finely julienned green apple on top - but we'd just had that the other night.
And the travers du porc - a small brick of pork fat and tender meat - glazed with just a little honey and soy sauce and done in the rotisserie. Good - really good - beautiful caramel colour, well-seasoned, the fat alone a pleasure to eat - but even with the wilted romaine dressed in vinaigrette on the side, too much more of the same. And the puree on the side - the infamous puree - completely undersalted. I would have asked for salt had my body been able to absorb any more fat. Karli loved the pork too.
But wait! I was able to absorb more fat - because it was in the form of chocolate! I ordered two desserts - the chocolate soup - with toasted brioche sticks - and the assortment of tartes - one of which is a cocoa powder dusted slice on which I always greedily inhale and choke and cough on the cocoa powder - you know, you've done it too.
Finished with a cafe - served with one single, perfect, housemade/handmade caramel.
The dishes themselves were very well executed - except for the undersalting on the puree for which I would have freaked out had that been my station - come on man! But the overall menu too flat. Sorry.
But we're going back the night before Grace leaves for Korea. And this time, I'm ordering myself.