This is the best meal I have ever had. In my whole life. Ever. Period.
Three friends were in town and treated me to a late birthday celebration at L'Ambroisie, a 3-Michelin star restaurant in the heart of the Marais. We were also celebrating their victory in a landmark case against the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, INTERVENOR (as the Court's Order read) so adrenaline was pumping, hands were high five-ing, and champagne was popping.
The unrivaled Chef Bernard Pacaud opened L'Ambroisie in 1981 and a year later received his first Michelin star. His second star arrived the following year and his third star in 1986. He has not wavered since. Here are a few snippets about his 17th century treasure in Place des Vosges, the oldest square in Paris.
"...if ever there was a master craftsman in the old-time sense of the word, he is it: tradition at its glorious and soaring heights, tradition which follows the "rules" that gave French cuisine its name. Each dish is flawlessly finished... Noblesse oblige!"
"One of Paris's most talented chefs, Bernard Pacaud draws attention with his vivid flavors and culinary skill. Expect culinary perfection... Pacaud's tables are nearly always filled with diners who come back again and again to see where his imagination will take him next."
This is where his imagination took him recently...
Les entrées (appetizers)
Soupe crémeuse d'écrivesses au céleri, chutney de poivron et ananas ~ Creamy crayfish soup with braised celery and pepper pineapple chutney
Corolle de noix de Saint-Jacques à la truffle blanche, mousseline de brocolis ~ Scallops with white truffles and a broccoli mousseline
* I thought of the poor intern toiling in the kitchen whose entire job was to find the perfect broccoli florets to slice into uniform sizes. that and scrub the ovens.
Oeufs de poule mollets à la Florentine, râpé de truffe blanche d'Alba ~ Soft boiled eggs with spinach puree and shaved white truffles from Alba
* This is the only dish I will write about or we'll be here for days. It is the best dish I have ever had. In my whole life. Ever. Period. The bowl was the size of my two hands cupped together. Two of the most perfectly soft boiled eggs perched gingerly atop a bed of finely pureed spinach. A feathery sabayon crested over topped with a mound of shaved white truffles. When I broke my spoon through the egg, the warm yellow combined with the emerald green puree and the sweet sabayon, igniting the intoxicating white truffles. Holy guacamole! The fat lady sang, New Years, 4th of July and Bastille Day, fireworks and all rolled into one! I could have bathed in it! We all took a moment of silence as I held up the dish in homage to these precious "oeufs" and the brilliant chef that created them. Absolutely the most spectacular things we have ever eaten and a dish that will not be forgotten. Price: 110 euros. Experience: priceless.
Les Plats (main course)
Escalopine des bar à l'émincé d'artichaut, beurre léger au caviar ~ Sea Bass on sliced artichoke hearts in a light caviar butter sauce
Gigotin d'agneau de lait braisé à la moelle, ragoût de cocos à la sauge ~ Milk-braised leg of lamb with bone marrow and a ragout of tiny potatoes and onion in a sage sauce
from the oven
to tableside service
to our plate!
Etuvée de homard en petite nage, mousseline de fenouil à la vanille ~ Steamed lobster in a light fennel-vanilla sauce
Assiette des Fromages (cheese course)
Tarte fine sablée au chocolat, glace à la vanille ~ Chocolate tart with vanilla ice cream
Velouté de fruits exotiques, babas bouchon au rhum ~ Exotic fruit soup and a baba rum cake (bouchon is the plug in a wine barrel)
Sablé aux noix, crème glacée moka, poëlée de coings ~ Sautéed quince with mocha ice cream topped with a nut tuile
Arlette caramélisée au fromage blanc, coulis de citron ~ Caramelised with fromage blanc in a lemon coulis (fromage blanc is similar to plain yogurt)
Mignardises ~ Little bite-sized desserts
Chef Bernard Pacaud
9, place des Vosges
75004 Paris, France
+33 (0)1 42 78 51 45