We saved the best for last.
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon opens at 630, nightly. You can only get reservations for 630, otherwise, luck of the draw just showing up. As the summer winds down, there are not that many people waiting. We made reservations.
What is interesting to note, is that I saw 3 other families with kids there. Not sure what that says about the times we live in but I did find it interesting.
There is no doubt that this was the best meal we have had. There are 5 sections on the menu. You can either go with the chefs tasting menu or pick from the menu. On the menu there is a section for smaller plates, regular sized first courses, entrees and desserts. We opted for picking. Honestly, it was truly hard to pick. Everyone kept switching back and forth. In the end, we all ordered 2 small plates and one main course.
Everyone sits at the bar. We had a corner which worked perfect. There are very specific in where they place you. We have 2 on the right and 3 to the left. Next to Emily, who was last on the end where there were 2, was a gentlemen who eats at Robuchon every Saturday night. He went with some standards and then had all the specials of the evening. Wow, to be able to eat here once a week is living large.
There are 3 small plates that he is known for. The crab royale, the langoustine ravioli and baked eggs. I went with 2 of those 3.
Fred and Jessica started off with one of the specials, sea bream carpaccio. The round white plate had a square cut in the middle where the fish lay. Thinly sliced pieces of sea bream soaked with olive olive and salt. Most a crudo, Italian style sushi. The fish was like butter and absolutely delicious. Emily went with the eggplant and mozzarella. A bowl with a round piece of mozzarella wrapped with eggplants and a few other vegetables then seasoned with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. As simple as that sounds, that taste was over the top. I think that was what we found across the board. The subtlety of the flavors. Everything had been perfectly seasoned which in the end, is the key to good cooking. Also, presentation makes a big difference. Josh went the Jambon from spain served along side a toasted piece of bread loaded with chopped tomatoes. This was his favorite dish in Barcelona and it was just as good as he remembered. There are large jambons hanging in the kitchen. I went with the crab royale. A small rectangular black plate with 3 pieces of crab royale. Each piece had a small cylinder of a thinly sliced tortilla ( at least that was the consistency ). Over that was a large piece of king crab surrounded with a crab salad. Then another thinly sliced radish and another piece of tortilla. There were some greens chopped up in there too. All I know is that the taste was out of this world. Light, simple and layered. I believe that although this is a signature dish, he doesn’t not serve it exactly the same way in his different locations as he does in Paris. The picture, I got from another site I found.
Our second course was also small. The girls had squid. In a small bowl, long pieces of heavily scored squid mixed in with other small pieces of seafood and vegetables and a spicy Asian sauce. Small, simple but the zing and the flavor worked wonderfully. Just a small amount was all you need to enjoy the dish. Josh, Fred and I all did the langoustine raviolli. Think gnocchi or small dumpling. 2 medium sized dumplings made of langoustines one on each side of the rectangular plate and the middle a very bright green sauteed cabbage which not only complimented the dish was good on its own. There was a flavoring in there besides butter. Over the raviolli was a rich creamy light brown sauce made of foie gras and truffles. Rich and over the top. A total OMG.
The mains were a tad larger. Fred and I just went for the foie gras which is something we generally do not partake in but hey, it was our last night in Paris. A piece of seared foie gras over a cherry sauce that had been boiled down and just streaked across the plate. With 3 poached cherries on the plate. Fantastic. The girls went with the sole. A square piece of sole, poached with summer vegetables over the top. Simple but the fish was not only perfectly cooked, it was seasoned so perfectly that I have really never had sole that good. Josh, couldn’t help it, he went with the spaghetti which comes with either a red sauce or a carbonara sacue. He opted for tomato although it was hard to decide. No surprises, the spaghetti was delicious.
Dessert was a must. Josh and Emily had the chocolate and vanilla pots of creme. Jessica had something that appeared to be like vanilla ice cream sitting in a sauce of raspberries. She was thrilled. Fred went with the souffle and pistachio creme. When they serve the souffle, they open it up and stick the pistachio creme inside. It is beautiful. I went with the tart tasting. 5 small pieces of a tart. Woah.
Apple which I am not sure how the pastry chef was able to almost get an entire apple on a piece of tart that small. Cinnamon which was really interesting. Toasted cinnamon, think cinnamon toast, over a thin brushing of pastry creme. It was different and innovative and of course good. Raspberries set in a pastry creme for the raspberry tart, dense sweet chocolate for the fourth and the last was a lemon tart. The lemon tart was over flowing and incredibly tart yet sweet at the same time. It was a wonderful way to end the meal. A little taste of everything.
Everyone basically said at the end of the meal, can we go again in NYC? I was thinking the same thing.
L’Atelier de Joel Rubuchon in Paris, is on the top 50 restaurant list in the world, not his others. So, it would be of interest to check out NYC. Are the dishes the same and do the taste as good or is it just the magic of Paris?