Saturday, June 27, 2015

Paris - Restaurant Jean: Still a Favorite

Last week, J and I returned to one of our favorite Paris restaurants, Jean, with our friend R, who was visiting from New York. We had a really brilliant meal, well-conceived and nearly perfectly executed, definitely worthy of the restaurant's Michelin star.

We all had the four-course meal, a terrific buy at 85 euros for a meal of this quality.

R and I stuck with the menu as written, while J substituted asparagus for eggs and lamb for beef.

The first course was soft-boiled eggs with peas, morels, parsley purée, veal jus and an[cancoillotte] emulsion of cancoillotte, a runny cheese from Comté. It was sublime, with the tastes and textures of the components coming together in a smooth and complex mixture. J substituted green asparagus from the Luberon, steamed and then sauteed with crispy shrimp, shrimp-stuffed dumplings and "saveurs asiatiques," another great success.

Oeuf mollet, petits pois, fèves, morilles, purée de persil, jus de veau, émulsion cancoillotte
Asperges vertes du Luberon, gambas rouges croquantes, gyozas farcis de gambas aux saveurs asiatiques
Next was an Italian influenced presentation of red mullet stuffed with oil-cured black olives and arroche rouge (an herb we don't have), tiny potatoes sauteed in butter, a peppered artichoke "surprise," with an arugula pesto and grated grana padano.

Rouget barbet, farci olives noires confites et arroche rouge, pommes de terre poêlées au beurre, artichaut poivrade "surprise", pesto de roquette et grana padano
The meat course consisted of perfectly medium-rare (by French standards) slices of wagyu beef crusted with Espelette pepper, [tortello de paleron] of braised beef, turnips lacquered with orange and honey, fried pimentos and beef jus. J suffered along with baby lamb in three styles (chop, confit and leg), with a "taboulé" of vegetables and ratatouille jus.

Boeuf wagyu paleron à griller, en croûte de piment d'Espelette, tortello de paleron de boeuf braisé, navet laqué orange et miel, pimientos del Padron frits, jus de boeuf
Dessert was a spectacular array of chocolate creams and mousses, with a sugar cover and dots of fruit sauces. A beautiful dish, but another example of perfectly merged tastes and textures.

Chocolate mousses and cream with sugar cover and fruit sauces
I have recommended this place to a number of friends, and none have come away disappointed.

Jean, 8, rue St-Lazare, 75009 Paris.

Bobby Jay

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Paris -- Cooking Lesson: Bistronomie Chic

Despite the pretentious name, I signed up for this course at the Atelier des Chefs in Paris. And what a nice course it was!

On the menu:

An incredibly simple Tarte Tatin aux tomates cerises et rouget au basilic (upside down caramelized cherry tomato tart with red mullet and basil sauce). While this is theoretically an appetizer, it would make a nice main course.

Cherry tomato Tartes Tatin just out of the oven
Cherry tomato Tarte Tatin with red mullet filets and basil sauce
Tournedos de volaille, beurre noisette au fenouil, pommes Anna traditionnelle (rolled chicken breasts with brown butter sauce and shaved fennel with Pommes Anna). Unfortunately the chicken breast, despite a cooking method guaranteed to keep them moist (i.e. browned briefly then baked at 160 for an hour), was dry. The Pommes Anna were great; with all that butter how could they not be?

Chicken breast "tournedos," Pommes Anna, brown butter sauce, shaved fennel
Sablé breton spéculoos, chantilly vanille et framboises (homemade speculoos cookie with raspberry whipped cream and fresh raspberries). A home run! Simple if you have a siphon, not so hard if you don't.

Speculoos cookie, raspberry whipped cream and fresh raspberries
All eminently repeatable recipes and a quite delicious morning.

Bobby Jay

Wednesday, June 17, 2015