Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Paris - Ambroisie: Simply Perfection

We recently went to Ambroisie, the three-Michelin starred restaurant in Paris' magnificent Place des Vosges, and had one of the best meals I can remember. Perfect food and elegant but friendly service in one of the restaurant's three lovely, intimate rooms.

The meal began with the most amusing amuse-bouche of all time: a perfect soft-boiled egg in its shell with a generous spoonful of caviar on the side. Not original, but a fantastic way to start the experience.

For starters, I had the signature feuillantines de langoustines aux graines de sésame, sauce curry, with just enough curry to give the dish character without changing its essentially French nature. Others had a tuna pastilla which also employed non-French elements -- North African in this case -- in a triumph of French cuisine.

Feullantines de langoustines with curry at Amboisie
Tuna pastilla at Ambroisie
My main was a perfectly roasted pigeon sauce Montmorency (cherries), while J and R shared volaille de Bresse rôtie au beurre d’estragon, pommes Darphin, the best chicken in the world roasted to juicy perfection.

For dessert, we had the boring-looking tarte fine sablée au cacao, glace à la vanille Bourbon, Amboisie's signature dessert, which our waiter insisted that we try. And despite how it looks, it is a triumph All of us gasped "air" after the first bite, for the sensation of the dessert is bitter chocolate air: light does not begin to describe the texture.

Chocolate tart at Ambroisie: deceptively unique
Fraises des bois (tiny wild strawberries)were on the menu, and J asked whether she could substitute them for the vanilla ice cream in the dessert. Request denied because our waiter said the vanilla ice cream was an absolutely essential part of the dish. However, he said he would bring J some fraises des bois. In the end, he brought each of us a plate of delicate fraises des bois with a fraise (not des bois) sorbet. A wonderful treat, and emblematic of the attentive and gracious service we received during the whole meal.

We rarely go to three-star restaurants, but we were celebrating our friends' finding an apartment in Paris so threw caution (and a lot of money) to the wind. But the meal was truly an unforgettable experience, a demonstration of French gastronomy at its best.

Ambroisie, 9, place des Vosges, Paris 4ème (Métro St-Paul).

Bobby Jay

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