July 12, 2018

Europe 2018 day 13: the little white rose

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The afternoon's shopping session brought Hello Kitty some much-needed happiness after a disappointing lunch. After retiring to the apartment to freshen up, we crossed the river for dinner at Neige d'Été.  Like Passage53 last night, and indeed a number of dining establishments we are visiting this trip, it was not immediately apparent that we had come upon the right place.

There is only one menu, and one has the option of adding caviar or truffle with certain dishes as a supplement.

Deep-fried squid and octopus

Potato foam and watermelon soup - with little bits of watermelon and what seemed to be celery, and a purple chip on top.

Tartare de veau, crème de haddock, pomme paille, avec Caviar Kristal - I chose to add the caviar supplement, but not sure it was necessary.  The veal tartare came with anchovies, girolles, crispy strands of potato, haricots verts, fava beans, peas, basil, and tomatoes.  The girolles were chilled and smoky.  The haddock cream underneath the caviar was also smoky.

The one thing that annoyed me about this dish was that we were not given spoons.  I found it a little difficult to pick up caviar with just a knife and fork.  Perhaps the chef could show me the tricks?

Poulpe de Galice, ragoût d'encornet, harissa - the discs of Galician octopus tentacles came on a bed of harissa powder, with brunoise of pickled capsicum and red perilla leaves on top.  This was pretty nice, as there was just the right amount of acidity with the chewy octopus.

The deep-fried vegetable chip came with diced octopus tentacles as well as a minced ragoût of squid that tasted like it came out of a can... with a little spice.

Turbot poêlé, gnocchi, shungiku - the turbot was line-caught, had great texture to it, and for once I could taste the flavors of the fish itself.   The gnocchi came in a pool of shungiku (春菊) purée, with a few cubes of jamón and wafer-thin slices of cedrat, the Corsican citron.

Ris de veau pané, tartare de bulot, fines herbes - with tartare of whelk underneath the julienned apples and greens, as well as veal jus and mussels gravy(?) on the side.

The sweetbeads has been breaded and fried, and the texture was very, very good.  Springy and spongy.  Of course it tasty very creamy, too...

Bœuf Normand grillé au charbon de bois japonais - served with grilled vegetables such as capsicum and beautiful eggplant, topped with finely diced pickled onions, with eggplant purée and beef jus on the side.

The Normandy beef was grilled with Japanese binchotan (備長炭). Unlike the 2-star restaurant where we had our lunch today, this kitchen does know how to do beef right.  Just look at the color and doneness.  Just the right amount of caramelization on the outside while most of the center remained juicy and, in fact, quite bouncy.  Hello Kitty actually prefers this to the Galician beef we had last night.

Cerise, thym-orange, espuma de yahourt - the granité of black cherries came with orange thyme, black cherries, and was covered in a layer of yogurt mousse.  Very delicious.  The thyme was a nice touch, and the cherries were very ripe.  The acidity in the yogurt foam worked well with the fruit.

Nougat glacé revisité, miel au romarin - the orange cream and tuile surrounded a scoop of nougat ice cream.  Served with cardamom marshmallow which looked like a donut.  The cream came with lemon confit.

The mignardises were raspberry macarons, passion fruit choux, and chocolate tart.

The sugar for my coffee came in this cute little box.

For wine tonight, once again I reached for a bottle of bubbly that proved to be the value play...

1996 André Beaufort Ambonnay Brut, dégorgée en Avril 2016 - this has matured well, but still got some sharp acidity. Very full-bodied.  Took about 2 hours to get the toasty notes to come out.

This was another really good meal at a Parisien restaurant helmed by a Japanese chef.  Actually, the entire kitchen seemed to be Japanese as only Japanese was spoken.  While I enjoyed my dinner at Passage53 more thanks to the flavor profile and the temperature, considering that this menu (without supplements) cost just under half of the one at Passage53, tonight would seem like a good bargain.

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