PK Goes to Paris: I Want to Die At L'Atelier
Joel Robuchon's L'Atelier
Hôtel Pont Royal
5, rue de Montalembert
75007 Paris, France
I'm going to skip my usual pomp and circumstance ala un review and just go straight to the edibles.
L'Atelier is everything foodies dream of. Yes, there's one in Vegas too. No, it's NOT the same. Get thee to Paris.
Loads of choices in the cutest basket you ever did spy. Shockingly served with a heaping pile o' buttah.
We had champagne to start, and an absolutely OMG worthy white that I don't remember a damn thing about, label wise, and only recall wanting to cry. The wine list here is scary-good, but since I don't speak-a-the-language, I trusted the nice sommelier (which I believe they called a Wine Man because we are stupid Americans, heehee).
Foie Gras in a Port Wine Reduction with Parmesan Foam
-- I'm sorry, do we have to eat other courses? I could bathe in this, people. I sopped up every last droplet and swooned myself into a frenzy. Parmesan Foam + Foie Gras = sex in a goblet. Add the sweetness of the Port Wine and seriously, I felt tingles.
Gazpacho with Aged Balsamic, Olive Oil, and Croutons
- This was companion Todd's favorito of the night. Just the most fresh, popping, lovely gazpacho you ever did taste, and that balsamic must have been old as dirt and five billion times as tasty. Plus, those delightful little croutons were buttery, melting little gems. Awesome dish.
Lobster Carpaccio with Diced Olives, Parsley, Olive Oil, Lime and a Light Sauce
- They had been parading around a lovely blue lobster all evening, and I do hope he didn't die for us, but if he did - I pledge eternal devotion and hope he's a guardian angel now, forgiving me all over the place. I loved the light, raw flavors, especially after the one-two punch of rich goodness that preceeded. The herbs were fresh-picked, and the olives added the perfect salty edge.
Trio of Clams topped with Butter, White Wine, Garlic, and Parsley, served on a bed of Rock Salt
- These were lovely, but too small for my liking. Really fantastic flavors but not enough surface area to really indulge. Quantity doesn't mean quality, obviously, but I couldn't get my tongue around these delicacies.
Cocktail of Chanterelles, Mushroom Foam, Parsley, and Fresh Cream
- Gaaaaaahhhh, this is *so* my new favorite cocktail, which is exactly what the server proclaimed it would be as it swooped it down before me. Rich delights are what French food is most known for, and this knocked my knickers into the next galaxy. Loved it so - maybe not quite as much as the foie gras amuse magic, but those chanterelles could woo me any day.
Smoked Salmon with Fresh Cucumbers, Spices, and Parsley
- I'm gonna have to go with No. Only because I'm not a fan of smoked salmon. Now, this wasn't overly smoky (read: nasty), and I did very much enjoy the cucs + curry-like spices, but it wasn't nearly as flavorful as the others and ranked as my least favorite. Sorry, salmon, you get an D.
* We had a choice of two mains, and Todd and I covered both bases. We're good like that.
Lamb with Cumin, Rosemary, Almonds, and a Vegetable Couscous
- When lamb has the tenderness of chocolate cake, you have a winner. I've never had more perfectly cooked couscous, and the melange of spices were divine. Not too overpowering, with a gorgeous essence and a smoky finish.
Veal Sweetbreads with a Rich, Buttery Sauce and Herbs
- I cannot believe organ meat can taste so heavenly! These little honeys were just illegal. Crunchy soft, sweet and buttery, it's about as good as gets for any protein. This is such a difficult ingredient to highlight and render mouthwatering, so this dish left me in awe.
Side of Potato Puree
- Mr. Robuchon is famous for these luscious tators, and I absolutely had to find out why. Ho. My. Gawd. There was more butter than tuber, and honey, I like that just fine. The texture felt like a silk sheet, but tasted like foie gras. Amazing. My chair neighbor commented on his clogging arteries, but if you're gonna go out, this is the way.
Course Seven/Dessert One:
Lychee, Grapefruit, Pomegranates, and other Assorted Fruit
- This didn't excite me when it landed. I figured it would be a little palate cleanser, as preperation for the real dessert. The incredibly bold, fresh fruity flavors, however, absolutely knocked my socks off. There was a perfect mixture of sweet and acidity, with an amazingly soft texture and finish. Todd and I ranked this as one of the best of the eve, because it was spectular, and because we didn't expect it to impress in the slightest. I do love a good surprise.
Course Eight/Dessert Two:
Chocolate Mousse with Wheat Crispies, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Whipped Cream, and Cookie Crumbs
- It may not be the best idea to end such a decadent meal with a ridiculously rich chocolate delight, but what the hell, when in Rome, right? The unexpected cruch of the crispies and the authentic vanilla flavors were marvelous. No shock here - Joel knows mousse. I think they might be related.
Damage for 2 glasses of champagne, 1 bottle of wine, and 2 tasting menus + 2 sides of potato puree omakase - 331 Euros, or about $400.
Steepity steep steep, but zilcho regrets.
Me and Darling Todd, about to explode, but happy all the same