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L’atelier du Joël Robuchon, Avenue des Champs Elysées, Paris

Le fois gras dans un velouté de daikon glacé et une gelée de boeuf tremblotante

Le caviar imperial avec un salade mimosa de haricots verts à la citronelle

La langoustine en papillote croustillante au basilic

La girolle en royale avec un capuccino de persil simple

La Lotte et ses cocos de Paimpol mitonnés au chorizo "iberico de bellota"

La caille avec une pomme purée

I was thrilled, my dear aunt and uncle were again able to secure us a reservation at a place I’ve been very keen on trying out. L’atelier du Joël Robuchon is a low touch fine dining restaurant with a twist. We visited the one near the Arc de Triomphe. The twist is really that instead of a classic setting with tables in a dining room, there is an open kitchen in the middle of the room with a big bar around it. People sit at the bar, get served from behind it and can watch the chefs prepare the dishes. The idea is pretty striking since not only does it create a less formal and more welcoming atmosphere, I’m sure that for the waiters it’s much simpler to serve this way and shorter distances they have to walk. The first very pleasant surprise was that the chef de service Mr. Hernandez is a true master of his craft. My french comes from the Swiss Army (subset of français fédéral) and while enough to explain how to reload an assault rifle, not quite up to par when it comes to the intricate details of fine dining menus. Not only did he make us feel welcome, answered all our questions, he actually suggested us a fantastic wine a 2009 Domaine des Lises Crozes-Hermitage, with nice fruit and well-present tanins. I went for the tasting menu to get a good overview. My alternative would have been to select among smaller plates, different skewers and a selection of main courses. The food was flawless, presentation beautiful with sensible flavor combinations. A couple of things are worth calling out in detail. First course was a daikon veloute with croutons, foie gras and a trembling beef jelly. I liked the incorporation of the japanese daikon on the menu, because quite frankly japanese and french dining are in my opinion the two most sophisticated cuisines. Besides the daikon, also the fact that he had skewers on the menu and served them while sitting at a bar reminded of an Izakay (japanese pub). Another component which literally blew me off my feet were the green beans (haricot verts) on the second dish, they had the perfect texture. All the while, just opposite of us, a commis was slicing bits of a Jamon Iberico. Fascinating to watch the precision of his knife work and how the slightly warm fat started to run down the already glisting ham. My favourite dish was the quail leg and breast (stuffed with foie gras) and Robuchon’s legendary mashed potatoes. Now this is unlike any potatoes I ever had. First you almost look a bit strange at the waiter, thinking I’m a grown man and he’s only giving me such a small bowl. But after eating this (assumed) 50/50 emulsion of butter and potatoes, even it’s deliciousness couldn’t hide that it was filling. Overall I really liked the concept of this Atelier, it was unpretentious and uncomplicated dining. If I’m looking to nitpick, I’d call out that there was foie gras in the amuse bouche and two courses, which was a bit much. Of course you’ll end up spending a substantial amount of cash, but it’s well worth the experience and I doubt that you’ll get a more relaxed meal at this level of cuisine. Prices:


Posted by therealpickygourmet on 13 October 2011

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