Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Le Taillevent (Paris, FRANCE) ★★★☆☆

Le Taillevent is a Parisien fine dining institution that has been around for over 70 years. They have held the highest accolade of 3 Michelin stars for 34 consecutive years until 2007 when they were demoted to 2 stars. Despite its demotion, the restaurant remains one of the city's most popular old stalwarts of traditional haute cuisine.

When I slowly walked through the arch doorway into Le Taillevent's dining room, a train of thought came across my mind. Is this going to be traditional French cuisine all the way or will I see patches of modernism in its cooking? I was a bit nervous for some reason.

Once I got settled down, I had more time to appreciate the wonderful work done to preserve this premise, which I was told was a former private mansion owned by the Duke of Morny.

At lunch time, one can choose between the a la carte menu, a 3-course set menu (€88) and a 7-course tasting menu (€198). Due to our tight schedule, we went with the 3-course set which changes on a bi-weekly basis.

We were offered some cheese puffs and country bread to start the meal.

They were followed by our amuse bouche, a warm white bean velouté with homemade ravioli and ricotta cheese filling.

My lone starter today was a visually appealing sea bream tartare, with different colors of condiments on the side. The small dabs of mango, parsley and raspberry helped to add different flavors to the mix.

The finely chopped sea bream, marinated with lime and olive oil, was surprisingly refreshing.

Our other starter was Jerusalem artichoke velouté served with a slice of pan seared foie gras on top. The velouté was really velvety and the rich artichoke flavors combined well with the foie gras.

My main course was veal casserole served with winter vegetables like carrot, potato and baby onion. I thought the veal was decent but a little more veal jus would have given this dish a bit more justice.

Less successful was the roasted rôtie which our server described as a "white pigeon". The meat was noticeably on the hard side and the flavors were a little more gamey than what a typical pigeon has to offer.

Dessert was a little better than our main dishes. Our first dessert was a marron themed one with something like a roll cake wrapped around by layers of chestnut vermicelli and a crispy wafer. Not bad.

Last but not least, caramel infused chocolate with chocolate sponge cake topped by a scoop of Piedmont hazelnut ice-cream. It was one of my favorite dish of the afternoon but too little too late?

After the three courses, some mignardises and a cup of expresso wrapped up this highly anticipated meal. 

I was expecting a little more from this storied fine-dining institution considering its pedigree so this was a bit off the mark. Most of today's dishes, I thought, were nice and solid (except the rôtie) but none of them did enough to really wow me. But hey, it's just my first day in Paris. I got plenty of time for more good food.

Food Rating: 6/10
Price: €€€
Address: 15 Rue Lamennais, 75008 Paris, France
Closest Metro Station: Saint-Philippe-du-Roule
Tel: +33 (0)1 4495-1501
Website: www.taillevent.com

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