Saturday, April 01, 2017

Gorgeous GABRIEL gets us off to a perfect start in Paris (3-19-17)

After an exhausting overnight trip and a full day walking around Paris we did none less than visit one of the most wonderful 2 Michelin star restaurants for a super menu degustation.
On arrival at Gabriel at La Reserve Hotel, one of Paris' most intimate luxury secrets, we were escorted to our beautiful table in the dining room that had dark red leather wallpaper, candle holders of pewter on the table, huge mirrors and no more than a dozen or so diners. As the evening progressed maybe 20 or more diners came in but there were never more than 25 or 30 people total and I don't think the restaurant can hold much more than that as it is extremely intimate but not the least bit noisy.
We actually had some wine in the piano lounge before we went in and I enjoyed a Sauvignon Blanc called Goulee by Cos d'Estournel 2012 from Medoc, Bordeaux which happens to be owned by the same gentleman who owns the hotel. I fell in love with this wine despite it's extremely funky and odd nose and Will had a wonderful glass of Domain Vacheron 2015 Sancerre.
Chef Jerome Banctel was not in house as it was a Sunday night and most Michelin starred restaurants are not even open on Sundays so we were thrilled just to be here. He left his wonderful team in charge and every second of the entire meal we felt that we were in good hands with some of the best service we have had anywhere ever. 
We debated the various menus and finally said we would let the chef cook for us and take our chances which was a ton of fun.
While we were doing this 3 amuses arrived at the table: the first was a superb oie gras tartelette  with beetroot and read fruit gelee on top, the second was a meringue filled with crab, wasabi,  granny smith apple and ginger, the final was a salted puff pastry with tomato and thyme which unfortunately was a bit dry.
As always there's a ton of pictures on facebook.
Bread was simple but delicious in the form of mini bag gets with crispy pointed and and grain rolls and the butter was salted and from Brittany like the chef.
The first course was a Pollock tartar with mild Thai spices and yuzu which was extremely light tasty and refreshing and was paired with Champagne  Jeepers Grande Reserve Blanc de Blanc also owned by the same owner of the hotel. 
The second course was one of the chef's signature dishes a crispy crunchy chewy tasty Coeurs d'Artichauts "Macau" cooked Sakura style with fresh coriander (what we call cilantro) in a Sauce Barigule of artichoke, veggies, wine and butter. It was a heavenly dish and got us off to a great start. This was served with the wonderful Goulee that I had had prior to coming into the dining room and was thrilled to have another glass of. I forgot to mention that the Badoit water was served in beautiful silver chalices and all the wine was in reading crystal however there was one wine we felt needed a much larger glass which would have been for red rather than white.

The third course had to be the most fascinating one we had as when it arrived at the table it look like a gigantic puff pastry stuffed with something and we looked at each other and stared at our servers and told them to please start giving us longer rest between the courses and we prefer to eat slowly. They laughed and said that this dish was very light and explain that it was whipped egg whites into a meringue to make it look like puff pastry served with black truffles and mushroom slices and a yolk on the side all topped with a yummy tuile like cracker that turned out to be not cheese but caramelized corn flower. The joke was on us but we absolutely loved the dish. 
We moved on to our next wine which was a Savigny Les Baunes from Simon Bize 2014, who the Asian sommelier was quick to point out was married to an Asian woman. Indeed I must come in his assistant Natalie who hailed from Hong Kong and was pouring most of our wine all night and often gave us refills without our asking!
I adore Rouget Barbet or red mullet here from Haute Normandie, which was served roasted with an unfortunately very gummy carrot ravioli in a ginger orange carrot sauce that was out of this world. The Vouvray 2009 from Foreau that was served with it was Moilleux or slightly sweet which Will detested but I actually loved once I had some of the sauce combined with the wine that really worked together brilliantly.  As soon as you could look up Natalie had substituted his wine for a glass of the Sancerre.
This restaurant specializes in Brittany cuisine with hints of Asian spices so it was no surprise that we had another fish dish in the form of a gorgeous Turbot fillet with Jerusalem artichokes more black truffles and of course black truffle foam. The wine pairing was one of those rare wines that you just can't stop loving and here was Albert Mann 2012 Alsace Grande Cru Schlossberg Riesling.
We did have one meet course and it was absolutely perfect indeed probably the most tender Pigeon (from Vendee) I have ever had with Cocoa sauce and Manotte, which is a buckwheat crisp as well as served over buckwheat grains in a style of risotto. While we were nearing our limits this was truly one of the best game dishes we have ever had any where on earth. Add to this the fact that they served the Bordeaux red from the owner's vineyards called Les Pagodes de Cos (as in Cos D'Estournel) 2012 which was majority Cabernet with 30%Merlot and drank as smooth and silky as could be. 
We enjoyed more of this delicious wine as our four cheeses arrived:
Ash coated goat
Comte aged 24 months from Haute Comte 
Salerce from Comptal that was slightly soft interestingly grainy and oddly sour, but still so delectable.
There was no question in both of our minds that the runny gooey yummy Camembert from Normandy was the most amazing cheese we had had in sometime.

Desert was a passion fruit souffle with mango passion fruit sorbet which had gold leaf in it as well as black sesame paste and passion fruit crisps with Gavode chips, which we never really did find out what they were. Will souffle came out perfectly but mine was a bit less firm in the center I didn't mind though as I couldn't finish it. Tokaji 2001 Hetszolo 5 puttonyos rounded out the meal and sent us home so thrilled with virtually everything.
Before we left the manager Vincent came over and gave us each bags of chocolate and marshmallows mignardises so we could have them later, just in case.
Luckily tonight we just going to a fancy Bistro.