Saturday, April 01, 2017

Paris' VIOLON d'INGRES offer volume, voluptousness and value (3-20-17)

Our second and last night in Paris was destined to be a lighter meal especially after the 9 courses the previous night. I specifically look for a French bistro that had something very different going for din that it was Michelin starred as well as not just a classic bistro but having very classy bistro food.
Chef Christian Constant is famous in Paris for many Michelin star destinations but this is truly a wonderful place and much less expensive of course. Le Violon d'Ingres is a fairly small bistro with no more than maybe 20 something tables and it is long and narrow with a bar at the rear as well as a complete walk in kitchen behind it. 
The service is friendly and attentive and as soon as we were seated we received some cheese straws as well olive bread with an olive cream on top. We spoke with the amazing Anthony as he insisted he had some English blood and hence an English name about the wine and immediately settled on one of my favorite wine makers in Yves Cuilleron 2015 San Joseph "Lyseras" which is an amazingly creamy grown blend of Rousanne and Marsanne that we both fell in love with immediately.
We perused the menu for a while and Will decided to start with soft eggs rolled in bread crumbs and truffle toast that was quite a novel dish something like an upscale breakfast dish with truffles. While it was delicious I was blown away by my tartare of oyster, sea bream and scallops with ginger lemon and lime covered with trout eggs and Avruga caviar, which is apparently a French faux version of caviar made from vegetable.

We chose our red wine early on so that Anthony could open it up and he brilliantly suggested a 2014 Gevrey Chambertin Domaine des Tilleuls by P. Livera that was an intensely wonderful Pinot Noir loaded with aromas  and flavors of strawberries but yet hearty in red intensity. 
Will chose the Cassoulet Montauban, from the chefs home village  which had dense sausage, fatty pork and an amazingly rich sauce and he was mad at himself for choosing the super heavy dish. He told me I could say that.
I had the amazing Ris de veau with vin paille or sweetbreads with straw wine from Jura, creamy morels, the first of the season, as well as asparagus wrapped in a parmesan tuille with celeriac5t puree. The caramelization on the meat was truly amazing and made this dish one of the best sweetbread dishes I have ever had in my life.
I haven't mentioned that the tables are of simple Formica but they have nice linen mat which run the length of the table as well as etched and frosted glass and mirrors running along the walls. Be sure to check out my photo of the etched mirror in the men's room on Facebook along with other photos from the meal.
Will chose the tart au chocolat Christian Constant which was a whipped cream atop a rich dense chocolate mousse with macadamia nuts and gold leaf design.
I decided to go for the cheese course and when they brought out a plate with two pieces of the same cheese and one small piece of blue I told him to take it away as it looks so boring.  Our server Guillaume was devastated and said I could switch it for anything but I really didn't feel like anything else and then he said please just enjoy it because they won't charge me for it. I love Saint Nectaire but both of the pieces were not as ripe as they could be and hence a little disappointing although the Fourme D'Ambert  blue was spectacular.
It helped that Anthony poured two glasses of complimentary Banyuls from Galateo 2015 Come del Mas to make us happier. The wine is good with cheese but it's even better with chocolate.
Of Course when you eat in a Michelin starred restaurant  one dessert is never enough and we received not only Madeleine but almond tuilles that were so buttery I actually finished mine and most of Will's. The coup de resistance were these little treats which I can call  rice krispie treats on crack.
Overall it was an amazing experience on our second and sadly last night in Paris. Onto Vienna.