Laurent

It had been 3 years since my last sumptuous meal (see below) at Laurent so I took advantage of a Tuesday night in the midst of les vacances scolaire to sample the new 145 euro Menu de l’Accord Parfait (a perfect marriage of food and wine.) I was accompanied by the Nez de Neuilly to vet the wines.

 

It had been 3 years since my last sumptuous meal (see below) at Laurent so I took advantage of a Tuesday night in the midst of les vacances scolaire to sample the new 145 euro Menu de l’Accord Parfait (a perfect marriage of food and wine.) I was accompanied by the Nez de Neuilly to vet the wines.

We were welcomed by  Philippe Bourguignon who arrived at the restaurant as head sommelier in 1977 and just a year later was named best sommelier in France: aged but 27. Then, in 2002, he took over the management of the restaurant skilfully combining a sense of professionalism with courtesy, attentiveness and discretion. He is still passionate about wine and is a member of the Académie du Vin and visiting speaker at the Ecole Polytechnique.

After a flute of Billecart-Salmon rosé and amuse-bouches were were escorted to our table with a view of the Eiffel Tower that burst into sparkling light on the hour.

We began with spider crab with its juice in jelly, fennel cream served in a martini glass that was oh so delightfully a bit crunchy.
The Nez declared the  Chablis 1er cru “Montée de Tonnerre” 2008 from F. Raveneau to be perfect partner.
***
Although not overloaded with truffle shavings The next dish evoked the earthiness of the delicasy.
Creamy egg yolk lasagne, chicken broth and black truffle
Another wonderful selection for the cave that houses over 23,000 bottles of 1,000 different wines. Riesling Grand Cru, Rangen de Thann 2001, Zind-Humbrecht

***

Perfectly rosé loin and saddle of baby lamb from “Pyrénées” was le plat served with
browned kidney with parsley, mashed chickpeas.
M agreed with Academie de vin experts who recenly selected the Côte de Brouilly « Cuvée Zaccharie » 2009, Château Thivin – Claude Geoffray over many far more distinguished wines.
***

The cheese cart had been positioned near us to serve an adjacent table and the aromas from my favorite fromager (Mme. Quatrehomme) compelled me to make an à la carte selection of Livarot, Comté, St. Nectaire and maroille.

As beautiful to look at as to eat the divine dark chocolate ganache, goji sorbet was enhanced by a Rasteau VDN2006, a port-like 100% grenache from Domaine de Mautens, Jérome Bressy.

This is a great way to experience Michelin-starred cuisine and service without breaking the bank.

Prior review
Built on the site of a former hunting lodge of Louis XIV in the heart of the Champs-Elysées garden Laurent continues to be a place to see and be seen while enjoying first-class cuisine.

On a beautiful Friday afternoon I joined three fellow journalists for a sun-filled luncheon on the walled terrace that keeps peering eyes away. Seated at our left, clad in his signature powder blue suit and spectacles, was Michou, the famous transvestite performer and owner of Chez Michou and directly in a front of me against the wall was Paul Wolfowitz, one of the Neo-cons (is that conservative or convict?) responsible for the Iraq War.

A plate of ameuse-geules was immediately placed before us and a bottle of Givry 1er Cru (Pinot Noir) 2006 Domaine Jablot was opened before a truly grand three-hour meal.

To start I had Petit Pois comme un guacamole (Garden peas mounded and covered by a crispy bacon pancake upon which sat a feathery ball of pureed peas that was about as heavy as a marshmallow surrounded by a sea of olive oil and pureed pea vinaigrette,almost too beautiful to eat. Margaret had Arraigné de mer(spider crab in it’s own jelly served in a martini glass with creamed fennel that she refused to share!

Maryse had fumé de thon et foie gras de canard mi-cuit (smoked tuna and duck liver cooked in glazed rhubarb and Alec opted for simplicity –a whole lobster salad prepared à table.

Margaret moved on to a spit-roasted pigeon accompanied by a hollow piece of corn on the cob filled with a puree of black beans and celery-this she fortunately did not Bogart and I had a delicious bite of the pigeon breast. I opted for a simple but impeccable filet Saint-Pierre.

Alec proceeded with steamed sole, rolled and seasoned with chorizo, white asparagus and capers and Maryse enjoyed the Turbot Meuniere with white beans and morilles.

The cheese tray was rolled out and we selected Tamier, Maroilles, brind’amour, Langes and spoonful of sirop de diège.

We settled on two desserts: a feathery orange blossom soufflé and a gaufrette of fraises des bois while being joined by Chef Alain Pégouret.

Laurent

Born and raised in Cannes to a an architect and his real estate agent wife Alain’s culinary interest was initially aroused by his grandmother and his father who took him to meals at fine restaurants.

He started reading about food by buying cookbooks with the money he didn’t spend on cafeteria meals starting with Paul Bocuse’s legendary Cuisine de Marché.

His cooking skills were honed at Joel Robuchon’s Jamin and Christian Constant, first at the Crillon and later at Le Violin d’Ingres.

Laurent is currently rated 1-star by Michelin but if today’s meal is any indication it won’t be long before it earns a second.

Laurent
41 avenue Gabriel
Paris 75008
01-4225-0039

Metro: Champs Elysées Clemenceau

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