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Monday, August 20, 2012

PARIS 2012: L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon

We were walking down Champs-Élysées (a famous street in Paris with cinemas, luxury shops and restaurants) and came across a famous name I recognized. Joel Robuchon! I've heard his name many times in all the cooking shows and competitions. He is regarded as the "Chef of the Century". He has 28 Michelin stars among all his restaurants, the most out of any chef in the world. Wow... We decided to just take a peek at the menu they posted outside.

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon - Etoile
133 Champs-Elysées
75008 Paris, France
01 47 23 75 75

The menu was in French but the prices didn't seem too bad! I guess this is one of his more affordable restaurants. We decided to go in and see if they take walk-ins.

The restaurant was modern with black tiles and walls accented by bold red. We were seated immediately in a bar style seating area. I was a bit in awe just from the fame of the chef... it was a bit surreal.

We were given the menu... and we both realized that the menu we saw out front must've been the lunch menu. haha... Fail. :( I was a bit shell shocked by the prices given that we just walked in off the street in our jeans and tennis shoes. haha. But my bf just said to enjoy ourselves since we are here. And of course the menu was all in French. It was really hard to tell what to order other than looking at the prices.

I managed to narrow it down to several options and flagged the waiter down and asked him to explain what the dishes are. Fortunately most of the waiters there spoke English. Our main waiter was able to give us some insight to what choices we're making. I was still quite conservative on what I ordered. I kept trying not to think that these are in Euros! Yikes.

After ordering we were served an Amuse Bouche. Foie Gras Mousse, with a port sauce and some sort of foam on top.
One cool thing about fancy restaurants is that you always get a bunch of free bites in between your meal and sometimes they tend to be the best surprises. Neither one of us are really fans of foie gras since we find it very rich. But this was delicious.
(I know.. the picture doesn't look that appetizing. The port kinda looks like blood. :/ But trust me, it's gooood!) I think the sweetness and alcohol from the port help cut the fattiness of the foie. And it was a nice small portion. Just enough. Yum!

My bf took the waiter's recommendation and went with La Caille (caramelisee au foie gras avec une pomme puree) 51€ It is caramelized quail stuffed with foie gras with side of potato puree.

The plate was very delicate and clean. But soooo small... The quail was tender and the foie gras added some fattiness. It was yummy, but was it worth the price? I didn't think so.

We were also each served a side of potato puree.
Surprisingly this was the best part of the meal! It was amazing! So smooth, creamy, buttery and luxurious. I can stick my face in a tub of this and die happy! By far the best potato puree I've ever had.

I ordered an appetizer as my meal actually. La Volaille Fermiere (les ailerons et les sot-l'y-laisse, sur un risotto a l'oseille fraiche) 34€ It's chicken oysters on top of risotto.

Chicken oysters are the two small, round pieces of dark meat on the back of the thigh. It's supposed to be the most tender part. I've seen them being used on Top Chef so I was intrigued. The description the waiter gave made it sound really good. And I've been wanting to have risotto in Paris. He also said that for an app, the portion is pretty big. I guess he was right since it was about the same size as the quail entree. haha. The chicken oysters were delicious! So freaking tender and so much flavor. The risotto was tasty but I felt it was a bit undercooked. I'm a fan of al dente rice but I think these were a tad shy of al dente. I was a little disappointed that the risotto wasn't perfection... But the dish was very rich and filling. It was actually a good amount. Left me enough room to get dessert!

Between entree and dessert we were served a Palate Cleanser: Passion Fruit and Banana Mousse, Rum Granita, Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream.

This was also a nice surprise. The flavors all worked perfectly together. It was light and refreshing. I would've been happy to have this as a full dessert!

For dessert we got Le Souffle (chaud aux grains de cassis, sorbet a la muroise) 18€ Cassis Souffle with Muroise Sorbet.
Muroise is a cross between a wild bramble and raspberry. Not sure what a bramble is but it tasted like a wild berry mix of flavors. Can't leave France without having souffle! It wasn't hard to pick this as the dessert. I get my risotto and souffle in one night! Yay! The souffle did not disappoint. Probably the lightest souffle I've ever had. I feel like if I used more force with the spoon I would just collapse the whole thing.
It was definitely like eating air. The sorbet however, was a little too sweet and tart and overpowered the dish as a whole. So I tried to eat them separately.

We were surprisingly stuffed after the meal. I think it's all those little freebies in between that sneaks up on you. But wait! There's more! We were given Complimentary Madeleines.

Fresh from the oven. They were still hot. So fluffy and buttery. Definitely the best Madeleines I've ever had!!

My bf treated me to this meal. :) It was a very nice experience to have tried Joel Robuchon's restaurant. I was disappointed in certain areas but with my uber high expectations, I was bound to be disappointed somehow. haha. Everything tasted great and was handled with finess. However, I still cannot justify the cost. I've had better meals for less. But as a foodie, I would recommend checking it out. It is still on the more "affordable" side for his restaurants and I would still regard it as a culinary adventure. :)

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