I think Auberge d I’Ile is one of the most under-rated Michelin 2 stars. It is really a shame as this is a restaurant that should get more attention and press.
We started in the lounge for our amuses that also doubles as the cigar room.
1. Fried sweetbread cube
2. In a small tart a mousse of something I can’t remember
3. On a glass plate a tempura of many vegetables and herbs i.e. potatoes, beet root, basil and zucchini
Amuse at the table:
A small langoustine with pink grapefruit. Then a delicate broth was poured over the langoustine. This was a light breath of spring—a morsel but handled with great finesse.
Delicate Mollet de Foie Gras, Morilles et Asperge, emulsion “comme un cappuccino”.
First there was a layer of foie gras that was almost like a flan, then small morel mushrooms, and cut up green asparagus from Luperon. Covering all was a foie gras emulsion that did mimic cappuccino.
This dish was extraordinary—inventive as well as delicious!!!
Tarte folle de tous les jeunes primeurs du printemps, une crème glacee a la moutarde douce—
The tart was full of the best young vegetables of spring—peas, peapods, carrots, radish, string beans, purple potato and turnips. On the top was a mustard ice cream—reminiscent of Passard’s gazpacho with ice cream and Ludo’s use of savory ice creams to highlight a dish. Again this was inventive and delicious.
Langoustine Bretonne royale, chutney de fruits acidule d’un beurre d’agrumes—3 large grilled langoustines from Brittany, with chutney on the side. The langoustines were topped with a reduction of shallots and red wine and spiced with Indian spices. The saucing was a bright yellow citrus butter that had a carbonated quality. Another winner from JC with an “ethnic” Indian component.
He was definitely on a roll…we knew he was good, but more surprises lay ahead…
Blanquette de Grenouilles, Quenelles tres legeres de brochet, nougatine a l’ail des ours.
This was a superb dish that displayed why JC is 2 stars and hinted at 3 star abilities…he is definitely on the rise. This dish showed JC’s attention to detail, his awareness of texture as well as taste. It also showed his ability to execute each element successfully. On a garlic leaf were stewed plump frogs legs and broad beans with pike quenelles as light as air and a nougatine of garlic.
Omble chevalier with mushroom mousseline. The char lake fish similar to salmon trout tasted as if it had just been caught. The saucing was almost like hollandaise with mushroom enhanced whipped cream added. Sticking like a wing from the fish was the crispy skin. Simple—exquisite!!!
Mignon d’Agneau de lait cuit en croute de Sel, Tomates “Coeur de Pigeon” et Aigre-doux.
The lamb is first presented whole and then returned to the kitchen for plating.
The lamb sat on small whole tomatoes done sweet/sour. Tapanade (a puree of capers, black olives, anchovies and herbs with olive oil and lemon juice added) sat on top of the lamb. The saucing was traditional—each ingredient worked together to create fabulous flavors.
Cheese cart with selections from Lyon Fromagers—Cellerier, Lery and La Mere Richard.
Warm peach soufflé…nice transition…simple and clean.
Auberge de I’lle is a solid 2 star restaurant with a gifted, talented, charming chef. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, the service cordial and professional.
This is a carefully crafted cuisine. JC is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. His English is very good.
A perfect evening.