We had not been back to Lameloise since they lost their 3rd star. We were anxious to see what had changed. Our room was as pretty as ever with a huge bathroom and large sitting area.
We were greeted like “old friends” by one of the Maitre D’s who seem to recognize us.
Champagne in the lounge area with two amuses.
a. Marinated mackerel in a Chinese spoon.
b. On brioche, a slice of hard-boiled egg with chopped up “something”…our server was a mumbler, not exactly helpful.
At the table 5 amuses.
a. Hard boiled egg with tomato coulis and morel cream.
b. Chantilly cream with potato mousse.
c. Tomato covered in sesame seeds—chewy almost caramelized.
d. Almond cream in a cone
e. Ham fritter.
1st course: Oysters from Gillardeau, gelee d’eau de mer, caviar, agrumes acidules — 4 oysters in the shell – one with citrus; tiny (almost 1/16”) diced citrus fruit, one oyster sat in a gelee of “sea-water” and 2 oysters were presented with small (1/8” diced potato) mixed with caviar. An excellent beginning.
2nd course: Pommes de terre ratte grilles aux escargots de Bourgogne suc de vin rouge, et crème persillee.
We have had this dish before. It is a favorite. The ratte potato is slightly hollowed out and the snails sit in the potato. There is a touch of red wine at the top of the plate with parsley cream sauce to the right. The potato adds the “butter feel” without the butter. Another very good dish, though not quite as perfectly executed as in the past.
3rd course: Grenouille simplement meuniere a la ciboulette rosace de pomme de terre doree—this dish was a disgrace. The frog’s legs were shriveled, tiny and so dry and over-cooked they should have never left the kitchen—letting them stay in the pond would have saved them for some one who knew how to cook them…awful!
4th course: Thanks to the recommendation of a friend we ordered the Pigeonneau en Vessie et ses pates fraiche au foie gras poele.
This is a Lameloise signature dish. If it is on the menu, order it! The pigeonneau is cooked in a pig’s bladder to seal in all the flavors. On the side is fresh pasta with small pieces of pan-fried foie gras. This is a decadent, over-the-top dish. I ended up calling it “one for the memory book—an important dish that should be in everyone’s dining repertoire”. To be honest, I put my analytical mind on hold, as I wanted a completely visceral experience.
5th course: Cheese Cart…
6th course: We were supposed to have a dessert –hot apple tart with granny smith apple sorbet, but 10 minutes became 20 minutes became 40…we decided to skip dessert and have coffee, mignardises and a cigar (for John) in the lounge.
Lameloise has lost a star. The question is, “Has it made a difference?” Good or bad? There is a definite sense of frustration and depression. The service is definitely not 3-star. A lot of “chiefs” are wandering around with no one in charge. There are no “eyes” watching the room or supervising. When we think about “eyes” we always think of Pascal in the early years of TFL—he seemed to see everything. Nothing slipped by. Pierre at L’Ambroisie is another great “eye” along with Jean Pierre at Taillevent.
There was a definite miss re the food – the frog’s legs. But then, I start thinking about that Pigeonneau en Vessie and all is forgiven. I just like this restaurant with all its faults. I wish they would stick with the traditional and not try to re-invent the wheel. They do need someone to be the major domo of the dining room – the eye.