Arpege

84, rue de Varenne
75007 PARIS
Metro: Varenne station Line 13
Tel : +33 (0)1 47 05 09 06
Fax : + 33 (0)1 44 18 98 39
Email: arpege@alain-passard.com
Map: Click Here

Chef/Owner: Alain Passard
General manager: Frédéric Le Clair
Sommelier: Stephane Thivat

Arpege was having a 20th anniversary menu at the unheard of price of 130 euros. Their normal tasting menu is 320 euros. However, I did add on a lobster course so it wasn’t exactly “cheap” at 200 euros per person for food. At one, there were only 5 people in the restaurant. Eventually they ended up serving 16 people.
 
I loved the sculpture on our table:

Amuse – two tiny tarts. One with langoustine and apple that was excellent and one with vegetable mousse that was tasteless.

 

First Course – L’œuf fermier de la Bigottière

 

 

This is the famous Arpege egg. It is actually an egg yolk, simmered in the shell for 3 minutes or just until the yolk begins to set, It is then seasoned with salt and pepper, a sprinkling of chives, some lightly whipped cream with sherry vinegar and finally a drizzle of maple syrup.  I noticed that this time, there was less of a sweet component and I am guessing that less maple syrup was utilized. The quality of the egg was outstanding and as I make this dish often, I couldn’t help thinking that I will never be able to replicate it as well with my market’s eggs.

My home-made version – the yolk-filled shells simmering:

 

 

Second Course: Fines ravioles fleuries aux herbes consommé végétal

 

 

The ravioli were filled with langoustine and the consommé was outstanding. There was a pronounced Indian-spice taste in this dish.

Third Course – Gratin d’oignon doux au citron parmigiano reggiano

 

 

Sweet onion gratin with parmesan and lemon, mache lettuce on top. I just don’t get this dish.  John’s comment was that this was an “el cheapo” nothing dish.

Fourth Course – Brioche de légumes printaniers soja et sésame noir

 

 

How can spinach and carrot mousse be exquisite? But it was. Of course “bottom-line John” wondered what the food cost was in this dish.

Fifth Course – Lotte de Bretagne à la moutarde d’Orléans jardinière Arlequin

 

 

Monkfish with mustard sauce, flagelots and fingerling potatoes. The fish was spectacular – my notes say as good as it gets. The mustard sauce had a lard flavor to it – excellent.

Sixth Course (add on) Blue Lobster with Jura wine sauce, green cabbage and leeks, tomalley.

 

Absolutely worth every euro.
Seventh course – Fromages de Bernard Antony affineur
Had the 2002 aged Comte in addition to other cheeses.
Eighth Course – Caramelized Tomato Ice Cream with caramel sauce made with salty butter and hazelnuts.
Mignardises
3 tarts –nothing special

Conclusion: If I ignore the entire question of value and just focus on the food, there is no doubt that Arpege is a unique experience. Some of his dishes are sublime, his vegetables are wondrous and the lobster dish absolutely wonderful. (By the way, we ordered the lobster as a one for two split.) I just don’t get the onion gratin dish and would never order it a la carte.

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