Arpege

When we walked into Arpege, Chef Passard was standing at the reception desk.  We were not sure he remembered us from the dinner at Manresa.  He could not have been more cordial and gracious.  He was particularly taken with my Katherine Baumann Caviar bag.  This bag has been a huge hit.  One time at The French Laundry a food runner was heard to say, “What do I do?  The Haskell’s brought their own caviar!”  It is a stunner.

 

Helen, the Maitre d’ who handled our ordering process was extraordinary.  She helped us create a meal of splits. She steered us to what she would order herself.  Several of the dishes were not listed on the menu.   We have dined at Arpege several times. This was one of the best!

Amuse: Some sort of small tart (no photo)

 

1st course:

The Arpege egg.   Absolutely perfect, A++++.  I read somewhere that instead of using salt and pepper, Chef Passard is now using a quatre [4] spice mixture.  The egg definitely had more kick.  John has placed his order for this new version immediately after we get home. I feel my version will always be B-  until I get my own chickens laying fresh eggs.

 

 

BUTTER:

A side note about the butter—fabulous is an understatement.   We are not sure if it was Bordier butter, but John ate every bite—having butter with a touch of bread. Fabulous!!

 

2nd course:

Scallop Carpaccio with sliced black truffles, olive oil and arugula.  Although John says he absolutely hates scallops, he loved this course. The scallops were extraordinary and the black truffles, which have been iffy in most places this year, were excellent.  A real winner dish.

 

3rd course:

Grilled foie gras with dates—the menu lists the foie being from Madeleine de Nonancourt.  We don’t think we have ever had grilled foie before [the grille marks were clear on the foie]. The foie melted in your mouth.  After the lousy foie at Guy Savoy, we were delighted.  It was served with a small salad of veggies, radish, and lettuces from Passard’s garden.

 

Close-up of foie

 

4th course:

Ravioli filled with leeks, onions, and pistachio in a carrot broth.  We were astonished by the great flavor of the intense broth.  It was the essence of the best carrots.

 

5th course:

Homard de Chausey a la truffe noir.  The lobster is first presented whole [we named him George].   When it is returned to the kitchen it is split in half and served with smoked potatoes, spinach leaves and a Jura wine sauce.  As it was served, Helen arrived to shave a huge portion of black truffles over the open lobster half.   In reality, the truffles were unnecessary and really did not add to the dish.

 

6th course:

Wild Challans Duck with Pertuis asparagus and Jerusalem Artichoke. My notes are missing all of the details of the spicing of the duck.  It was a winner!  Enough said.

 

Duck plated

7th course:

Bernard Antony’s 2003 aged Comte cheese—very special flavor, dry, dense and very special…we are not really qualified with the words to describe this special treat.

 

8th course:

Mignardises.

 

WINES:

Champagne:  Billecart Salmon Brut [magnum]

Moutlouis :Remuis” 2006.  Domaine de la toile aux loups, Jacky Blot—very fresh, clean and excellent with the early dishes.

2003 Chatea Gasqui,Corpse Ame.  Solid, clean and excellent with the duck and cheese.

Summary:

We like Passard and respect his commitment to delivering outstanding cuisine with special unique creative touches. Helen made the service side of the equation special. This meal was outstanding.  It was a complete pleasure. Absolute quality and yes very expensive but it was worth the time and cost.

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