Auberge de I’ll

The room has been completely redone [Feb. ’06]. The furniture including very well designed custom gueredon’s, new chairs and new fabrics make it a much lighter, more contemporary room.

We know how massive the portion size is at Auberge de I’ll, so we went to the one for 2 plan

Amuse # 1:
a. Smoked salmon on 1″ thick toast
b. Madeline of ????
c. Crisp of ???

On this trip it has been incredibly difficult to pin down the servers to take a minute to clearly explain in either French or English or both what the amuse dish is.

The butter was from Bordier in St. Malo–delicious.

Amuse # 2:
Scallop and leek terrine with a red beet mousse, truffle sauce and a waffle potato chip–absolutely delicious.

1st course:
A mosaic of Goose foie gras–the bottom layer a crisp of some sort, then a layer of terrine, a layer of mousse and topped with Sauterne gelee. Underneath the mosaic was a strip of reduced Arabian coffee [moka] sauce. To the side was a confit of white grapes and in a small rye crisp, shaped like a small bowl, a small salad. A real winner!!

2nd course:
Pan fried European bass in a nage of seaweed. The nage was made much like a traditional Japanese broth using long slimy green seaweed instead of dried nori [seaweed]. Next to the fish was a cut up maki roll with nori, Japanese rice and warm tiny cut up vegetables. The dish was a real surprise. You would never have seen a dish like this in an Alsatian restaurant, particularly Auberge de I’ll, 5 years ago. The skin on the sea bass was crisp and perfect. A total winner!!

3rd course:
A ragout of green asparagus with huge pieces of lobster meat plus an entire lobster claw with fresh morels and “vin jaune”. The sauce was ultra rich and the lobster perfect but it was just “too much.” This was more traditional Alsatian food and very heavy after the other dishes. It was executed perfectly, but my personal preference leans toward lighter dishes.

4th course:
Roasted breast of pigeon from Mieral, confit of Pigeon and pea mousse in a deep fried crust topped with a carrot. The whole thing sat on top of some small green peas flavored with mint. Salmis sauce mirrored the plate.

We decided that France must hibernate during the summer. The goal is to eat huge amounts of food during the winter months in order to survive the summer. The pigeon dish was excellent, but again, very rich.

5th course:
Small plate of cheese

6th course:
Dessert–something in puff pastry with a caramel sauce.

7th course:

Serge Dubs, the head sommelier at Auberge de I’ll is one of the most famous masters of wine in Europe. He has even designed all of the wine glasses at the restaurant. The cellar is massive.

Serge recommended two Alsatian wines.
1999 Riesling Schlumberger Kitterle Grand Cru–excellent, everything that Alsatian Riesling is all about–bright, flinty, astringent in a positive way. Perfect with the early dishes.

2001 Pinot Noir, Hugel Jubilee–Serge was proud of this Pinot from Alsace. John found it lean, thin and certainly not comparable to good Burgundy.

The best way to describe our visit to Auberge de I’ll and Hotel des Berges is tradition meets innovation. The dining room is beautiful. The people, especially Serge Dubs and Marco, are great. The accommodation is excellent. It is a beautiful place that should not be missed, if you are in the area.


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