My birthday lunch, Taillevent

12:47
Salmon and horseradish mousse – perfect, the radish matched the horseradish royale and the salmon mousse was an impossibly light foam
Rémoulade de tourteau à l’aneth
Sauce fleurette citronée
1251
King crab cake lemon dill sauce
Consistent flake in crab, the white sauce was an eye-opening blend of citron
1306
*the sea urchin royale is served in sea urchin cups and topped with the roe
settled on the plate w a rock salt pate
Langoustines Royales
1314
Langoustime tail with roe and taragon sauce. Chutney is a little too sweet, herbs are a nice respite. The crust enhanced the lobster flavor, almost like prawn crisps, however it was rolled and striped like the layers of a croissant.  If there was a reason to fault them for not staying a three star Michelin restaurant, I think it would be dishes like these, though technically magical, the harmony wasn’t there.
Note: wine waiter number two was told to use English, Im sure they were all trained to pick up on the preferred language of the tables.
Epeautre en Risoto Grenouille
Aux girolles
1324
Spelt risoto with frog legs.
Grilled to perfection and douches with butter. The fond de veer underneath it all ties the dish together and makes it sexy. I think they brought a finger bowl because they saw me pick up the frog leg. Two deboned muscles were thrown in and the crisp garlic chip could have been thicker.
1329
The super cute waiter noticed I picked up a frog leg with my fingers and brought a finger bowl and bone plate.
1334
Fuck! a fish knife!
Rouget, Tapenade & Citron
Aux saveurs méditerranénnes
1342
Red snapper with artichoke
There’s a squared off block of artichoke purée underneath the artichokes. The fish moist and the skin is delicately crisp. The jus on the plate has yet to speak to me.
1350
I’m obsessing over the spot of tasteless jus I dropped on the tablecloth… mortified.
1354
A 2001 burgundy has been served. So guess the duck is up next.  The wine was already opened and sitting on the service table. I didn’t see if it was served to someone else.
1358
I have to say now… I have to fault the Swede next to me for tucking his napkin into his shirt. It’s almost as bad as my spill on the linen. As I type this, I see red wine drips on the tablecloth from the main waiter who served me the wine.
1400
As I wait for the duck, I see several desserts being served.
1400
Ooh, and a cheese course.
1401
I forgot to mention, when I placed my order I was asked how I like my duck. I asked for medium rare.
1402
Uh oh.. I felt a button shift
1404
I’m seeing something served table side. Something with a pastry crust, it’s being portioned into three perfect plates, each person getting the same exact  meal.
I see a spot next to the woman at the table in front of me. The crummier (ramasse-miettes) who looked like Mo Rocca, seemed unfazed.
Canard de Challans Rotie Aux Epices
Aux cerise et à la verveine
1409
Roast duck with fruits of the season.
Yeah, the wine is perfect! I think there was something lost in translation because my duck is overcooked. The fruits are on a purée of pumpkin. I can’t tell if the warm, yet still crunchy ball is quince it pear.  there was a poached soft grape.
1421 I’m jealous of the four frenchmen who got rare duck.
1423 Knowing that this was the star of the meal, I’m now really sad.
Ossau Iraty
Pain brûlé et piment d’Espelette
1425
Soft white basque region cheese with a confiture of cherries.  The circle of pepper is a beautiful presentation. If there were any doubt of the mixture of sweet and savory, I would suggest this dish.  The arugula is an exceptional compliment.
1427 The swedes have been served the same thing.
1429 I see a wheel of soft cheese with an ashen rind served with a great smile.
1431 The head waiter for this room is putting his arm into it, but making it look like he’s enjoying it.
More cheeses from the board are being served
1433 At this point, A 1000€ bill wouldn’t shock me… this meal is so luxe.
1436 All plates cleared.
1437 The cheese board is taken away
My salt and pepper gas verb cleared.
1438 I saw the waiter take the crumbs off the table next to me onto a plate. Then, Mo Rocca got another plate to collect my crumbs.
1441 A rich foursome of French men get rowdy. I’m sure the young handsome one complained about the amount of bread consumed by the party, because the oldest one throws a piece of bread him.  The piece of bread was then smeared with cheese and the young handsome man stuffs it into his mouth and chews with his mouth open, as asks for more bread.
1442 More silverware
1443 The table that sat right after me have finished their meal.
1444 The table in front of me paid their meal in less than a minute. They leave, with the palate au chocolate on the table.
1445 the table is cleared and looks as if nobody say there, save for the spot left earlier. The linens are replaced  between lunch and dinner.
1448 Listening to the swedes complaining about how American airport security ruined it for the world… go fuck youself. Clearly they have never been on an Israeli airline.
1449
Fraicheur Mandarine et Palet au Chocolat
Both are served, but the custard is set directly in front of me.
The citrus custard almondine, has an almond foam. The fresh blood oranges are a surprise because I thought the red layer was raspberry.
The custard mousse is whipped and porous, I guess this is a good style choice since the royale in the beginning was a thick custard.
1454
The custard is finished and taken away, Mo Rocca sets the chocolate cake in front of me and I notice the caramel sauce is in the shape of a C clef or the Japanese sound “u” or ooh.
The sugar lace is so dark, which echos the deep richness of the chocolate. The sandy almond cookie is clearly just a vehicle for the mousse.
1459 Only by eating the crumbs, I noticed the butteriness of the almost cookie. It’s a shame that it had to bow down to the mousse.
1500 Now to the petite fours
The butter cookie, just melted. I wonder how much of that was really flour or crushed nuts
1502. The macaron is filled with a delightful banana cream. I’m kissing the overflow at the seams, trying to delay the inevitable.
1503 The macaron is slight chewy and the sweetness exploded. Within chewing three times, it melts into nothing. I sip some water and it’s such a clean finish.
1502 I think this is a pistachio cream tart. I overturn it so the cream hits my tongue. I can’t describe the flavor. There’s a sweet milk and a melon-like flavor, and before I can analyze it further… it’s gone.
1506 The mousse tart, I’m wondering if it’s hiding something. The base is tacky… I’m second guessing myself, since there’s silver on top.
1508 Dark and coffee flavored. I’m glad I didn’t get a coffee, it would have been lost.
1509 The chocolate. I’m guessing it’s a plain piece of chocolate. Standard and perfect.
1510 The shine is beautiful, I wonder if it’s waxy.
It’s a thin outer coating and a smooth milky ganache inside
1511 No, it wasn’t waxy
1512 I purposefully drink my water so that someone fills my glass. As I write this line someone has already filled it and left the table
1514 I imagine that’s what running a marathon is like.
1516 I whisper “l’addition” and Mo Rocca hears me as if said it through a bullhorn.
1517 The bill is presented but Mo is looking for the room’s waiter, but he’s clearly engaged with the four men.
1521 I’d like to be let out of my table.
15 rue Lamennais, 75008 Paris

15 rue Lamennais, 75008 Paris

The following is a blow-by-blow account of my lunch at Taillevent on 11 December 2009.  I arrived at 12:30, greeted by no less than five people, and whisked off to my corner banquette in the Lamennais Dining Room.

Charger & Glasses

Charger & Glasses

Upon sitting I’m asked if I would like a glass of the 2000 Dom Pérignon or the Taillevent Champagne.  Seeing that I could get Dom Pérignon anywhere in the world, I opt for the Taillevent Champagne.

As the head waiter finishes setting down the champagne, another waiter presents me with a plate of cheese puffs, and encourages me to eat them with my fingers.  After taking one, he set the plate on the table.

Taillevent champagne and cheese puffs

Taillevent champagne and cheese puffs

The menu and wine list arrive.  I make my selections and request wine to only go with the duck. I sit and savor my cheese puffs and champagne.

12:47  – Royale raifort et mousse au saumon

Royale raifort et mousse au saumon

Royale raifort et mousse au saumon

Salmon and horseradish mousse
Perfect, the radish matched the horseradish royale and the salmon mousse was an impossibly light foam

12:51  – Rémoulade de tourteau à l’aneth, sauce fleurette citronée

Rémoulade de tourteau à l'aneth sauce fleurette citronée

Rémoulade de tourteau à l'aneth sauce fleurette citronée

Crab rémoulade with a whipped citron sauce. Dill sauce.  Consistent flake in crab, almost off-putting thinking that crab is handled so much. The white sauce was an eye-opening blend of citron.  Dragging in the dill dots on the edge provided a spark of herbal flavor.

1306  – Looking around the room, I spy the sea urchin royale which is served in sea urchin cups and topped with the roe settled on rock salt discs.

1314  – Langoustines Royales

Langoustines Royales

Langoustines Royales

Langoustine tail with roe (below) and tarragon sauce (above). Chutney is a little too sweet, and herbs are a nice respite. The crust enhances the lobster flavor, almost like eating prawn chips along with prawn. Technically intriguing, since the crust is rolled and striped like the layers of a croissant.

If there is a reason to fault them for not staying a three star Michelin restaurant, I think it would be dishes like these. Though it is flawless, the harmony wasn’t there.

Note: Wine waiter number two, who fills my wine glass, uses English. Im sure they are all trained to pick up on the preferred language of the tables.

Wine waiter

Wine waiter

13:24  – Epeautre en Risoto Grenouille aux girolles

Epeautre en Risoto Grenouille Aux girolles

Epeautre en Risoto Grenouille Aux girolles

Spelt risoto with frog legs.  The frogs legs are grilled to perfection and douched with butter. The fond de veau underneath it all ties the dish together and makes it sexy.  Two deboned muscles were thrown in and the crisp garlic chip could have been thicker.

13:29  – I think the super cute waiter noticed I picked up a frog leg with my fingers and brought a finger bowl and bone plate.

Finger bowl

Finger bowl

13:34  – Fuck! A fish knife!

Fish knife

Fish knife

13:42  – Rouget, Tapenade & Citron Aux saveurs méditerranénnes

Rouget, Tapenade & Citron Aux saveurs méditerranénnes

Rouget, Tapenade & Citron Aux saveurs méditerranénnes

Red snapper with artichoke. There’s a squared off block of artichoke purée underneath the artichokes. The fish is moist and the skin is delicately crisp. The jus on the plate has yet to speak to me.

13:50  – I’m obsessing over the spot of tasteless jus I dropped on the tablecloth… mortified.

13:54  – A 2001 burgundy is been served. So guess the duck is up next.  The wine was already opened and sitting on the service table. I didn’t see if it was served to someone else.

Verre de Vornay

Verre de Vornay

13:58  – I have to say now… I have to fault the Swede next to me for tucking his napkin into his shirt. It’s almost as bad as my spill on the linen. As I type this, I see red wine drips on the tablecloth from the main waiter who served me the wine.

14:00  – As I wait for the duck, I see several desserts being served.

14:00  – Ooh, and a cheese course.

14:01  – I forgot to mention, when I placed my order I was asked how I like my duck. I asked for medium rare.

14:02  – Uh oh.. I felt a shirt button shift

14:04  – I’m seeing something served table side. Something with a pastry crust and being portioned into three perfect plates, each person getting the same exact  meal.

I see a wine stain or sea urchin stain next to the woman at the table in front of me. The crummier (ramasse-miettes) who looks like Mo Rocca, seemed unfazed.

14:09  – Canard de Challans Rotie Aux Epices – Aux cerise et à la verveine

Canard de Challans Rotie Aux Epices Aux cerise et à la verveine

Canard de Challans Rotie Aux Epices Aux cerise et à la verveine

Roast duck with fruits of the season.

Yeah, the wine is perfect! I think there was something lost in translation because my duck is overcooked.

Canard de Challans Rotie Aux Epices Aux cerise et à la verveine

Canard de Challans Rotie Aux Epices Aux cerise et à la verveine

The fruits are on a purée of pumpkin. I can’t tell if the warm, yet still crunchy ball is quince OR pear.  There was a poached soft grape.

14:21  – Across the room I see the four frenchmen receive their rare duck. I’m jealous.

14:23  – Knowing that this was the star of the meal, I’m now really sad.

14:25  – Ossau Iraty Pain brûlé et piment d’Espelette

Ossau Iraty Pain brûlé et piment d'Espelette

Ossau Iraty Pain brûlé et piment d'Espelette

Soft white basque region cheese with a confiture of cherries.  The circle of pepper is a beautiful presentation. If there were any doubt of the mixture of sweet and savory, I would suggest this dish.  The arugula is an exceptional compliment.

14:27  – The swedes have been served the same cheese course.

14:29  – I see a wheel of soft cheese with an ashen rind served with a great smile.

14:31  – The head waiter for this room is putting his arm into it, but making it look like he’s enjoying it.

Head waiter & the four frenchmen

Head waiter & the four frenchmen

More cheeses from the board are being served

14:33  – At this point, A 1000€ bill wouldn’t shock me… this meal is so luxe.

14:36  – All plates cleared.

14:37  – The cheese board is taken away. My salt and pepper have been cleared.

14:38  – The waiter who looks like Mo Rocca clears the crumbs off the table next to me onto a plate. Mo then gets another plate to collect my crumbs.

14:41  – The rich foursome of French men get rowdy. I’m sure the young handsome one complained about the amount of bread consumed by the party, because the oldest one throws a piece of bread at himhim.  The piece of bread was then smeared with cheese and the young handsome man stuffs it into his mouth and chews with his mouth open, as asks for more bread.

14:42  – More silverware

14:43  – The table that sat right after me have finished their meal.

14:44  – The table in front of me paid their meal in less than a minute. They leave, with petit fours on the table.

14:45  – The table is cleared and looks as if nobody ate there, save for the spot left by the woman earlier. The linens must be replaced  between lunch and dinner.

14:48  – Listening to the swedes complaining about how American airport security ruined it for the world… go fuck youself. Clearly they have never been on an Israeli airline.

14:49  – Fraicheur Mandarine et Palet au Chocolat

Both are served, but the custard is set directly in front of me.

Fraicheur Mandarine

Fraicheur Mandarine

The citrus custard has an almondine foam. The fresh blood oranges are a surprise because I thought the red layer was raspberry.

Fraicheur Mandarine - Layers

Fraicheur Mandarine - Layers

The custard mousse at the bottom is whipped and porous, I guess this is a good style choice since the horseradish royale in the beginning was a thick smooth custard.

14:54  – The custard is finished and taken away, Mo Rocca sets the chocolate cake in front of me and I notice the caramel sauce is in the shape of a C – clef or the Japanese sound “u” or ooh.

Palet au chocolat Caraïbe

Palet au chocolat Caraïbe

The sugar lace is so dark, which echos the deep richness of the chocolate. The sandy almond cookie is clearly just a vehicle for the mousse.

Palet au chocolat Caraïbe

Palet au chocolat Caraïbe

14:59  – Only by eating the crumbs, I realize the butteriness of the almost cookie. It’s a shame that it had to bow down to the mousse.

15:00 Now to the petite fours

Petit Fours

Petit Fours

The butter cookie, just melted. I wonder how much of that was really flour or crushed nuts

15:02.  – I’m kissing the overflow at the seams of the macaron, it is filled with a delightful banana cream. I’m  trying to delay the inevitable.

15:03  – The macaron is slight chewy and the sweetness exploded. Within chewing three times, it melts into nothing. I sip some water and it’s such a clean finish.

15:02  – I think this is a pistachio cream tart. I overturn it so the cream hits my tongue. I can’t describe the flavor. There’s a sweet milk and a melon-like flavor, and before I can analyze it further… it’s gone.

15:07  – The mousse tart, I’m wondering if it’s hiding something. On second thought, maybe the silver is the flourish here and it’s just a standard chocolate tarte.  The base is a bit tacky…

15:08  – Dark and coffee flavored. I’m glad I didn’t get a coffee, it would have been lost.

15:09  – The chocolate. I’m guessing it’s a plain piece of chocolate. Standard and perfect.

15:10  – The shine is beautiful, I wonder if it’s waxy.

Petit Fours: Chocolate

Petit Fours: Chocolate

It’s a thin outer coating and a smooth milky ganache inside

15:11  – No, it wasn’t waxy

15:12  – I purposefully drink my water so that someone fills my glass. As I write this line someone has already filled it and left the table

15:14  – I imagine that’s what running a marathon is like.

15:16  – I whisper “l’addition” and Mo Rocca hears me as if said it through a bullhorn.

15:17  – The bill is presented on a silver tray but Mo is looking for the room’s head waiter. He’s clearly busy cajoling the four annoying french men.

L'addition

L'addition

15:21  – I’d like to be let out of my table.

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