Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee, Paris



I last ate at ADPA in July 2009. It was the third meal, of which I can say that it was absolutely spectacular. Every single time I eat here, I leave dazzled, unbelievably happy, like floating on a very quiet, relaxed, charming cloud… It’s a very amazing feeling, that makes forget everything else. But, don’t think of all that, I was back, and waited for a little food. The glorious food of Christophe Moret, who delivers the most consistently perfect meals I’ve come across. This is a guy, who knows what he is doing. Someone, who really knows it!

Denis Courtiade, one of the best Maitre d’hotel’s, greeted me and I was seated immediately. A glass of Roederer 2003 was very welcome as I perused the menu, although I did not have to make any choices. The chef is cooking, and one better lets him choose here. He really knows my taste by now, and I never interfere with his plans. The sommelier, Laurent Roucayrol, proposed to serve me a few glasses of wine, and I drank very well as usually today. I started off with a couple of glasses of 2007, Puligny Montrachet, Francois Carillon (the brother of the more famous other Carillon, who just started with his first vintage in 2007), which were followed by another very enjoyable wine: A 2004, Chateauneuf du Pape, Domaine de Marcoux. For the dessert, I was served the 2008, Dolc Mataro, Alta Alella-Catalunya. The latter wine is quite interesting as it works beautifully with cherries (both nose and taste are incredibly cherry-like), figs and chocolates (the three things I drank it with so far).  Whilst looking through the wine list, I was quite astonished at the incredibly reasonable prices, considering one is in a Parisian 3*.

With the Champagne came a few nibbles. There was a feuillete filled with spinach and truffles, a tomato/truffle sandwich and a little toast with some lardo di Colonnata. They were all delightful. The puff pastry was heavenly, crunchy, airy, light, a pure delight, and the spinach/truffle combination complemented it only too well. The tomato/truffle mix was incredibly good too. A combination I would not have served, this worked, and was a perfect partner for the very enjoyable Roederer. Finally, a crunchy piece of bread and some very, very good lardo aren’t something I will turn down neither. Excellent.

Amuse-I

Amuse-II

I was, more or less, on the menu collection, with a few changes from Christophe Moret, to which I will come shortly. Bread and butter were as good as always, which means excellent, and were refilled directly when needed.

The mise en bouche was a rather substantial adaptation of an Alain Chapel recipe: Langoustines de casier a la nage de Chardonnay. Three medium-sized langoustines came with a few vegetables and a Chardonnay nage. A deceptively simple dish, which looked very old fashioned, this was a truly stunning intro. Let’s start with the quality of the langoustines. These were amazing in every sense of the word. Perfectly cooked and seasoned, they had great flavour and a stunning texture. They matched those, one gets at the Square, which remain the best I’ve eaten so far. The nage was highly interesting, as it had a clear taste of Chardonnay, which was much more present than I would have imagined, but which which went very well with the other elements. An excellent start, I was looking forward to the rest…

Amuse-III

Two very big scallops came in their shells, atop a crème de laitue, and were topped with Beluga caviar. Can it get much more decadent? Certainly, but certainly not much better. The beasts were again of terrific quality (which will be the case during the whole meal), and cooked as well as I have not seen it anywhere else. The caviar here nearly played a supporting role only, as it gave the scallops a very particular, highly enjoyable seasoning. This was very fine caviar, which is always the case here, as far as I can remember. Summing up, this was a stunning, divine dish.

St Jacques

Next up was another decadent, and simple dish: Homard Breton, gnocchi Parmentier truffees. Simple then, a lobster, some gnocchi, and a bit of black truffle, for good measure… The lobster was as perfect as it gets, and worth a trip for only that, but what really struck me here was the incredible fluffiness of the gnocchi. These were so airy, and nearly creamy, that I couldn’t see how one could shape them so precisely. Wow. The truffles cut through the lobster’s very robust taste, where some of the best I’ve come across and simply brilliant too! I didn’t expect, anything of such stunning quality, but was stunned again! A DIVINE dish.

Homard

Volaille de Bresse, sauce Albufera, primeurs de Didier Pil, Tartufi di Alba. The name alone is a legend. A dish created by Alain Chapel, if I’m not mistaken, which Ducasse modernized a little, this must be one of the finest dishes in world. A Bresse chicken’s breast is poached (on the bateau) in a rich chicken stock, then glased in the sauce Albufera, and served with the garnish of a poule au pot and, of course, white truffles. I have already thad this once before, in the kitchen of this same restaurant, but this time, it was even better. The chicken was juicy, tender, incredibly tasty, and just unbelievable with that sauce. It hardly gets any better than this I can assure you, only if one takes a few slivers of truffle on the same fork. The vegetables with that sauce would make a dish on their own, as the sauce is divine. Made with chicken stock, Madeira, Porto, foie gras and cream, it’s rich, decadent, luscious and purely delicious. A legendary dish, that everyone who is seriously interested in food should have tried. At least once. DIVINE.

Poularde

Poularde

After this incredible meal, it was time for cheese. Today the cheese board was in incredible condition, and the comte was stunning, with this incredible texture it has, when it is more than 4 years old, and has been looked after very well. I haven’t had better comte at this restaurant before, and I can’t even say I’ ve had better comte at the Greenhouse before. Otherwise, I was served a little truffled salad, and the fantastic olive bread, which I adore. Excellent, with the Greenhouse the best cheeseboard I know.

salade avec le fromage

Fines feuilles de Chocolat et café crousti/fondants. A long rectangular bar of chocolate in various textures, and temperatures is served with a martini glass filled with coffee granitee, chocolate sorbet and a milk foam, to resemble a cappuccino. This dessert was the fifth I have eaten here, and showed once more, how good the patisserie here is. A dessert can not be better in terms of balance, as the coffee was just strong enough to give the chocolate a slightly stronger outline, but didn’t overdo it. Stunning.

Dessert-I

Dessert II

Petit-fours here always come in great variety and quantity, and are on the same incredibly high level as the desserts. Hence, they are among the finest in the world, and outright fantastic. Today, there were the classic chocolate and coffee macarons, the bugnes, and sugar tartlets. All of them were excellent, period.

La fin, ou presque

Wow. I have eaten here four times now, and every single one of them has been mind-blowing. Products always get completely re-defined here, as I have written in an earlier post, and I must stick to that. Moret sources the absolutely finest, France has to offer (or Iran in the case of the caviar), and serves it in a way, that lets the product shine. The four hours I spent here were brilliant, and the service was as relaxed as it could be in a Parisian 3*, with a friend joining me for dessert on very short notice. I have eaten very well these holidays, and this was the best meal of all of them, without doubt. A truly memorable experience, one that I hope to repeat sooner than later!

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6 Réponses to “Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee, Paris”

  1. Michael Says:

    Wow!

  2. felixhirsch Says:

    THat’s one way of putting it ;)))

    It really doesn’t get any better for a complete restaurant experience. At least as far as I can tell!

  3. idele Says:

    Combien d’argent?

    • felixhirsch Says:

      Alors les menus sont factures 260 et 360, a la carte on peut avoir beaucoup moins. En terme de vins, c’est beaucoup moins chere que quelques autres palaces parisiens.

  4. Bu Pun Su Says:

    Great review and great pictures! Was it a dinner? What camera did you use? I also somehow love his restaurants – both Paris and Monaco – though many says they’re boring. Chef Moret also deserves more credit, nowadays I think he’s more talented and creative than JF Piege. Cheers and keep the good work!

    • felixhirsch Says:

      I know you like the restaurants from reading your reviews! I find that very few restaurants make you have a better meal, but it seems that we’re some of the very few who think that way. I used my normal Nikon P5100, as I went for lunch, the light was very good (which it always is for lunch there). The camera is fine for that, but less so if you go for a dinner.

      I haven’t eaten there when JF Piege was still cooking there, although I ate twice at the Crillon. In more than a year, he didn’t change his menu very much, which I found a little weak. Moret on the other hand changes things constantly, and uses his own signature in his cooking. I think he is one of the very very great chefs around at the moment.

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