L’Arpege – Paris, France

84, rue de Varenne
75007 PARIS
Tel : +33 (0)1 47 05 09 06

So, it’s my first trip to Paris, I want a Michelin meal. Before we leave I call American Express and have their concierge book reservations for us. I give her a list of restaurants and she gets us into L’Arpege (which i believe was our top choice). I chose it because the chef, Alain Passard, had recently taken meat off of his menu in favor of more seafood and vegetables and it cost him a Michelin star…that impressed me.

Chantrelle at L'Arpege

We were seated in the wine cellar which we think was the American dungeon…everyone seated there was American…but we liked it, it was all stone and lovely. We ordered the tasting menu:

-Chaud froid d’oeuf au vinaigre de Xeres et sirop d’erable
-Emulsion de fleurs et feuilles de capucine safranees aux oursins de l’ile aux Moines
-Poireaux de Sables de la manche au fenouil vert
-Saveurs de harissa et primeurs du val d’Anjou a l’huille d’argan
-Asperges vertes de la vallee de la Durance au parmigiano reggiano
-Mousseline d’ail nouveau persille et caviar d’Aquitaine
-Homard des iles Chausey et morilles braisees au vin jaune

My husband was discussing the price of the menu….my menu didn’t have the prices! I found that hysterical!
The wine list was the size of a Dostoevsky novel! It was ridiculous. It had everything: 1981 Latour for 14000 francs, 1996 Romanee Conti for 17000. We ended up ordering a 1989 Krug…we splurged…big time. It was phenomenal: Orgasmic, dry, toe-cheesy, bread yeast, roses, pippin apples…oh so so so so so so yes, good!!!

The signature appetizer is a poached egg served in it’s shell with maple syrup vinaigrette…I hate runny yolked eggs…this was quite tasty, I couldn’t eat much more than the tiny bit that I got but it was good! Next…Uni…It was served in it’s shell with a nasturtium cream sauce. The sauce was really tasty…the uni was still sea urchin…I couldn’t deal. My husband finished his (but I believe that was the source of his food poisoning! Yes, he had the meal twice…the most expensive food-poisoning ever!).

The asparagus dish was next…My husband got up to use the rest room right as the waiter was turning the corner with the dish…he looked as if he’d been punched in the stomach. He could not set the dish down without both of us being at the table…he took the dish back to the kitchen! When he did bring it out, they were perfect. Both white and green asparagus and they were ENORMOUS! The sauce was a simple parsley and parmesan sauce.

The garlic mousse was to die for…and it was served with what amounted to half the price of the tasting menu I’m sure: a tablespoon of caviar. I normally don’t like caviar, I think it tastes like licking the bottom of the wharf, but this i liked. They were just little balls of salt water…yum yum.

The lobster, main dish, was absolutely perfect. It was served with morels that were amazing, they tasted like hazelnuts and I think the lobster was just butter molded into the shape of a lobster.

The dessert exceeded our expectations. Chocolate “cake” but it was more of a volcano cake: the center just goooooed out. Then Basil Ice Cream! I want to make this…it won’t taste like this I’m sure, but it was so good! Then my husband drooled on his plate…really…drooled! The dessert wine was a 1997 Le Mont Vouvray…i don’t think they used grapes; instead it was made of peaches, lemon rind and some vanilla. It was one of the best sweet wines I’ve ever had.

We spent more on this meal than we did on lodging and all of the other meals combined in Paris. It was an experience and I’m glad we did it…and I think everyone should do something like this once…but unless you hit the lottery, once is all you need ;-)