Amuse-Bouche

Monday, May 30, 2005

Lameloise: A Restaurant For Dogs

We're back from the family, food, and wine fest that we spent with my sister and her husband in France. Blogging about the trip in one or two sittings seems rather daunting, so I'll blog about the trip in a series of posts. I'll cover the three, *** Michelin-rated restaurants at which we dined (these restaurants represent 12% of the *** Michelin restaurants in France), as well as the wineries we hit up and other memorable details, culinary or not.

Lameloise was the first of the three stars we visited:

Decor

Lameloise's atmosphere is intimate, yet elegant. We were seated in one of several rooms, all of which were occupied by an older crowd. The ceilings were low, which made for a cozy atmosphere.

The most out-of-place piece of decor at the restaurant was the dog seated with its owner at a table near us. When the lady and dog pair appeared, the servers said nothing, but I noticed an annoyed expression on at least one of their faces. I was certainly annoyed by the woman's arrogance. Would it be acceptable to bring Fido to The French Laundry or Fluffy to a White House dinner?! At least the dog was well-behaved -- perhaps its owner ordered it its own plate of foie gras to keep it happy and quiet.

Service

The service was very good, but not the best I've seen (The French Laundry wins this contest for me). We were waited on by perhaps four men, and I enjoyed their explanation of the breads at the beginning of the meal and of cheeses at the end. The service, however, was not seamless -- plates did not appear out of nowhere, as the staff would crowd into a corner to organize plates before serving them to our table.

Food

As I did with almost every dinner in France, I started off my meal with a Kir Royal. We brought back a bottle of Creme do Cerise to try a twist on the classic aperitif at home. My sister was in charge of the wine selection, so I'll update the blog with the excellent, luxurious white bottle she selected when I talk to her next (or perhaps she can add a comment to this post).

Knowing that the restaurant focuses on the hearty, Burgundian style of cuisine, we all went for the smallest menu, the Menu Affaire. Before my actual selections I arrived, we were served a plate of small tastes (a delicate shrimp, a cheese-filled square of puff pastry, and something on a spoon). Our amuse-bouche of avocado mouse topped with two sardines was creative and refreshing. As for my meal:

Gâteau de foies blonds aux langoustines de Bretagne, sauce coraillée

Daurade royale cuite à basse température écrasée de pommes de terre
sauce légèrement parfumée aux olives noires

Cheese Course

Soufflé chaud aux fruits de la passion

Everything was good, except for the souffle which was awesome. For those of you who don't know, daurade is a white fish. I ordered the souffle at the beginning of the meal. The waiter gave me the option of the passion fruit sauce on the side or infused and buried in the souffle. His description of the latter presentation was rather animated, and he seemed happy when I chose it. The main dessert was of course surrounded by a series of desserts -- pre-dessert sweets, post-dessert chocolates, and an espresso mousse with the coffee. We left fuller than full.

All in all, Lameloise is really quiet good. We, however, all felt a little disappointed. With the exception of the souffle, nothing stood out. Plus, I think souffles always stand out for me. To some extent, I think the problem is my getting spoiled -- my theory is that there is diminishing enjoyment to the world-renown restaurants at which you dine.

4 Comments:

  • At May 30, 2005 3:42 PM, Anonymous Celine Gounder said…

    Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1997

     
  • At May 31, 2005 10:32 AM, Blogger Ficus said…

    France actually has a long tradition of allowing dogs to sit with their owners while dining, even in these sorts of haute-cuisine restaurants.

    Many places will cook a meal for your dog, too. I've read that in the finest restaurants, the low-level apprentices in the kitchen are only allowed to cook for the customers' dogs. I'm not sure if this is still true.

     
  • At August 10, 2005 8:33 AM, Anonymous jean pierre said…

    Un chien dans un tel endroit "crime de lèse majesté"

     
  • At September 11, 2005 4:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    En lisant le commentaire de Sabine, je me demande qui d'elle ou du chien les maîtres d'hôtels auraient dû refuser à l'entrée! L'image de la haute cuisine reste empruntée, inaccessible, élitiste et ce genre de commentaire le prouve encore tout les jours.... Le restaurant doit être un lieu de bonheur, de découvertes et d'échanges et surtout pas un lieu de contraintes.
    Je propose à Sabine la prochaine fois de demander à changer de place plutot que de pester sans même avoir essayé.
    J'ai pour ma part passé des "moments parfaits" lors de mes deux derniers passages chez Lameloise et ne comprend toujours pas la rétrogradation injustifiée du Michelin 2005

     

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