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lizziee

L'Arnsbourg

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Oh, and one other thing: would you describe it as a rather formal or even "stiff" restaurant (in comparison, say, to Dieter Müllers place, which I found pretty formal)?

Did you make any advance requests and did they allow you to visit the kitchen?

Thanks alot!

greetings from germany!

kai

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went l'arnsbourg earlier this year i thought it was the best out of the places that we visited which included beurheisel and auberge de l'ill.

it is in the middle of no-where mind, but it is worth the trip.

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Reply from ulterior epicure:

I have seen that you ranked it as your nr. 1 meal of 2005, even though your "restaurant-resume" is tremendously impressive! Could you elaborate on that?

The setting, the food, and the service all were amazing. The food was from nose to tail creative - it may look/sound strange, but believe me, it's quite astounding - both in concept and taste!!

I have also seen your pictures at flickr - great pictures and Iam very much into "experimental cuisine", but honestly those dishes didn't look that interesting (or "daring") to me, if not downright unappealing (the "vanilla-scrambled-egg" for example rather looked like a creme brulee gone bad...).

Tell me about it - I was really confounded by this dish at first. The chives!! It turned out to be quite a combination - it was sweet and heavily vanilla-infused - but the chives added a hint of grassy herby garlicky flavor that surprisingly worked (for me).

Would you describe L'Arnsbourg as a rather formal or even "stiff" restaurant (in comparison, say, to Dieter Müllers place, which I found pretty formal)?

I found DM to be formal in service, but not in setting. L'Arnsbourg is like eating in a very nice home (well, actually, you are in a house). The service is very formal, and can be fun if you engage the servers - do you speak French, German or Japanese? Those are the only languages they're proficient in. (The sommeliar in training was from Japan). I got along in French, but most spoke German. I wouldn't say anything about L'Arnsbourg is stiff - except it's a very calm dining experience - I don't remember hearing anyone, despite the fact that a number of the tables were full. Do try to get a window table along the back wall - the view is just wonderful - especially in the winter.

Did you make any advance requests

Nope. I just went for the full tasting and was very pleased.

and did they allow you to visit the kitchen?

I didn't ask, but I don't see why not. The chef came out to greet me and talk to me in the lounge right before I was about to leave. He's a very kind man and I was flattered he specifically wanted to meet me.

Hope this helps. Please do let me know how your experience goes. Tell Chef Klein hello for me - and his sister, Kathy, too!!

u.e.

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Just a quick note, I asked kaim-im to post my p.m. answers. Thanks, kaim-im!! Hope you enjoy L'Arnsbourg, and I'll be looking forward to your report!! :smile:

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My wife and I dined at Arnsbourg and stayed at Hotel K the evening of 11/21. Unfortunately, I was feeling a bit under the weather, so I did not do much photo or note taking. There are a few pictures here.

The Menu Découverte was as follows:

Collection Amuses

Thin Sliced Langoustine, Yogurt Pearls, White Grapes, Seaweed Marmalade

Blue Lobster with Camomile, Sea-Buck Thorn Berries

Variation of Mushrooms, Forgotten Vegetables

Sole, Hazelnut, Celery Root Puree, Smoked Eel, Dai Dai Jelly

Pan Fried Duck Liver, Aloe Vera, Bouillon infused with Tanaisie

Fig Cone, Verjus Sorbet

Roasted Pigeon Breast, Reduced Jus, Beet Root and Mandarin Textures

Jerusalem Artichoke and Truffle Cappuccino

Collection Desserts

We had a bottle of Riesling, from Alsace...Dirler Kessler Grand Cru...I can't recall the vintage.

A few recollections:

The amuses included 'macaroons' of foie gras and yuzu flavor, as well as a beer and bitter orange bite. A trio of spoons each with cauliflower puree and a different fish egg (first salmon, then mackerel, then caviar) was a revelation. This bite perfectly captured what Jean-Georges Klein is trying to accomplish with his cooking. It was an emotionally moving dish for me. The caviar bite was the perfect harmony of tastes, and it was wonderfully highlighted by the slight incongruity that was present in the previous two bites. Had he simply served the caviar bite, it would have been undoubtedly great. By serving the bites in progression, it was a masterpiece.

The langoustine had a brilliantly pure flavor, and there was no hint of the sea until the seaweed gelee was used.

The lobster dish was another real treat. We were encouraged to taste it with and without the berry. When the berry puree was added, the lobster adopted the exact mouth-feel and taste as if it had been drenched in butter.

The dish of mushrooms and forgotten vegetables was served on a perforated plate resting above a bowl containing a surprise. When you were done with what was on the plate, it was removed and cepe broth was poured over the truffle and cepes that had been below perfuming the course. This became a soup.

The Jerusalem artichoke and truffle cappuccino was presented as if it was to be the star of the show, and is certainly a delicious dish, but it did not push any boundaries, and paled in comparison to the caviar and lobster above.

The two deserts were 1) a coconut dome containing coffee mouse and pears and 2) a sort of tuile made from the essence of granny smith apples containing a concentrated grapefruit sorbet and perched on a Campari 'film' whose flavor will haunt me. Mignardises included a toasted meringue with ginger-laced pineapple within, and a giant bowl of freshly made marshmallows.

The chef kindly signed my copy of the night's menu, and even more kindly sliced for us what must have been nearly half a pound of pata negra the next morning at breakfast. It was, to be honest, the best breakfast I've ever had.


Edited by KD1191 (log)

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My wife and I dined at Arnsbourg and stayed at Hotel K the evening of 11/21.  Unfortunately, I was feeling a bit under the weather, so I did not do much photo or note taking.  There are a few pictures here.

The Menu Découverte was as follows:

Collection Amuses

Thin Sliced Langoustine, Yogurt Pearls, White Grapes, Seaweed Marmalade

Blue Lobster with Camomile, Sea-Buck Thorn Berries

Variation of Mushrooms, Forgotten Vegetables

Sole, Hazelnut, Celery Root Puree, Smoked Eel, Dai Dai Jelly

Pan Fried Duck Liver, Aloe Vera, Bouillon infused with Tanaisie

Fig Cone, Verjus Sorbet

Roasted Pigeon Breast, Reduced Jus, Beet Root and Mandarin Textures

Jerusalem Artichoke and Truffle Cappuccino

Collection Desserts

We had a bottle of Riesling, from Alsace...Dirler Kessler Grand Cru...I can't recall the vintage.

A few recollections:

The amuses included 'macaroons' of foie gras and yuzu flavor, as well as a beer and bitter orange bite.  A trio of spoons each with cauliflower puree and a different fish egg (first salmon, then mackerel, then caviar) was a revelation.  This bite perfectly captured what Jean-Georges Klein is trying to accomplish with his cooking.  It was an emotionally moving dish for me.  The caviar bite was the perfect harmony of tastes, and it was wonderfully highlighted by the slight incongruity that was present in the previous two bites.  Had he simply served the caviar bite, it would have been undoubtedly great.  By serving the bites in progression, it was a masterpiece.

The langoustine had a brilliantly pure flavor, and there was no hint of the sea until the seaweed gelee was used.

The lobster dish was another real treat.  We were encouraged to taste it with and without the berry.  When the berry puree was added, the lobster adopted the exact mouth-feel and taste as if it had been drenched in butter.

The dish of mushrooms and forgotten vegetables was served on a perforated plate resting above a bowl containing a surprise.  When you were done with what was on the plate, it was removed and cepe broth was poured over the truffle and cepes that had been below perfuming the course.  This became a soup.

The Jerusalem artichoke and truffle cappuccino was presented as if it was to be the star of the show, and is certainly a delicious dish, but it did not push any boundaries, and paled in comparison to the caviar and lobster above.

The two deserts were 1) a coconut dome containing coffee mouse and pears and 2) a sort of tuile made from the essence of granny smith apples containing a concentrated grapefruit sorbet and perched on a Campari 'film' whose flavor will haunt me.  Mignardises included a toasted meringue with ginger-laced pineapple within, and a giant bowl of freshly made marshmallows.

The chef kindly signed my copy of the night's menu, and even more kindly sliced for us what must have been nearly half a pound of pata negra the next morning at breakfast.  It was, to be honest, the best breakfast I've ever had.

What did you think overall of the dinner? Is it worth the trip? How much for the menu?

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What did you think overall of the dinner? Is it worth the trip? How much for the menu?

I think it's an amazing place, a challenge to even get there, and then not an easy meal. It's is absolutely worth a trip, and I hope that I will be back. I think it really epitomizes what Michelin had in mind with the *** rating, requiring a commitment from the diner. It should be on every adventurous gourmet's wish-list. However, in the lead up and with the initial success of the first few courses I had built the expectations of the evening to an unattainable level, and the food could not meet that level in every course.

I tried not to put anything negative in my review, because as I said I was feeling under the weather and don't want that to come through it my opinion of the place. Some of the flavors I just didn't get. The smoked eel and dai dai, for example...I was enjoying that dish until I got to that part. It wasn't that the smoked eel was bad, I just didn't understand why it was there. I had a similar experience with the 'beet root and mandarin textures'. Beets are one of my favorite ingredients, and what he did to them I have no idea because the little square of red jelly that was on the plate did nothing for me or the dish.

Were these misses? I don't think I'd say so...the courses involved were still satisfying, they just weren't earth-shattering. He had a very steep hill to climb when he nearly made me cry during the amuses (the caviar).

The Menu Découverte, the more expensive menu, was, I believe, 190 euro. With a bottle of wine and two of water, it pushed dinner for two to close to 450. At 25 euro, breakfast the following morning was a much better bang for the buck. Definitely try to stay at Hotel K if you go, not just for the breakfast, but because the environment is just a perfect compliment to the meal.


Edited by KD1191 (log)

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do you know how often the menu changes? from the looks of it there is a spring/summer and then a fall/winter menu? im guessing it switches over on the restaurants closing time in january and september

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do you know how often the menu changes? from the looks of it there is a spring/summer and then a fall/winter menu? im guessing it switches over on the restaurants closing time in january and september

I do not know for sure, but I would hazard that the menu changes more frequently than that. You can compare a review from March here, from July here and then mine from November. All have similar dishes and tastes, langoustine carpaccio for example, but I don't get the impression that the menu completely changes at any given time as you describe.

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The dishes change as well, because Klein is constantly working on them. You can have two different versions of the same dish at a few weeks' interval and both versions will be mastered.

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Brand spankin' new spring menu starts this week! Will translate into english the names of the plates..

Menu Decouverte at 145 euro

Small tasty appetizers

***

Degustation of Beets

***

Raw Langoustine, Strawberry, Black Olive Gelee, Yogurt Pearls and Crispy Cookie

***

European Blue Lobster, Corn bonbon, Anchovy Chutney and Ponzu Emulsion

***

Rouget a la Plancha, Rice Cream, Eggplant Confit, Verbena Oil

***

Asparagus, Grapefruit, Ravioli of Celeri with Foie Gras, Consomme infused with Nutmet

***

Roasted Pigeon breast, Reduced Jus, Canon of Cabbage, Confit Algues

***

Cappucino of Green Peas with Emulsion of Baena Oil

***

Invitation to Dessert

***

Gallery of End of the Meal

***

Menu Saveur at 115 Euro

Small tasty appetizers

***

Carpaccio of marinated Tuna, Taboulé gel, Granny Smith Apple, Caviar of Finger Lemon, Pearls of Feta

***

Seared Cod, Pil Pil of Potato, Rhubarb Compote, Xeres Vinegar

***

'Le Pisenlit'

***

Plate of Lamb and Baby Lamb, Reduced Jus, Carrot in texture and Candied Kumquat

***

Cappucino of Potato and Black Truffle

***

Invitation to Dessert

***

Gallery of the end of the Meal

***

In addition I believe there is also a new dessert a la carte that involves small squares of black sesame mousse, green apple gel with wasabi.

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Just was there yesterday for lunch. Had the lunch menu with a few extras. All in all it was a far better meal than the one I had last year.

The prices are very friendly for the quality you get there, however, the wines aren't exactly that cheap. I found 14euro for a bottle of water to be a little too much, but well.

It's a real destination restaurant like Bras or Marcon, as it's in the middle of nowhere and has some rather unique cuisine.

FOrmore, check the blog.

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You'll have to forgive me as my notes weren't the most concise in the world and for the first time I took pictures while I was eating though the light put paid to most of the first meal

Dinner:

Collection Amuses:

1) Margarita Spoon

P1010546.JPG

2) Smoked Eel on a Madeleine (?)

3) Peanut butter peanut

4) Corn chips

P1010545.JPG

6)Fake Liver (not quite sure of the point of this, basically a foie gras tasting dish, not sure why they would feel the need to fake it)

7) Young Egg with Ginger and mushrooms a 9/10 dish

8) A beetroot cornet with smoked herring eggs

P1010548.JPG

9) Celery foam and sorbet

Variety of Spring Vegetables - beautiful peas, asparagus and fava, intense citrus flavour on the side. Really good

P1010547.JPG

At this point I was served a dish that just blew me away, a real Wow moment. An oyster with yuzu, grapefruit and another citrus that I can't recall. Absolutely stunning, salty, zesty and the long lingering taste of the sea reaching my palette just as the citrus started to fade. An absolute 10/10 dish. Rachel doesn't eat Oysters so was served a Foie Gras Bon Bon which had her smiling almost as much as me.

Marinated Langoustines, fresh herbs, Sprouts Salad. A good but not spectacular dish, I would have liked to have seen whole Langoustines and for the dish to have been out of the fridge a little longer. With this dish we were offered salt and pepper and a single flake of Maldon sea salt on each of the Langoustine pieces helped elevate it.

White Asparagus, Hollandaise and Pomelo - this was a great dish, lovely white asparagus, not as bitter as most that I have eaten, really good hollandaise and then again the Pomelo which certainly wouldn't be the first thing I would have thought of combining but really worked well.

red Mullet, Rhubarb and Olives - another wow moment for me, the Mullet itself was absolutely perfect, alongside a pomme puree topped with chopped olives and alongside that the rhubarb which we were instructed was a condiment for the fish. Again, these were combinations that I would never have thought of, the rhubarb was fantastic with the fish and I thought that it would probably clash with the pomme puree and olives but somehow it all came together brilliantly. The pomme puree itself probably the finest I have tasted.

The Tides....North Sea Lobster, young Celery, lemongrass foam.

This was a dish in two parts the top part of the dish had a plate with holes through it and before starting a broth was poured through the holes to the "surprise" below. On top of the plate was a seaweed salad with shellfish, upon completing that the plate was lifted to reveal the lobster below with celery bon bons and lemongrass. Beautiful Lobster the timing of the cooking on it, presumably finished by the hot broth being poured in before we started on the dish, was perfect.

Milk, Lamb, Rice Cream, candied black garlic, carrot and Kumquat - this was, for me at least, the weakest dish of the night, I'm guessing that it was pressed shoulder and the quality of the lamb itself was decent enough but the accompaniments weren't as impressive as some we had been served, while the Kumquat and Lamb were happy partners I found the rice cream a little gloopy, a little like overworked pomme puree. The heavy reduction served alongside also didn't reach the heights of some earlier dishes. It all felt a little touristy compared to some of the food which went before.

A delightful Truffle Cappuccino followed, very light airy potato on top, very generous serving of truffle underneath. Excellent.

Collection Desserts contained multiple elements but the Mango cream and sorbet, along with the Strawberry, passion fruit and buckwheat ice cream stood out. Really good strawberries though I never got to the bottom of where they were from or the variety.

The following day following a light breakfast consisting of pastries/bread Christine Ferber jams and a wonderful pink grapefruit and orange salad with elderflower syrup. We could have had a full breakfast including a plate of charcuterie and cheese but it was no problem to serve us a "single" breakfast to share. It took all our willpower to stop eating the pastries. They also served us a lovely plate of Pata Negra.

On to lunch, we were greeted like old friends and the sommelier who differed from the night before knew exactly what we had been drinking previously and the staff knew exactly what we had eaten the night before. No duplication allowed though my heart was screaming out for that Oyster.

Collection Amuses:

1) Beet Sorbet with yoghurt

P1010555.JPG

2) Cassis Macaroon

3) Parmesan and truffle

4) Lobster Madeleine

5) a mini tarte Flambee

6) Quails egg with ginger oil and muscat

7) Asparagus bon bon with a) Morel Hollandaise and a 3rd spoon with asparagus ice cream with pickled veg ( a play on asparagus with 3 sauces?)

8) Coconut milk (?)

P1010554.JPG

I started with Blue Lobster with Lobster cream and an egg roll with Ginger - take away the egg roll and this was the most classic of dishes, a Lobster Bisque, perfectly executed, add the great spring roll with its ginger and lemongrass flavours and it was taken to a whole new level.

P1010556.JPG

Rachel had the Skate (unfortunately the Turbot was off the menu). Skate, Green Spring Vegetables, Chicken Stock infused with Kumbawa, really good with a foam (Kumbawa?) topping the fish.

We had asked to share a 1/2 portion of the truffle and potato emulsion as a middle course, similar in texture to the cappuccino the night before, lovely but I think I would have preferred the potato to be a little more puree like. Of note here though was that we both received a 1/2 portion rather than 1/2 portion to share as requested and that it was comped, a very nice comp as well considering it comes in at a €45 each.

P1010558.JPG

Then onto a dish that left us speechless, I think we went so quiet that they actually came over to check that everything was OK. The Veal Cutlet with Spinach and Carrot. Nothing fancy here except the beautiful, thick rib of milk fed veal and the fabulous buttery spinach sweet carrots. All served in a Big Staub pot and carved into 2 pieces tableside, a jus served alongside and some incredible pomme puree. Stunning in both its simplicity and quality, I don't think there has been an hour since where I haven't thought about that dish. 10++ from both of us.

Next up was a Young Beetroot, Maraluni chocolate biscuit and Wasabi ice cream

P1010559.JPG

To Finish, Rachel had Verbena, a vacherin with Raspberry ice cream and spring fragrances:

P1010561.JPG

and for me Rhubarb:

P1010562.JPG

P1010563.JPG

Of course, when I say "to finish" I merely mean, the main courses, we still managed to squeeze down the marshmallows, chocolates, bon bons etc. etc. that continued to come out.

Overall I'm not sure that I can really find the words or descriptions to give the food the credit it deserves. A solo diner was being looked after and I wondered if he might have been an inspector, they certainly need not worry, it’s for restaurants like this that we need another star or two.

A word on the hotel, they are beautiful modern rooms and for the standard very well priced. Little touches like a complimentary mini bar with a couple of beers, water and juice and also the complimentary drinks with some fantastic strawberries upon arrival (and I suspect any other time you wanted them), the ironing that they perform at no extra charge, the fantastic breakfast (€27) and beautiful location all add up to a great place to stay. They even looked after us on Monday afternoon after we had checked out and following our lunch where they fed us more strawberries and drinks as we sat on the terrace enjoying the sun and letting our meal go down before heading to the airport.

My highest possible recommendation!

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You'll have to forgive me as my notes weren't the most concise in the world and for the first time I took pictures while I was eating though the light put paid to most of the first meal.

Thank you for this...we had almost the same meal the Sunday before last and my memory is not as good as it used to be. Your pictures are a great help.

At this point I was served a dish that just blew me away, a real Wow moment. An oyster with yuzu, grapefruit and another citrus that I can't recall.

It was calamansi, and I agree that it was exquisite. As an oyster, I've had better...but as a composition, it was wonderful.

the rhubarb was fantastic with the fish and I thought that it would probably clash with the pomme puree and olives but somehow it all came together brilliantly.

Agreed on all counts. I was actually put off by the menu description, but this was one of my favorite dishes of the evening. The rhubarb really brought this dish back to earth. Without it, it would have tilted toward too sweet.

Milk, Lamb, Rice Cream, candied black garlic, carrot and Kumquat - this was, for me at least, the weakest dish of the night

The candied black garlic was another in a very long line of JGK revelations for me. It just worked...I may have still been basking in the afterglow of the stunning caviar/cauliflower supplement at that point, however.

The following day following a light breakfast consisting of pastries/bread Christine Ferber jams and a wonderful pink grapefruit and orange salad with elderflower syrup. We could have had a full breakfast including a plate of charcuterie and cheese but it was no problem to serve us a "single" breakfast to share. It took all our willpower to stop eating the pastries. They also served us a lovely plate of Pata Negra.

I will wax poetic on the Hotel K breakfast to anyone that will listen...it is, in my mind, simply the best anywhere (perhaps equaled by phở in Hanoi...perhaps). The breads, pastries and jams are world class, but the cheese and charcuterie are honestly the best I've ever had. I turned down a second plate of Pata Negra because I wanted to be able to finish everything else we had...

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I have been to l'Arnsbourg two weeks ago and it's the first time I return in three years.

I was blown away... It's back on more "classical" ground, with the few hints to molecular cuisine completely gone from the table. While it was never too much, it's a part that did not attract me much in his food.

Now, while still very inventive, his cuisine is clearly on a more classical note. I do love it.

Superb wine list that has seen serious improvement over the last few years too.

A definite three stars experience. I will return without a doubt.

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Saddened to hear that Jean-Georges Klein departed L'Arnsbourg at the end of the year. The new chef is Philippe Labbé, most recently of L'Abeille at the Shangri-La Hotel in Paris.

 

While I'm excited to see what comes of Mr. Klein's next venture, I feel a profound sense of loss for a place where I enjoyed several of the most memorable meals of my life.


Edited by KD1191 (log)

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