Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Ledoyen


cabrales
 Share

Recommended Posts

Also, they still have an awful lot of truffle dishes on the current menu. This could be fine by me, but isn't the season over? I haven't bought truffles since late February, so I don't know how the season evolved since then, but I sure don't want to eat frozen truffle. Maybe I should ask them to show me the product before even considering ordering some?

They do fresh stuff. We have had good truffle as late as late March this year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a meal at Ledoyen a few months ago, and was really impressed with Le Squer's ability to meld French tradition with more modern preparations, particularly with his turbot and ris de veau. For me the best part of the turbot were the chewy potatoes that lie hidden underneath.

You can check out the pictures here if you're interested.

Some of the dishes were really creative, like the scallop medallions with ossetra caviar ... the frozen sea water shell melted into what seemed like sea foam !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a meal at Ledoyen a few months ago, and was really impressed with Le Squer's ability to meld French tradition with more modern preparations, particularly with his turbot and ris de veau.  For me the best part of the turbot were the chewy potatoes that lie hidden underneath.

You can check out the pictures here if you're interested. 

Some of the dishes were really creative, like the scallop medallions with ossetra caviar ... the frozen sea water shell melted into what seemed like sea foam !

Finally, someone who agrees with me about that turbot! Kindred souls, you and me, ajgnet.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, we went to Ledoyen a few days ago, just before Easter. Apparently, Le Squer wasn't there (didn't see him at all), but I'm not sure it showed.

Here's what I wrote about it. It may not be as precise as other recent similar posts here, but hey, now it's written, I thought I might as well share it.

I don’t know if this was because of the forthcoming Easter week-end, the economic situation or the fact that Ledoyen doesn’t really hits the headlines but I was able to get a table for two on a Friday night three days in advance. Quite surprising for this kind of restaurant. Actually, the room was never full the day we went.

While we were still studying the menu, we were presented a set of four amuses: “earth & river” macaroon (eel & beet), truffle persillade, chicken samossa and a small bit of liquid mozzarella & basil. We could already recognize Le Squer at work here: these foodbits were prepared with the utmost care, with a reasonable use of “molecular” techniques (like for the mozzarella ball that explodes in the mouth). Their appealing apparence was coupled to understated, clear and precise tastes. It feels like the chef is more interested in giving his customers “hmmm”s of content than only “wows” of stupor.

A more substantial pre-appetizer was then served. Some dice of raw salmon on a leek mousse, sprinkled with a few salmon eggs. The mousse/crème showed a firmness that I found unexpected. However, it was not the slightiest gelatinous nor greasy, and it melted very naturally in the mouth, revealing a magnificent taste of leek. Salmon dices were very tender and tasty. The association of the two products is very classic and was particularly well done here.

tn_gallery_59349_6374_207991.jpg

Our starter were the “Gross Langoustines de Bretagne”, served two ways. One was lightly cooked “à la plancha” whereas the other one was fried. The waiters spreaded a very airy olive oil and lemon mayonnaise that slowly melted under the warmth of the langoustines, which indeed were of a very good caliber. This was a very generous starter, and the langoustines were truly excellent, perhaps the best I’ve ever had. There were of course some difference in texture between the two, but it was really hard picking a favorite preparation. Perhaps I liked the “a la plancha” a bit more, as it was softer and somehow closer to the original product. Contrary to what I feared, the mayonnaise did not overpower the delicate taste of the crustaceans at all, and perhaps made the even better. All in all, it’s really easy to understand why this is one of the “signature” dishes.

tn_gallery_59349_6374_91523.jpg

Then, the first main course was the “white ham/truffle/morels/spaghettis”. Reading this does not prepare and can’t do any justice to what we found on our plates. The pasta were cut very precisely at the same size and aligned to form a perfect parallelepiped on which rested some morels and ham dices. There obviously a lot of hard work involved in this dish. On the side, the waiters poured a truffle and parmesan cream, that was also present inside the spaghetti case, with other bites of truffle, morel and ham.

This dish almost plays in the “comfort food” register, but the building of the spaghetti “castle” and the perfect balance of these excellent flavors make this a dish that totally deserves its place on the menu of a high-end restaurant like Ledoyen. Very “gourmand” and very classy at the same time. I could eat this everyday.

tn_gallery_59349_6374_250110.jpg

We shared the second main course: “Burnt eel toast, grape juice reduction”. The eel rested on a slightly toasted (but still soft) crustless and colored bread, and the whole was covered in the wine sauce. Next to it, sat a small potato cube in which a semi-spheric hole was carved and filled with cream. This dish showed some firmness under the fork, but was really tender in the mouth. Also, and maybe for the first time during this meal, the flavors were quite strong, maybe even “rustic”, which made the pairing with a 2004 “Empreintes” cornas from domaine Durand excellent. Once again, this was absolutely excellent and enjoyable, in a totally different way from the previous dish. However, at this point of the meal, we were already full, and may not have been able to enjoy it as much as deserved.

tn_gallery_59349_6374_137922.jpg

Thus, we wondered if we should order some cheese or not. However, when the cart with the selection from Bernard Antony, the reknowned “affineur”, arrived in front of us, there was no hint of a doubt. We ordered a few cheeses, which were all matched with a corresponding wine by our sommelier. The order in which we were recommended to eat them was dictated by the wines and not by the cheeses, which led to some surprising transitions, like going from a very ripe and strong brie de Meaux to a more delicate reblochon. The pairings were really good, some I never tried, like the Ruinart blanc de blancs with brie, one I didn’t really understand (pineau des Charentes with Reblochon), but the star of the night was the Comté, really.The one we were offered had been aged for 36 months, and of course paired with a very good vin jaune from Jura (the French region, not the Scottish island!). Antony is known for offering some of the best Comté in the world, and I must say this one lived up to its reputation.

tn_gallery_59349_6374_356897.jpg

We also couldn’t settle on which dessert(s) to order from the menu. Our waiter made an excellent recommendation and we decided to share the “Grand Dessert Ledoyen”. Before the parade began, we were given some pre-desserts that were really good: an almost unbaked meringue with lime, a more crunchy but very light and airy coffee meringue, a small macaroon and a candied strawberrry.

The first dessert was the Levure glacée, râpé de chocolat blanc et d’amande, which was an excellent transition dish: it was somewhat neutral in taste while remaining very fresh. I would have gladly eaten more of this one, which is always a good sign.

The next one was the signature dessert: Croquant de pamplemousse cuit et cru. This was a combination of candied grapefruit, fresh grapefruit wedges and some sorbet and sheets of sugar. It was very satisfying and conveyed all the aromas of the fruit perfectly, with a good balance of bitter, sweet and acidity. However, I can’t say I was blown away… it may just not be my type of dessert.

We went on with the Fraise des bois d’Andalousie: a ball of meringue containing wild strawberries and a lemon and rose jelly. I remember enjoying this one very much (I’m a sucker for wild strawberries), but I realize I can’t really remember the tastes… maybe because of the one or just because it was more simple and conventional, thus more easily forgettable.

Then, came our favorite dessert of the night: Glacé de caramel fumé, pistils de chocolat, which was perfectly balanced, maybe simpler than the grapefruit one, but nevertheless immensely enjoyable. Maybe at that point of the meal, I just needed something that didn’t require me to pay too much attention to really understand and enjoy.

And that's also probably why I couldn’t enjoy the Finger de chocolat, pralin citronné as much as I would, had I not been full: textures were interesting, flavors aplenty, but that was just too much for me.

tn_gallery_59349_6374_10707.jpg

Of course, they also brought mignardises with the coffee: some excellent caramels with a firm texture which slowly melted in the mouth — perfect; and a light version of the classic Brittany pastry, “the kouign-amann”. Here, it was more of a brioche than a real kouign-amann full of butter, but even in this form that still had some of the crunchiness and the sugary and buttery taste of the original recipe, we could not finish it.

What transpired the most from the dishes we tasted during this meal was the understatedness of the flavors. Not that the food wasn’t tasty, on the contrary, but these were only very natural flavors that the chef didn’t try to modify in any way, unlike what Gagnaire, for example. The service displayed the same characteristics: discreet but very pleasant, never intrusive and with finely tuned kindness and smiles. That said, it seemed more rigid at the beginning of the meal. There were some minor mistakes, like the fact the order of the dishes recommended by the sommelier was not properly communicated to the kitchen, so we had to send one back. This happened without trouble, though. Other slight imperfection: when I mentioned I didn’t really get the reblochon/pineau pairing, our sommelier was prompt to get defensive. I was just looking for his view on the subject, and the reasons of this choice, but he seemed to get caught off-guard. Once again, nothing really serious. The person that was taking care of us for most of the dinner was consistently good: a young man, apparently passionate about gastronomy, always smiling and who fitted perfectly in the restaurant’s atmosphere.

All in all, Ledoyen might not be the “funniest” restaurant in town, but it’s almost perfect for food-lovers who are more interested by what’s in their plate than what’s happening around it, or for a romantic dinner (maybe even more so with a table near the windows).

Of course, one has to pay for all of this, and Ledoyen sure isn’t cheap: a little bit more than 800 EUR for two. However, half of that went into wines: the two of us drank around fifteen glasses, not including the two glasses of champagne we had at the beginning of the meal. A bottle would have been less expensive, but the pairings probably not as good. Moreover, our glasses were always refilled when finished, with no extra charge of course, so we didn’t feel ripped. Also, let’s not forget that we each had an appetizer, one main course, a half main course, the cheese course and half the “Grand Dessert”… Contrary to what some people say about high-end restaurants, portions are very large here. I believe I have a good appetite, but this was clearly too much food. So I guess it’s possible to have one full (and gargantuan!) meal here with drinks for around 270EUR per person. Still very expensive, of course, but totally worth it in my opinion.

Edited by olivier (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's amazing what The French sometimes do with Italian food.

"The pastas (sic) were cut very precisely at the same size... "spaghetti castles"...spaghettis (sic)." That dish looks not only contrived but also looks vile.

And wasting good mozzarella (I presume good) on a small bit of liquid mozzarella & basil. Liquid mozzerella? What's the matter... mozzarella in it's natural state is not good enough?

It's like when the Italians (foolishly) try to copy the French. They never get it right.

I've said it many times on this site. French cooking is unparalled in so many ways. Two of the ways it's not is when French chefs (try to) make risotto or pasta. Then it's just a very very poor imitation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you order a la carte or the tasting menu of the chefs signature dishes? Can u comment further on the wine tastings. Secondly, I have had superb pasta in French restaurants, especially at Louis XV

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you order a la carte or the tasting menu of the chefs signature dishes? Can u comment further on the wine tastings. Secondly, I have had superb pasta in French restaurants, especially at Louis XV

French chef or Italian making the pasta and saucing it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's amazing what The French sometimes do with Italian food.

"The pastas (sic) were cut very precisely at the same size... "spaghetti castles"...spaghettis (sic)." That dish looks not only contrived but also looks vile.

And wasting good mozzarella (I presume good) on a small bit of liquid mozzarella & basil. Liquid mozzerella? What's the matter... mozzarella in it's natural state is not good enough?

It's like when the Italians (foolishly) try to copy the French. They never get it right.

I've said it many times on this site. French cooking is unparalled in so many ways. Two of the ways it's not is when French chefs (try to) make risotto or pasta. Then it's just a very very poor imitation.

Oops, thanks for pointing out the grammatical mistakes.

Re: mozzarella. It was probably not the best amuse we had that night. I, too, like to have something to chew on a little bit. However, this was perhaps the only thing in the whole meal that seemed to be there for pure "show-off" purposes.

Re: spaghetti dish. Have you tasted it? My description can't do it any justice. I didn't feel this was contrived. Well, the appearance of the dish is, of course, but apart from that nothing in the flavors or the way it's cooked feels contrived. On the contrary, it's a really simple (and excellent) dish, in my opinion.

I don't really have experience with Italian cuisine (I mean, cooked by Italian people in Italy), but in a dozen meals in Rome a few weeks ago, I'm not sure I had better pasta.

Or maybe what you're implying is that such a dish should stay simple in its form and tastes, and not cost 78EUR ? That, I can agree with.

That said, I did not find anything to be pretentious in the way Le Squer cooks, on the contrary. Sure, some of the amuses may look like they're here just to impress, but they just tasted what they ought to, which is OK in my book.

In conclusion, you may have a point generally speaking, but I'm not sure how much your statement applies to Le Squer's cuisine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you order a la carte or the tasting menu of the chefs signature dishes? Can u comment further on the wine tastings. Secondly, I have had superb pasta in French restaurants, especially at Louis XV

French chef or Italian making the pasta and saucing it?

Multiple French Chefs. I have even had wonderful pasta made by American chefs in French Restaurants.;

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you order a la carte or the tasting menu of the chefs signature dishes? Can u comment further on the wine tastings. Secondly, I have had superb pasta in French restaurants, especially at Louis XV

French chef or Italian making the pasta and saucing it?

Multiple French Chefs. I have even had wonderful pasta made by American chefs in French Restaurants.;

I make wonderful pasta at home. I am not Italian.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you order a la carte or the tasting menu of the chefs signature dishes? Can u comment further on the wine tastings. Secondly, I have had superb pasta in French restaurants, especially at Louis XV

French chef or Italian making the pasta and saucing it?

Multiple French Chefs. I have even had wonderful pasta made by American chefs in French Restaurants.;

No kidding. where?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you order a la carte or the tasting menu of the chefs signature dishes? Can u comment further on the wine tastings. Secondly, I have had superb pasta in French restaurants, especially at Louis XV

French chef or Italian making the pasta and saucing it?

Multiple French Chefs. I have even had wonderful pasta made by American chefs in French Restaurants.;

I make wonderful pasta at home. I am not Italian.

How much time have you spent in Italy?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you order a la carte or the tasting menu of the chefs signature dishes? Can u comment further on the wine tastings. Secondly, I have had superb pasta in French restaurants, especially at Louis XV

French chef or Italian making the pasta and saucing it?

Multiple French Chefs. I have even had wonderful pasta made by American chefs in French Restaurants.;

I make wonderful pasta at home. I am not Italian.

How much time have you spent in Italy?

Insignificant. I've visited maybe seven or eight times.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you order a la carte or the tasting menu of the chefs signature dishes? Can u comment further on the wine tastings.

These were a la carte dishes. The tasting menu is the langoustines (which we had), the turbot and the sweetbread + cheese and dessert.

The wine pairings were OK to very good. However, as it's often the case is these kind of restaurants, the wines were not on par with the food. I'm more interested in the food so that's fine by me. If you're really interested, I have the list of what we had.

As the markups are higher on the wines by the glass than for the bottles, this is obviously not the most economical option. When you're only a couple, for the same price, you have to chose between optimizing the pairings with OK wines, or have one bottle of a better wine that won't perfectly go with what you ordered.

Next time, I may chose the latter, with wine pairings with the cheese and no dessert wine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you order a la carte or the tasting menu of the chefs signature dishes? Can u comment further on the wine tastings.

These were a la carte dishes. The tasting menu is the langoustines (which we had), the turbot and the sweetbread + cheese and dessert.

The wine pairings were OK to very good. However, as it's often the case is these kind of restaurants, the wines were not on par with the food. I'm more interested in the food so that's fine by me. If you're really interested, I have the list of what we had.

As the markups are higher on the wines by the glass than for the bottles, this is obviously not the most economical option. When you're only a couple, for the same price, you have to chose between optimizing the pairings with OK wines, or have one bottle of a better wine that won't perfectly go with what you ordered.

Next time, I may chose the latter, with wine pairings with the cheese and no dessert wine.

Thanks. I have had the chefs tasting menu all threetimes, as a single, I have eaten at Ledoyen. The first time with the wine pairings. I am still surprised that I was able to make it back to my hotel after the meal for all the wine I had. I am returning to Ledoyen in June and will probably order a la carte. Any other dishes you would recommend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks. I have had the chefs tasting menu all threetimes, as a single,  I have eaten at Ledoyen. The first time with the wine pairings. I am still surprised that I was able to make it back to my hotel after the meal for all the wine I had. I am returning to Ledoyen in June and will probably order a la carte. Any other dishes you would recommend.

Apparently, even the staff is impressed with people getting the tasting menu with the wines and asking to have the "Grand Dessert Ledoyen" (all 5 desserts)...

I don't know what size the portions are in this menu, but if these are full portions, I think I wouldn't be able to eat much more after the cheese.

As for recommandations, I only went once, so I can't really compare. If I had to go again today, I think I'd still order the langoustines, but you already had those three times...

This will probably exasperate fortedei, but I really loved the spaghetti dish. There won't be truffles in June and it will also be a bit too late for morels, so this may not be on the menu (or they'll replace the mushrooms, like with chanterelles, and then it's a different dish).

Also, there are other restaurants in Paris! Or maybe you're already planning on eating at all the other top places?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks. I have had the chefs tasting menu all threetimes, as a single,  I have eaten at Ledoyen. The first time with the wine pairings. I am still surprised that I was able to make it back to my hotel after the meal for all the wine I had. I am returning to Ledoyen in June and will probably order a la carte. Any other dishes you would recommend.

Apparently, even the staff is impressed with people getting the tasting menu with the wines and asking to have the "Grand Dessert Ledoyen" (all 5 desserts)...

I don't know what size the portions are in this menu, but if these are full portions, I think I wouldn't be able to eat much more after the cheese.

As for recommandations, I only went once, so I can't really compare. If I had to go again today, I think I'd still order the langoustines, but you already had those three times...

This will probably exasperate fortedei, but I really loved the spaghetti dish. There won't be truffles in June and it will also be a bit too late for morels, so this may not be on the menu (or they'll replace the mushrooms, like with chanterelles, and then it's a different dish).

Also, there are other restaurants in Paris! Or maybe you're already planning on eating at all the other top places?

I have eaten multiple times at all the top places in Paris during three prior trips to the city. Now, I like to go twice to the same restaurant during my week in Paris. I also have reservations at Le Bristol, Le Cinq (twice), Arpege, ADPA, Le Meurice, Guy Savoy, and I hope L'Ambrosie. I may try L'ami Jean as well and perhaps ask the concierge to help make one more lunch reservation when I arrive in Paris (either Pierre Gagnaire or L'astrance)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, there are other restaurants in Paris! Or maybe you're already planning on eating at all the other top places?

I have eaten multiple times at all the top places in Paris during three prior trips to the city. Now, I like to go twice to the same restaurant during my week in Paris. I also have reservations at Le Bristol, Le Cinq (twice), Arpege, ADPA, Le Meurice, Guy Savoy, and I hope L'Ambrosie. I may try L'ami Jean as well and perhaps ask the concierge to help make one more lunch reservation when I arrive in Paris (either Pierre Gagnaire or L'astrance)

Oh I see... I don't have that kind of stamina, and would probably feed on herbal tea for a month after a week like this one. I don't have the money either, but that's another problem.

Anyway, I think I'm going a bit off-topic there, sorry.

Edited by olivier (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

For some odd reason, Ledoyen hasn't earned more press among American diners.

Maybe, it was the economy stupid, but the dining room was barely half full when I lunched at Ledoyen last December.

Seven months late, I'm finally getting around to blogging about that meal - the same one that Julien reported about above. So I figured I'd post a synopsis and photo montage here. (You can read the full review at the ulterior epicure.)

I'd like to believe that the real reason Julien had such a good experience was due to the company of my friends and me. But even I'll admit that the food alone was worthy of high praise.

Julien and my friend Hue both ordered the 3-course Menu Dejeuner. I can’t blame them – for 88€, it was a fetching deal.

My friend Houston and I chose to order our three courses à la carte. I focused mainly on the “Specialites.” It didn’t take much cajoling to get Julien to join me in supplementing an additional course; so, Julien and I had four courses each.

3134998274_2a0ccd6e43.jpg

3134994830_ae7e1cb5bd.jpg

Pre Amuses

Beet Macaron

Passion Fruit and Foie Gras Croquants

Herb Croquettes with Liquid Foie Gras

Truffle Gelee Balls

3133586935_bbabcc69d9.jpg

3134969898_460165fa65.jpg

Bread service here is phenomenal. We were presented with an assortment including

mini baguettes, rolls specked with speck, and rounds of brioche coated with sesame.

3132128377_f5cc18d1aa.jpg

My favorite, by far, were the squid ink-prawn rolls. Resembling large lumps of smooth charcoal,

these dusty black rolls tasted somewhat like a Chinese shrimp cracker. The outside shell was

quite flaky. The interior was moist. I want the recipe. Does anyone have it?

3134976606_400986dca7.jpg

Amuse Bouche

Rarely do amuses bouche have staying power. But the Caramelised Onion Purée we had that day was unforgettable. The raisins, which dotted the purée, were barely noticeable, jumping in intermittently only to heighten the sweetness of the smooth, purée caramelized onions. The rosemary ice cream was not sweet at all, but added tremendous depth to the overall flavor.

3132137591_c1ee6d295b.jpg

3132135821_2a6d3d7643.jpg

First Course (u.e.)

Pâté en Croute de Lievre (59€)

It being the season for hare, and hare being a rare treat for me, I could not resist the Pâté en Croute de Lievre. Unfortunately over-salted, the savory tart shell filled with very finely minced hare was otherwise fairly decent. The meat was flavorful and had not a trace of funk or game. The gelée, which crowned the pâté en croute, had a sweet and clean flavor.

3132959054_a8d52e9c6c.jpg

First Course (Houston)

Tartuffi di Alba (135€)

Houston’s Tartuffi di Alba became the talk of the table. But it wasn’t the white truffles, unfortunately, that were getting the attention. The underlying bed of gnocchi “légers” were only gnocchi in shape. Texturally, they were like nubbins of spongy meringues. Julien had a choice descriptor for these gnocchi: “snot.”

Truth be told, that’s not far off; they did have a slimy, mucous-like texture. But I didn’t find the texture of the gnocchi off-putting.

What I found troubling were the white truffle shavings, which had been fanned out to form a canopy over the gnocchi. They were tired and dull, lacking aroma. Also, a surfeit of olive oil overwhelmed the dish, backseating the faint “l’eau de Parmesan” with a fruity, slightly bitter flavor (it was very good olive oil, but there was too much of it).

3132130569_3c456f99da.jpg

First Course (Julien and Hue)

Soufflé d’Oeuf (Menu Dejeuner)

This was, perhaps, the best first course at the table (and the cheapest). This warm, airy meringue dome secreted a runny egg yolk. The entire dish smelled like a truffle patch.

3135001876_6f9aab4935.jpg

Second Course (Julien)

Jambon Blanc (90€)

Julien has aptly described his second course – the “Jambon Blanc” – as a “noodle castle.” Vertically-raised strands of spaghetti fenced in a creamy ham and mushroom filling rife with black truffles. Indeed, the entire “castle” was glazed in a sauce flecked with black truffles and surrounded by a creamy moat. Bold, brash, and rich, this was an exquisite journey into hedonism.

3135608311_3cf749a214.jpg

Second Course (u.e.)

Blanc de Turbot de Ligne (105€)

This ingot of alabaster, striped with black truffle purée, rose above a frothy emulsion on a hillock of roughly mashed “ratte” potatoes with a creamy, truffled dressing (think potato salad – but with a truffle flavor). For me, this dish’s success hinged in the texture of the fish. Le Squer clearly understands the nature of turbot. He cooked the fillet just how I like it: soft and barely set on the outside, leaving the inside opaque, warm, and silky. The waxiness and creaminess of those potatoes underfoot was a wonderful accompaniment. It certainly wasn’t mind-blowing, but it did make me yearn to crawl back in the womb in reverie. Maybe I hit Le Squer on a good day. Or maybe my tastes and expectations derogate from the vast majority of those on this board.

3135006890_05404832d7.jpg

Third Course (Houston)

Grosses Langoustines Brettones (?€)

If these were frozen, as some have claimed, I don't think the meat suffered greatly as a result. I didn't dislike it; I didn't love it either. Very succulent and sweet, but otherwise, unremarkable. Admittedly, I only tasted the tail and not the shredded, phyllo-coated langoustine "pom poms."

3136427378_a3af4e8e96.jpg

Third Course (Julien)

Ris de Veau Rôti aux Salsifis (Menu Dejeuner)

This was a generous round of roasted sweetbreads on a raft of silky salsify. It was surrounded by a creamy truffle sauce. Julien pronounced this dish “perfect,” finding it superior to the version of sweetbreads offered on the à la carte as a “Specialite” (which, having an acidic sauce, I had wanted to try).

3134183139_6d92a0ebd1.jpg

Third Course (Hue)

Gratin de Quenelles de Merlan (Menu Dejeuner)

3134192801_ce68383796.jpg

Third Course (u.e.)

Toasts Brûlés d’Anguille (65 €)

Everyone at the table scrunched their noses when I ordered this dish. It sounded wonderful to me. And, for me, it was wonderful. It looked like a fantastic creature you’d find on the other side of the rabbit hole: strips of eel riding on dark, “burnt” toast benches and wearing velvety, purple capes made of reduced red wine.

Together with the waxy potato squares with horseradish cream, the combination of flavors and textures were intuitively comforting – hearkening the austere and simple pleasure of smoked eel with potatoes and horseradish – yet capricious and fun. It was, by far, my favorite dish of the meal.

3134196015_7e3301e33b.jpg

Le Première Douceur

A coffee gelée pre-dessert that relied solely on a the sweetness from a white chocolate foam. Dark and bitter with the sweetness residing in the creamy element, not in the coffee itself. This dish convinced me that Le Squer operates on my wave length.

This pre-dessert was curiously followed by a round of pre-dessert petits fours.

3134972588_41df2839b3.jpg

Pre-Dessert Petits Fours

Cinnamon Tart

Pistachio Macaron

Coffee Meringue with Coffee Gelee

Ile Flottante

These weren’t particularly memorable, though I do recall fancying the “Ile Flottante” – a fluffy square of meringue on a stick coated with crème anglaise.

***

The pastry chef at Ledoyen has a great taste for flavor, but a penchant for sharp edges.

The shell for the “Tarte Rustique” – a crown of spikes – for example, was too hard to cut, and, quite frankly, too dangerous to eat.

But the filling of meaty apples with a fragrant cider foam on top, was absolutely one of the most exquisite combination of flavors I’ve ever experienced – it was very floral, and yet, ringed in with a semi-circle of green apple coulis, the tart had a sophisticated and intense apple flavor.

3136409152_7933424254.jpg

Dessert (Houston)

Tarte Rustique (29€)

Likewise, my “Croquant de Pamplemousse Cuit et Cru,” the only dessert “Specialite,” had excellent flavor. This stacked structure involved grapefruit sorbet layered with suprêmes of grapefruit, interleaved with sugar glass.

3134198197_3bbbfbd51c.jpg

Dessert (u.e.)

Croquant de Pamplemousse Cuit et Cru (29€)

The base layer of the “croquant” was formed with a thick pavement of some of the best confiture of grapefruit I’ve ever had – thick, soft, smooth, and delightfully sweet. Sweet, bitter, and sour, it was perfect. Based on this wonderful composition of flavors alone, this dish was certainly deserving of being named a house “specialty.”

But the crisp parts of the “croquant” – those sheets of sugar glass – taken at the wrong angle, doubled as razors in the mouth. I don’t see how this dish could be done with puff pastry (the grapefruit sorbet would make the pastry soggy).

3134200387_85e89fa1ae.jpg

Dessert (Julien and Hue)

Soufflé Chaud Passion et Ananas (Menu Dejeuner)

From the Menu Dejeuner, the “Soufflé chaud Passion et Ananas” presented a scoop of soufflé nestled between two wedges of sweet, warm pineapple. Passion fruit sauce radiated out from the center like rays of a sun. Together, it was a warm and wonderful trip to the tropics.

A Breton, Chef Le Squer ended our meal with Kouign Amann. Le Squer’s version was atypical in its form, but captured the spirit of the pastry. The cakes were accompanied by caramelized peanuts and caramel squares.

3136421628_b6b8937348.jpg

Kouign Amann and Caramelized Peanuts

3136411648_e57ed94d36.jpg

Caramels

What makes Ledoyen great is not its service. It was friendly, but not particularly indulgent. I didn’t mind. What we did mind was being charged for four bottles of sparkling water that we neither ordered nor were solicited. At 6€ apiece, it was more a point of principal than pettiness.

And Ledoyen certainly cannot be accused of coddling with creature comforts. I wouldn’t characterize the restaurant as ugly or uncomfortable by any means. But it could use a polish.

Ledoyen is great because of Le Squer’s sensibilities. The food isn’t particularly creative or innovative. But the presentations were engaging, the execution exact, and the flavors were soul-satisfying.

Le Squer does not fuss or primp. You won’t find him weaving nuances or constructing dainty jewel boxes like his peer chefs. Though whimsical to behold, eyes closed, his brand of cooking strikes with a heavy dose of normalcy and familiarity.

Food aside, I found Chef Le Squer quite charming. He joined us for a brief chat after our lunch. Every bit of the mischief and curiosity displayed in his dishes was evident in his boyish spirit.

At the close of my trip to France, whilst waiting to board my flight at CDG, I thumbed an email to a few friends entitled “Rankings are highly subjective…” Based solely on the food, I ranked Ledoyen at the top. Though the others have been shuffled around since, nearly a half a year later, Ledoyen has not moved moved from its position.

My experience at Ledoyen didn’t alter my perspective and challenge me the way my meal at l’Arpege did. Nor did it capture my imagination and haunt me the way l’Ambroisie has.

But the food at Ledoyen pleased me the most. It was well-executed, delicious, and injected with a sense of childhood adventure and imagination.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 9 months later...

Actually, I still have plenty restaurants to report from my US trip last summer. However, since the US fine dining places are not that interesting (it’s coming, but a bit slow) and only a few of them are memorable – I choose to summarize my winter visit to Paris early this year. Let’s start with Ledoyen, at least for this month

Food (and wine) - 97/100

This is my 2nd visit to the Paris historical and famous institution (the first one was in ’07). 3 years ago, I savored Christian Le Squer’s classical dishes such as langoustine with citrus lemon, turbo with truffle and sweet bread. This time I choose to go for the a la carte; not only did not disappoint, my experience is even better than the 1st visit. I will skip the amuse, bread, and petit four parts (you can read them in my blog below) and go directly to the real deal

- I started with Brittany sea urchin prepared hot (with cauliflower cream) and cold (with avocado mousse). The urchin is of high quality though not as sweet as the Hokkaido’s uni; nevertheless more superior to the one from Santa Barbara – good dish

- Though I’m a big fan of French cuisine, I’m not to keen on foie gras or escargot. But, I love sea food, especially shell fishes … here come the second dish: a firm and delicious Breton lobster served with pistachio ice cream (looks like an odd combination, but it works). Don’t imagine the usual pistachio ice cream, it focus more on the natural taste – a bit salty & somehow not very ‘nutty’. There’s also special sauce of lobster juice, yellow wine and hazelnut oil – a pleasure in the palate

- Half-portion of sublime scallop served in its shell – barely steamed and in good texture (but not as sweet as the one at Arpege or Ambroisie). The secondary elements are great though: a mixture of salsify, tomato, turnip and some slices of black truffle; a pleasure to the nose and mouth

- The exquisite hedonism is not over yet, one more to go. The classic and beautiful spaghetti box (or some called it castle). This is probably one of the most stunning dish presentations in the world; the pasta is meticulously arranged with high precision. More importantly it’s divine – delectable white ham and mushroom with powerful yet balanced truffle and parmesan cream sauce. I think it’s worth the price tag … I couldn’t remember any Italian restaurants preparing better pasta/spaghetti than this one. Bravo!

I was greedy this time and ordered their 5 desserts altogether (2 of them I tasted before). Ledoyen is famous for its grape fruit ‘millefeuille’ (crunchy and fresh), but my fav. dessert is the timeless yeast ice cream/almond/white chocolate – so light and creamy, sweet and not overbearing. The Norwegian omelette is very complex (a bit too rich for me); somehow I enjoyed the watery lychee sorbet and meringue. It ended with choc./praline biscuit and banana sorbet, only ok. I enjoyed my champagne Deutz ’99 and ’07 Meursault accompanying my main course. I also had a lovely dessert wine – ’08 Ruster Eiswein (fruit based but not too sweet); I hardly go all out for wine – prefer to spend more for food :)

I thought Christian Le Squer is an amazing chef – for somebody at his caliber, the cooking still evolves and keeps getting better. Top notch ingredients, bring out the products’ natural and optimum flavor; innovative yet still stay true to the classic and rigorous French cuisine. I have no issue to give Ledoyen 97/100 (a 3* by Michelin standard) for its food. Yup, it’s that good though I still miss some of its popular dishes such as: Bresse chicken with rape de truffe or feuillete brioche with black truffle (the restaurant can easily sell 15 of these daily) – I could not eat heavy truffle anymore at that time after eating Pacaud’s truffle bel humeur 6 hours earlier

Service (and ambiance) - 95/100

Ledoyen is another example of uniquely Paris restaurants. The place itself is historically rich – dated back to the late 18th century. The dining room or more like salon is both romantic and nostalgic; the big window facing greeneries and located not too far from Petit Palais and yet far from any noise coming from the famous Champs Elysses. The service is very pleasant, and never intrusive. If you want to talk more, the staffs would be more than happy to entertain otherwise they will be professional and never forget to smiles. The young and new Flemish (from Belgium) captain served my table was really good – kind, energetic and very passionate about food. He’s also accommodative and easy going. I also saw my previous captain – more senior and just too relaxed this time (maybe since fewer than 20 people dine there tonight). Patrick Simiand, the restaurant manager, was also approachable and open to talk about many things. He brought me to other salons at Ledoyen – at that they have Japanese modern art promotions, so the restaurant sometimes serving special menu (Japanese/French cuisine) for the events. They did that as well for Russian’s arts

Overall, my visit at Ledoyen this time receives 96.5 pts, 1 pt improvement from 3 years ago. It ranked among a ‘convincing’ 3-star places in Paris; a true place of haute cuisine. Chef Le Squer takes it very seriously what’s served in the plates, it can be seen that his cuisine has been ‘perfected’ for 1-2 decades and still counting. It doesn’t come cheap, but the portion here is generous – you will not leave hungry for sure

Please visit here for a more comprehensive review – Ledoyen Winter '10

Pictures only - ledoyen pictures - winter season

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You said: "The classic and beautiful spaghetti box (or some called it castle). This is probably one of the most stunning dish presentations in the world; the pasta is meticulously arranged with high precision. More importantly it’s divine – delectable white ham and mushroom with powerful yet balanced truffle and parmesan cream sauce. I think it’s worth the price tag … I couldn’t remember any Italian restaurants preparing better pasta/spaghetti than this one. Bravo! "

The reason you couldn't remember any Italian restaurants preparing better pasta, is that this is not an Italian dish and any Italian restaurant worth its salt would never do something like this. Italians eat pasta, they don't play with it.

As I've said many times here before, the French, in my mind, are the best chefs in the world, but they (in general) don't know how to cook, nor sauce, pasta and the same is true for risotto. Never eat pasta or risotto in France.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm actually the best risotto (focusing only on the rice) I've ever tried is at

Calandre (here) and L'Arpege (here), followed by Cracco's milanese style

For pasta, I like Passard's celeriac tagliatelle (not sure if it counts) or herbs' pasta in Le Louis XV. The best one in Italy that I've tasted ... perhaps La Pergola's fagottelli - (very) good but not wow

Actually, I've been searching for great pasta in Italy, so far nothing really impressed me sadly: from Florence (la giostra, il latini) to Venice (Osteria alle Testiere, Trattoria da Fiore); from Rome (il convivio) to Milan (Da Giacomo). I forgot other restaurants ...

Any enlightenment where I should go? A few Italian restaurants in Singapore or in US' Little Italy are actually not that bad, but not on the level the ones mentioned above

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The best pasta, not necessarily the best restaurant, is Bruna Santini's at Dal Pescatore. No one, for us, makes stuffed pasta the way she does. No one. There is no number two.

Third place would be Walter Ferretto's plin at Cascinalenuovo in Isola D'Asti, but it is a distant third. Great pasta and filling that is out of this world (think of the dish finanziera, and then grind the meats for the stuffing; incredibly rich flavor, with featherlike pasta)

Up until a few years ago, Romano Tomani at Ambasciata in Quistello made, in our mind, the best pasta, both stuffed and non stuffed. The master was at work. Unfortunately, the restaurant is now outrageously, and I really mean outrageously, expensive.

Il Latini and the others are sad.

I've had Carlo Cracco's risotto many times, outside of Alba, not at Peck. Eh! Try Luciano Zazzeri's risotto di mare at La Pineta in Marina di Bibbona, made from scratch as it should be, not pre cooked for 12 minutes and laid on a sheet as almost all restaurant risottis are made today, in other than small places.

No restaurant in Italy, worth its salt, would ever serve celeriac or herb pasta. Only the French would do it.

Edited by fortedei (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...
  • 2 months later...

Event: Lunch at Restaurant Ledoyen, Paris

Full text and photo review: http://michelinstarfinedinings.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/ledoyen-paris/

When: March 24th 2011, 12:30

Overall Food rating: 8/10

Service: 10/10

The meal:

Tartare de dorade à la tahitienne: great ingredient as expected (the fish was of superb freshness, same could be said of the thin slices of scallops disposed atop the tartare ), perfect balance in taste and seasonings. A good tartare, but at this level, I need this tartare to shine a bit more in creativity or at least with surprising flavors. The apple-lemon gelée underneath was nice, but kept the tartare in a ‘pedestrian’ registry. 7.5 /10

-Jardins de légumes vert à l’émulsion de radis – peas (superb quality), green beans (good quality), onions, dried tomatoes in a radish emulsion. Cute like a bug, that dish…enjoyable too…but not a dish that I am expecting at this level of cuisine neither. Do not get me wrong: I am not expecting fireworks here. Just a touch of next-level daring-ness may it be in the taste or overall gustatory enjoyment of the course. Good 7/10

-Sole de petite cotière étuvée de petit pois – The sole was superbly presented in the shape of a tube. Enjoyable taste, perfect moist consistency of the flesh. Indeed, some great cooking technical mastery in there. The green rolls were filled with a cream of peas and the truffle sauce retained a remarquable ‘smokey’ flavor that I enjoyed a lot. Well done. 8/10

-Grosses langoustines Bretonnes, émulsion d’agrumes: The citrus fruit emulsion, emulsified with the usual olive oil, which basically turned out to be a citrus/olive oil based mayonnaise was certainly well executed (it was somehow light enough to not overwhelm the lobster meat and added a pleasant dimension to its enjoyment) …but as far as in-mouth enjoyment goes, it was suprisingly discrete (where is the punch?). still fine enough (the lobster’s meat was nicely cooked + the effort and idea they did put in the kadaif deserve a bonus point) for me to rate it with a 7.5 over 10

-Toasts Brules d’Anguille: A 10 over 10 for the creativity, the idea, the fun execution. An 8 over 10 for its gustatory amazement (It was more cuter than tastier, but tasty enough to be considered as a good / to very good creation). fyi: What you see on the side is a cube of potato filled with “creme de raifort” (just ok)

The dessert was the strongest item of this meal (Fraise “guariguette” parfumées coriandre/hibiscus)

Restaurant Ledoyen, Paris - Fraises Guariguette Menu dejeuner (March 24th 2011).jpg

Restaurant Ledoyen, Paris - Grosses langoustines bretonnes, Menu dejeuner (March 24th 2011).jpg

Restaurant Ledoyen, Paris - Jardins de légumes à l\

Restaurant Ledoyen, Paris - Mignardises, Menu dejeuner (March 24th 2011).jpg

Restaurant Ledoyen, Paris - Sole de petite cotière étuvée de petit pois, Menu dejeuner (March 24th 2011).jpg

Restaurant Ledoyen, Paris - Tartare de dorade a la tahitienne, Menu dejeuner (March 24th 2011).jpg

Restaurant Ledoyen, Paris - Toast brulé d\

LEDOYEN(1).jpg

Restaurant Ledoyen, Paris (1).jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...