Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Disappointing Dinner at Le Doyen

Sarah and Chef D.

Not so Fat Tuesday. I don't even know where to begin for our last class dinner at the three Michelin starred Le Doyen, located in a beautiful old building next to the Petit Palais off the Champs Elysees, but I will start at the so-called "Open Bar."  The bartender poured my glass of champagne perfectly and handed it to me on a little gold platter, and I was thinking, this is going to be an extraordinary dinner.  Smoked salmon on toast and a fois gras cube graced the table, I likedthe salmon, but didn't try the fois gras, since it had a weird looking jelly on top, and I prefer warm fois gras, so it melts on my tongue, and doesn't coat my mouth with what feels like cold grease.  After my first glass, the bartender informed us that we could have other drinks, but the champagne was finished, after only a 30 minute cocktail 'hour.'

Next the Mise en Bouche – certainly not amusing – since I tasted two bites and didn't bother with the rest - curdled mushroom cream over a meat (veal?) jello with a foam of something tasteless. Eww. Next the marinated scallops with another foam and yuzu cream. This might have been better if it had been served at room temperature, but the yuzu cream was frozen to the bowl, so I had to scrape it off the bottom.

I understand that restaurants do not always pay that much attention to large parties, there were probably 60 of us in the room, Superior Cuisine and Pastry join together for the class dinner, and our two chefs – Chef D for pastry (but of course) and Chef C for cuisine. The food is prepared in advance so the dishes arrive at the same time, but that doesn't excuse cold food. The main course of chicken breast with truffles (or plain black mushrooms by taste) on smoked rice was perfectly cooked, nicely seasoned but barely warm. I ate almost all of it, since I hadn't eaten more than two bites of the other courses. Pre-dessert came – another foamy dish of granny smith apple sorbet and mushy cooked apples underneath. It was an odd combination of tastes and textures. I was hoping for a great dessert, but the chocolate tartelette with orange caramel and nut-flavored ice cream was good but boring. I think people enjoyed the petits fours (tiny tarts, raspberry macaron, and financiers) more than the rest of the meal.

We were supposed to have different wines paired with each course, like we did for our class dinner for Intermediate, but the same Bordeaux was served throughout the meal. The service was mostly attentive, but my wine glass was empty for the main course, and I had to drink water (tragedy).  I think the entirely beige and brown meal just wasn't up to my expectations of a three-star restaurant, and the fabulous setting increased my hopes of a devastatingly delicious meal.  I also don't get the fascination with adding foams to almost every course.  I highly recommend Le Petit Bordelais for a special dinner in Paris.  See my post here.

I had a nice chat with Chef D, his English is very good, he told me about working in New York and Los Angeles for a while in the 80s. And he might be able to help me out with an internship in Washington with some of his contacts. He made fun of my neighborhood, telling me that French people don't live there.  So I am the only blonde in Barbes?  And the only one not cheering for Algeria in the football games?  I like my market, the proximity to Tati, my bakery (for one more day) and my daily viewing of the cute policemen patrolling the metro.

1 comment:

  1. Where did you first have fois gras?


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