March 27, 2012

Le Grand Vefour

Well here it is. The frenchiest of the french. The most french meal I have ever had in my life. Final verdict? Still somewhat ambivalent. I can never say no or not experience fine dining but I might opt for something other than foie gras the next time around...

Le Grand Vefour is one of the oldest dining institutions in France frequented back in the day by Louis VIX, Napoleon, Victor Hugo, Jean Paul Sartre, Julia Child and more. V. cleverly reserved us the table of Napoleon which was quite a treat :) 

Everything in the dining room was impeccable down to the tiny silver trays the butter was served in (see below): in both salted and unsalted version! Our waiters, dressed in black suits with bow ties reminded me penguins (yup, I'm so mature). 

+ A very frenchie menu (no there was no English version....shouldn't have asked haha)
+ Amuse Bouche of Oyster
+ French Baguette
+ Yummy yummy butter
After traversing the crowds of the Lourve for an entire morning, we were STARVING and quickly devoured all of the crusty bread (with lots of butter) before the arrival of first course. Terrible mistake. Who knew that 3 courses also meant an additional cheese tasting, various petit fours (not including dessert) and a wide array gastronomical candies? 

And then there was the foie gras. 

+ Fish tar tar with salad
+ Foie Gras with citrus fruits and jelly

The last time I ate foie gras I was 10 and clearly not old enough to enjoy the complex textures and taste of such a cornerstone of French cuisine. So I went for it. But no, I was definitely not expecting the two massive pieces of foie gras that was placed before me.

But I ate it all. With the help of 2 more pieces of bread and lot of salt sprinkled on top. Ok, so I probably will never order a dish like this again in my life but if there hadn't been that much foie gras, I probably really would have enjoyed it!

The fish tar tar was light and matched quite well with its accompanying eclectic salad. Although V was not a fan. haha.

+ Duck with berry sauce
+ Side of roasted vegetables
+ Side of mashed potatoes
So the appetizers threw us for a loop but the French sure know how to make a good duck. The fruit compote and berry sauce matched with the duck perfectly. I've never been a fan of fruit combined with my meat but this managed to work. The side dishes were flavored with herbs unfamilar to the both of us but look at those cute plates they are served on. :)

+ Monk fish over risotto with a big black ball of something on top..
 I also never really order fish either because I love the way my mom makes fish and fish (in my own opinion) is one of the things that's kind of difficult to mess up...although also difficult to cook very well. Needless to say, this was nice and tender and almost reminded me crab meat (yum).  I'm not really sure what the black thing on top was but it was hollow and the inside tasted similar to crab roe or uni. 

The famed cheese charriot. 
2 cheese selections
Mine (above) included mostly soft (nonpungent) cheeses)
V's (below) includes a very light goat cheese and those made with French products
I have no recollection of the cheeses we ate. Nor did I realize that it is customary to eat cheese after a main course to cleanse the palate. Our favorites was a very soft cheese (above picture, third one from the left) and a semi-hard cheese (bottom, last one in the front). Although we asked for the names again, they escaped me as soon as we left the restaurant.

+ French coffee cake
+ Fruit jelly and foam
+ Collection of Petit fours (chocolate tart, macaron, citrus donut, lemon tart)
+ Grape and orange candies
Strangely, my favorite of the petit fours was the mini donut covered in an orange flavored icing. V loveddd the fruit jelly covered in rock candy but it was just a little too gastronomical for me. 

+ Pear dessert encased in sugar
+ Chocolate mousse with chocolate cigar and movenpick ice cream 
We barely managed to consume a few bites of the actual desserts as we were stuffed to the brim by this point. Sad since I never turn down dessert but in this situation, a few bites was pretty impressive considering the amount of food we had already consumed.

All in all, it was quite the dining experience and easily one of the most memorable. Although the appetizers were a bit too interesting for us, the main dishes were prepared perfectly and all of the mini desserts were all spectacular.  And a large quantity of well cooked food always makes me a happy camper :) Eating at such an established institution is probably up there with Lourve and the Eiffel Tower for me. A thousand praises to V for planning such an amazing meal and cheers to Le Grand Vefour for all of the history that has passed through its doors.

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