Snow on that december day, fancy tree in the Four Seasons courtyard
Accras de crevettes et calamar -- even lighter and better than in my Les Elysées memories
Amuses -- mushroom-filled soufflé/brioche, marinated mushrooms, pumpkin/sorrel soup. I found the little brioche until I tried to squeeze it on my palate with my tongue. Try.
Amuse of sardine --top quality-- and fruits. The whole thing I found hard to balance.
Minestrone aux langoustines, palette de Bellota, parmesan, crème de Parmesan
Quasi de veau rôti, gratin de macaronis au vieux comté
"Légumes d'un jardin d'Ille-de-France"
With their toasts
Légumes d'un jardin d'Ile de France, on gelée
This ormeau with granny smith/wasabi mousse under, sorrel sauce on top
Ormeau on Japanese squash
Perfect cooking of ormeau. I say ormeau rather than abalone because they're wild, very chewy, not even beaten to make them tender. I love those very meaty shellfishes, but they're not to everyone's taste.
Speaking of which, they can be eaten raw too, mixed with raw scallops and seaweed. Sweet and iodized tastes explodes when you crunch these finely chopped cubes (the big ones are scallops, the smaller ones ormeaux)
Climax of the ormeau dish, this hen stock heavily gingered flavour with bits of ormeau inside. This is delicious at first, but then it is pure witchcraft: once you've eaten some of the ormeau, the taste of the stock changes fundamentally. Wow.
Mousse de laitue, araignée de mer, écume aux algues. Avec des amandes crues et entières dedans aussi.
Chair de tourteau, pétales de Daikon marinés au miel, vinaigrette à la truffe (invisible on the side: gelée de crustacés et de vin jaune, crème de fenouil, in a cocktail glass)
The new version. Forgot to ask what it was.
There is again a sophisticated interaction between the crab dish and this gelée de vin jaune served on the side, with a lobster cream on top, even a lobster claw sometimes. The way each one tastes is changed by eating the other before.
Pigeonneau -- pitch perfect, wonderful
Foie gras au poivre de Sawarmak, figue -- a game on textures with a textbook perfect foie gras, and also a good pairing with an Aleatico Passito, domaine Di San Marzano. As with the lamb coming next, Briffard's jus are the sign of a truly great chef. I can count on the fingers of one hand the chef I met you serve such wonderful juices.
L'épeaule d'agneau de Lozère. Jus d'agneau that is a proof that God exists. Watermelon and fresh almond in the corner.
Some lamb sidedishes
Lamb side vegetables
Foie gras grillé, anguille fumée croustillante, lentilles, crème de lentilles, noix
An extraordinary alliance of tastes and textures. And after all, just a lentil soup...
Epaule de lièvre confite, chanterelles, ravioles de foie gras, lardons sur le dessus
Quasi de veau et blanquette de joue de veau
Ris de veau à la réglisse et aux marrons, blanquette de joue de veau, on a special plate. With some black disgusting stuff on top of it.
Blanquette de joue de veau, détail
Pithiviers de gibier à plume
Caillé de brebis au poivre sawarmak, huile d'olive des Baux de Provence à la vanille, agrume confit
Assiette de sorbet. Just perfect. The strawberries, Briffard told us, are nothing like they were two weeks ago.
Mousse au chocolat (naaah, just kidding) -- pre-dessert before that was a crême brulée, pomme au four, granité de pomme.
Le baba au rhum
Succès de noisette du Piémont: hazelnut, nougatine, meringue, vanilla ice cream and cream
La galette des rois
Sorrel brioche, marinated mushrooms and raisins, pumpkin soup
This is Le Cinq, now, not les Elysées anymore. In the Four Seasons hotel -- extreme luxury.
Le pithiviers de canard col vert et grouse au miel, légumes et fruits d'automne, jus pressé à l'Armagnac. Avec un Chateauneuf du pape 2005 de Charvin.
Granité de litchee
April 09: an excellent meal with a distinct return to Briffard's basics. The most interesting thing is that the meal was great without Briffard in the house, suggesting that maybe he got a new souschef or anyway got that kitchen to work well
This foie gras cru is reminiscent of the tranche d'aubergine potagère -- it's a glorious salad of vegetable and fruits with raw foie gras as seasoning. A typical Briffard dish in that a simple unity is created with a ridiculously high number of ingredients
The whiting was a sidekick in this wonderful dish of fava beans, here on spinach and potatoes cooked in seaweed butter, and in the background in an extraordinary gelée
Seriously: feuilleté de pigonneau. This dish should come with a warning, something like “not for pussies” or “caution, course is intense”
One that is NOT getting better is the pastry chef, still serving pointless academic oversugared desserts like this “gaufrette de muscovado”. I'll get cheese next time.
Blinis, eel, horseradish
Razor clams cooked in seaweed butter, ginger, young spinach
Chair de tourteau marinée
Gelée de vin jaune, caviar (side of crab)
Langoustine, from the marinière de coquillages aux Fettucine
Coquille Saint Jacques, choufleur, endives caramélisées au jus d'orange
Cervelle de veau, légumes
Tête de veau, oeuf frit, sauce tortue
Pithivier de gibier à plumes, jus pressé à l'armagnac, fruits d'automne
Fried smelts, tempura-style. Wonderfully crisp and fresh -- still moist inside, quite addictive
Bordier's seaweed butter
Amuses -- can't remember in detail, but extremely awesome -- a fried ricotta ravioli, a brilliant green pea soup, and a delicious octopus
Fresh salmon, mostarda di cremona, granny/wasabi
Asparagus, truffle, gnocchi
Asparagus, caviar, Matcha tea sheep cheese sorbet
The truffle tourt is overthere in the distance
Truffle tourt: cabbage, foie gras, truffle, in brilliant puff pastry, with veggies and lettuce. As often with Briffard's truffle, it's delicious but underwhelming, the truffle being not very present in itself, but mostly a way to make vegetables taste better but not different
Cote de veau de corrèze. Perfect cooking of very good veal, and as usual a perfect and intense juice (not on the picture). Correze veal has more character than your usual milk-fed calf, and it has a rougher texture than the silky Aubrac can have.
This one was life-changing: Poularde de bresse au pot, sauce truffe. God knows I've been looking for perfect (chicken) breast in my life, but this was it: melty, not a hint of dryness
There's a second serving of the thigh in a strong broth --- good but less remarkable (no pic, sometimes I just eat)
The lovely lamb shoulder -- always works, but probably not much of a fine dining course
They haven't changed the pastry chef yet. Now he has choco rice crispies in his rice pudding... Desserts title look good, but they still suck. Please join the group "I'm not ordering desserts at Le Cinq as long as Briffard doesn't have a say in pastry"