Friday, September 11, 2009

Alain Ducasse

Really miss Alain Ducasse's hearty perfect hearty dishes since Sylvain Portay left Ritz Carlton SF in 2004 to join Alain Ducasse's Mix in Las Vagas. Since then, I have not been successful searching a cuisine that can satisfy my stomach. Milton wants to try something new and had reservations at 3 other Michelin 3-star restaurants this trip. I could not get Milton to come to Alain Ducasse until I showed him reviews of Jay Rayner's "the Man Who Ate the World" and traded Ledoyen for it.

Among the three of us, we had the whole seasonal menu by ordering 3 entrees each. Same way we had in L'Arpege and later at L'Ambroisie.

Salted Normandy butter & non-salted butter. Normandy butter, seems like Ducasse's favorite butter. Milton made me tell Ben my Normandy butter story: "a perfect place and time" with Normandy butter in front of us at Alain Ducasse.
For years, I believed Normandy butter is naturally salted because Christoph, another chef worked under Alain Ducasse, told me Normandy grass has salt from the ocean breeze when he serve me Normandy butter at his Osaka apartment. "Thus, butter from Normandy cows does not need salt added to it." Christoph said. I did not know Christoph was pulling my leg until Sylvain laughing at my story years later.

Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche
Amuse Bouche

Funny Sommelier wanted me to take a picture of him. Sure why not. Later, he took the labels from the wine bottles and let me take home as souvenir alone with today's menu.

1999 Chevalier-Montrachet, Bouchard P'ere & Fils. an amazing wine with a lot of characters.
Nose of mint and herb, syrupy texture that you expect from a much sweeter wine but the wine has not such character. It is crisp and high acidity with > 15 sec length, very strange combination. It is like tasting 3 different kinds of wine.

A perfect wine for all the following dishes in totally different characters.

Amuse Bouche

Frog leg w/ green chili, spinach herb

water to clean our greasy fringers

fig, green apple, red apple, zucchini, endive
a beautiful salad but a lot of hands touched my salad... flavor is expected. nothing close to L'Arpege's

Pate en croute selon Lucien Tendret
recipe since 1892
A great recipe indeed. Cursty pastry, truffle, foie gras, ham, and rabbit
Pate mi-s'echees cremees, cretes et rognons de coq
lobster, rooster's crest and kidneys, truffle
Chef replace our order of spider crab with this surprise. Rooster's crest, I spotted in Milton's plate. Neither Ben more Milton believe that was possible. "Mushroom" Milton said till he tasted it. A soft fatty texture like stewed beef tendon. We all tried it once and once is enough.

Turbot de bretagne, mariniere de coquillages, suc herbace
turbot from Brittany,shellfish, wrapped in fig leaves
Butter smell is so strong that I can't sense the fig leaves.

Sole de petit bateau, vert et blanc de blette a la grenobloise
Sole with green and white chard

Bar de ligne, condiment d'une diable, sauce Choron

Sommilier recommended 1993 Leroy Saint-Aubin instead of the 1993 Echezeaux DRC I wanted because 1993 Leroy is ready to drink.

Upfront green fruit, a good wine.

Cotes et selle d'agneau au sautoir, c'ebettes et artichauts aux aromates

Pigeonnequ de la ferme de Racan, cerises de Montmorency

Tendron de veau glac'e a la florentine, mousserons des pr'es
Alain Ducasse's portion is way too big. We never had problem with three entrees each until now. Each of us has one bit of lamb, pigeon, and veal. Love them and regret that we did not pack them back to hotel.

Alain Ducasse never disappointed us. There were so many regretes in this meal. Passed on 1993 Echezaux DRC, barely touched three of the entrees, and still have not tried Bresse chicken. In the next two days, I kept trying to get Milton and Ben to come back to Alain Ducasse for lunch or dinner. Not successful. No proper lunches or dinners for the next two days, and constantly thinking about the dishes I missed. They were starving me.

Better Macarons than L'Arpege. For a coffee addict, anything with coffee flavor is great. But I can only have a tiny bite... way too full.

Statues with heads of spoon and fork in front of the restaurant entrance, a interesting choice....

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