Sunday, September 27, 2009


Can't miss the beautiful deco of L'Ambroisie. It is tastefully arranged with just the right amount of luxury. Service is attentive. Great recipe with multiple ingredients working well together. Unfortunately, we had a couple small incidents. 
Milton were fussy and could not seat still, chair is a bit small for his 200 lb build.  I had my attention on the wine list, good variety of low-price-range burgundy, 3 bottles of DRC, and only Leroy in our usual mid-end.  Sommelier recommended us a good bottle of 91 Flaveley. That solved our problem.  Later, we found out L'Ambroisie use the small wine glasses used in wine bar, smaller than Chablis glass.  That was very disturbing.  We soon got over all the complains as soon as the courses served.  
Cuisine is well designed: beautiful presentation to capture our attention, ingredient combination show off the harmony of flavors and texture.

All other vintage of Leflaive were sold out. We left with this bottle of 2002.

Nose of oak and basil. chewy, silky texture. perfume came out after 1st course.  it could be because the bottle was chiled on ice and L'Ambroisie only has small wine glass

Amuse Bouche
Chicken w/ mirabelle plum

Boneless chicken wings and chicken breast roll w/ basil, thym, mint.  Mirabelle is a bit sweet.  Apricot will work much better for me.

Focaccia de rougets de roche en capponata, coulis de poivrons doux
mullet, roasted capponata (zucchini, eggplant, red pepper), sweet pepper coulis

Feuillantine de langoustines aux graines de sesame, sauce curry

Langoustines was medium rare with texture like Amaebi.  The amount of curry coconut flavor is just right.

Foie gras de canard landais en croute de poivre gris, chutney de cerises noires

Foie gras terrine is the best I have ever tasted.  Pepper crust gave it a great flavor.  I enjoyed the perfect texture of foie gras by having it alone, avoiding ruining it with toast.  I can still feel the soft smooth texture on my tongue.  Wish the black cherry chutney is a bit sour.

After three wonderful dishes, Ben could not hold his headache and stomach problem. He took a long break.  I noticed waiters are anxious waiting for his return.  They attentively offered Ben aspirin when he returned and asked him to rest a bit without rushing the second course.  I thought the kitchen would chuck all the 2nd courses because the dishes will be kept warm for too long, like Hell's Kitchen TV show.  No, I was wrong.

Escalopines de bar aux frivolites de courgettes, nage reduite au caviar oscietre gold

Sea bass swimming in Oscietra Gold caviar.  The salty caviar works well with sea bass.  Thank god that sea bass can tolerate overcooking.

Fricassee de homard aux pousses de legumes, emulsion a la noix de coco

Lobster in its own jus with mango, sweet pea, mushroom. Wonderful flavor. The sabayon foam was intoxicating, light, and refreshing with cleansing power. Unfortunately, lobster is tough and rubbery.

Viennoise de dos de sole au parmesan, fondue de roquette aux oignons confits

The flavor is excellent.  Choice of herb is amazing.  Herb tasted like Chinese herb 香椿 (young leave of Toona sinensis) is great with Sole.  The texture of sole is powdery due to over heating, bacon is not crisp anymore.

Mushroom on the side is dry roasted to enhanced its flavor.

Red current, upfront and smoky

Volaille de Bresse rotie au beurre d'herbes, salade de girolles et cougettes

Kitchen only serve breast.  It took Milton a long time to explained "I want my dark meat".  

Bresse chicken in its own jus, the way I like it.  Skin is thin and crispy, beautifully done. 

I did not get a taste of Milton's plate, sign of a good chicken.

Broiche en pain perdu, abricots rotis aux amandes fraiches

Brioche, off course.  After having the perfect brioche 10 years ago at Oak Room Marco Pierre White, London, I have been constantly searching for perfect brioche.  So far, the closest thing I got is my home made brioche with eight sticks of butter.  I was anxiously waiting for brioche from Bernard Pacaud, the perfectionist.  "Must be better", I crossed my fingers.  Yes!  Soft, airy, and buttery inside with thin perfect crispy crust.

Peches blanches pochees au cassis, creme glacee a la verveine

Missed the lemongrass ice cream again.  Need better training, more dinning.

I have mixed feelings about L'Ambroisie.  Well designed recipies, harmony of multiple ingridients, and attentive staffs.  But the kitchen only execute perfectly when guests match with their tempo.  I still can not decide whether I will go back again.


  1. Thanks for your review.
    This is (along with Ledoyen) the only Parisian 3* I haven't visited yet. Planning to visit it around Oct (so, I believe that their offerings will be close to yours since you went there in Nov. From what I gathered, I am not surprised when you wrote 'But the kitchen only execute perfectly when guests match with their tempo" and am thanking you for your honest output. L'Ambroisie does not sound like my ideal 3* Michelin dining experience. Still, I will give them a try especially because Pacaud seems to be one of the last few who is cooking in a traditional way at this level (Went already to Bocuse, Lameloise, etc). I'll see. My questions to you:
    (1)If I am alone, do you know if I can have dishes like the ''Escalopines de bar'' in half portion (if I am not mistaken, you were with other people. Did you notice if those who took this dish were able to sample it in half portion?)
    (2)The wine: I am a bit torn here. When I enjoy top French classic food, I need wine all along. But if this will triple my bill, why bother? Would you know if I can get away with a nice wine --- for ie a nice Meursault -- in its half bottle version. If Yes, any approx idea of what it would cost?
    Again, thanks for your help. I did a lot of search on L'Ambroisie and somehow your review is the one that sounded the most realistic. Thanks

    1. sorry for the very late reply. I saw you had a great meal there. It is still the most expensive table I know, Paris price. I am very excited with how San Francisco chefs have done in recent years. Saison and Benu are two of my fav with totally different style.