Six months ago, Frank surprised me with reservations at Joel Robuchon. I was shocked and the experience was unforgettable. I felt like Cinderella. I never imagined we'd return so soon, but he planned another dinner for us, this time, another couple joined us. I slipped on my glass slippers and eagerly awaited the night to unfold. Anticipation was high leading up to our 6:30 dinner reservation. It felt like Christmas, did Santa come? Huh? Huh? Santa didn't appear, but his elves were whipping up special treats in the kitchen. There was no question, we returned for the 15-course degustation menu ($435), complete with bread and mignardises carts. Our friend also chose the $295 wine pairing. It is the bottom tier, but the wines were outstanding and perfectly paired. Frank and I opted for two half bottles, Chardonnay and a very special Red from France.
The bread cart immediately seduced us and we quickly tumbled down the rabbit hole. The four of us were giddy as can be, we were blown away again and again by the refinement of the experience. It is glorious. It is euphoric. It is even obscene. However, this is no ordinary meal. It is art. Delectable, delicious art.
Cream of kale cabbage over delicate vegetable gelee. Kale has never tasted so good. The textures of this dish are extraordinary. It was a wonderful way to excite the palate.
Violet artichoke and foie gras salad with parmesan shavings. This was a fine dish, but not one to cause me to swoon.
Symphony of osetra caviar with salmon tartare, chilled sweet corn soup, and king crab on crustacean gelee. This was served as one breathtaking presentation, however, it counted as three-courses. The caviar and sweet corn will forever fill my dreams. It was sweet and salty and utterly perfect. I was blown away. I consumed more caviar with these dishes than I had in my existence prior to this meal.
Semi-soft boiled egg florentine with Comte cheese sauce. This was loved by everyone in the group, but me. It's funny, too, because the soft boiled egg was a favorite during our last dinner. That version seemed to have enough to offset the richness of the egg. This one felt like I had consumed a dozen farm fresh eggs.
Seared scallop with lemongrass, broccolini and soybean sprouts cooked as risotto. This dish was well executed. Apparently, I've been eating overcooked scallops my whole life. These were scrumptiously medium rare.
Thin veloute of porcini mushrooms with jasmine rice cream, crispy matsutake and foie gras ravioli, veal raviolis cooked in broth with white truffle. This was my favorite course(s). I found the white truffle that perfumed the air completely intoxicating. Each preparation was stellar, but the ravioli with the matsytake (japanese mushroom) and foie gras was the most tasty morsel of the night. Possibly the most tasty bite ever; definitely, in recent memory.
Roasted spiny lobster with green curry and fresh coriander. Collectively, we agreed this was the weakest dish of the evening. The lobster was tough and stringy. It looked beautiful, but it was far less satisfying upon digging in.
Caramelized black cod in Malabar pepper sauce with bok choy. This dish delivered big flavors in the best way. It was another favorite of the night. It had a delightfully unexpected umami thing going on. Plus, it was sugar and spice and everything nice.
Duo of duck breast and foie gras, five spice sweet and sour grapes with ginger. On paper this course sounds the most to my liking, and don't get me wrong, it was outstanding, but the flavors were similar to those I've had before. I really appreciate when my tastebuds are tempted by something unexpected. That said, this was extremely comforting, especially paired with Joel Robuchon's famous mashed potatoes which we insist is actually potato infused butter.
Coconut lime parfait topped with elderflower liquer gelee and compressed pineapple. Frank positively hates coconut, but I didn't hear any complaints about this dish. The pineapple was incredibly intense. It was so refreshing. It went beautifully with the dollop of cilantro syrup in the center of the plate.
Caramelized vanilla apples tarte tatin with calvados ice cream. The apples in this dessert must have been the same variety that Eve tempted Adam with, I've never had a juicier or more crisp bite of apple. If it is possible to taste a season in a bite, this accomplishes it - no doubt.
You would think we would be unable to consume another bite, but there was still the dessert cart. Calling it a cart, hardly does it justice. It's truly magical.
It's hard to believe we showed restraint when choosing about two dozen selections, plus, tiramisu, rum balls and creme brulee.
It was the perfect end to a story book meal. We were incredibly fortunate to enjoy a restaurant of this caliber twice in one year. Not only is it a privilege having this experience available to us, but we also are very grateful that we have been able to dabble in this level of opulence. It is a real pleasure.