Two great dinners in Nice - Millesime 82 and Keisuke Matsushima
I recently had two great dinners in Nice: Millesime 82 and Keisuke Matsushima. I made both reservations based on suggestions from this board. Thank you – especially to whoever suggested Millesime. As you will read below, it was incredible.
Millesime 82: We started with a glass of Bruno Paillard Champagne on the house and then had a lovely rose from Corsica. The amuse was a chilled cucumber gazpacho with feta. The flavors were so fresh and vibrant and well-balanced, with a touch of lemon for acidity and olive oil. It was so delicious.
I started with the zucchini tasting, which had 3 components. The first was a zucchini stuffed with herbed goat cheese. The second was sea bass tartare with zucchini carpaccio. The third was zucchini with caramelized onions. Each one highlighted the zucchini in different ways, and each was outstanding. DH had a modern twist on a pissalediere which was presented as shortbread topped with caramelized onions and anchovies that tasted like they had just been pulled from the sea.
For mains, I had the veal with some of the best foie gras of my life (melted in my mouth) and a pea and bacon risotto that I could have eaten an entire bowl of. The color was so green and the flavor so vibrant. DH had John Dory with spinach gnocchi and calamari. Everything was great.
For dessert I had the apricot tasting presented in 4 ways: milkshake; grilled with puff pastry (this was my favorite preparation); sliced with Chantilly cream; and confit with berry sorbet. DH had the strawberry tartare with Chantilly and apple gelee.
The portions were extremely generous sized. Everything was outstanding. Service was spectacular. This was one of the most memorable meals of my entire trip including all the great dining we did in Paris (see my previous post from last week). It honestly makes me so sad that there were hardly any diners there (there was only one other table dining), especially when all the casual places on the pedestrian streets were packed. Please go!!
The next night we had dinner at Keisuke Matsushima. It was good but not nearly as good as Millesime, in my opinion, although it was much more crowded. Many diners were Japanese, and one Japanese woman at a nearby table told the chef that she had gone to the same culinary school as him and was excited to meet him. The chef seemed very humbled and sweet.
To start were 3 hors d’oeuvres. A candied cherry tomato (which was an excellent treatment of this ingredient); a small pissalediere; and bread with salmon ice cream.
We opted for the Inspiration tasting menu with wine pairings, meaning we ate whatever the chef was inspired to prepare. The amuse was a chilled tomato soup. Very nice and fresh. Next was an asparagus risotto with crispy Serrano ham. This had a nice flavor but I prefer my risotto to be a bit creamier. Then was a rouget with cuttlefish and squid ink. I did not love this dish but I am not a huge fan of cuttlefish or squid ink, although I thought the rouget was tasty. DH, on the other hand, who loves both, said that the dish was delicious and very well-balanced. Next was lamb with ratatouille. The lamb had a delicious gamey flavor. Dessert was coconut meringues with pineapple cannelloni and ice cream. Petit fours were passion fruit jellies with coconut and small raisin financiers. Everything was very delicious and the service was very warm, but we just found ourselves constantly discussing Millesime.
Thanks again to everyone for your help with my France eating itinerary. Happy to help out when you find yourselves in the Big Apple!
Matsushima was a more honest place when it was in a relative hole in the wall on the Rue de France. I subsequently went to dinner at his "shoot for the big time" restaurant around the corner and was disappointed. It's culinary suicide to order a tasting menu in such places. They really gun for you. The few good dishes out of the 7, 8, 10,35, however many, are too small to deeply enjoy and the others are abusive cheaply produce or throw-aways. I've lived part-time in Nice for 12 years now and it has really hit the skids in terms of restaurants. There are a few relatively modest ones that I enjoy, but one is Alsatian (La Petite Alsace) and the other cheap Spanish (Sabor). The one true talent owns "L'Aromate" which I strongly recommend, but the menu is miniscule and ,for dinner, anyway, doesn't change very much. If you really are adventurous, cross the border and eat in the Michelin starred restaurants between Ventimiglia and Cervo. The difference between the fish in these places and nearly every restaurant on the France side is the difference between night and day. Before I forget, however, the 59-euro lunch menu (with decent choice) at Jacques Chibois' La Bastide St. Antoine in Grasse-St. Antoine is wonderful.