Best Sweetbreads and Veal brain at Le Baratin - Rio Yeti Report
Yes I know what you're thinking... Dude you had veal brain AND sweetbreads on the same meal, the same dinner ?
Did I regret it ?
Yes and no.
I did feel slightly queasy after my meal, and during the night, and this morning too... But man were those offal great !
As an appetizer I had the poached veal brain in a lemon-butter sauce served with a few potatoes and chive. It's been a while since I've had brain, actually last time was before the whole mad cow thing, so yeah... a while. I've never had brain poached as my mother used to make them fried in breadcrumbs. This dish was very rich, and incredibly tender, actually tender is not even the right word to describe it, as one wouldn't call a creme brulée or a pudding tender. This brain was just like that, almost like liquid velvet (now I get all those zombies, they're just gourmets !).
My friend had an artichoke and carrot salad. I think the artichoke was confit in lemon. The salad was pretty good, a nice bitter bite to it which balanced the sweetness of the carrots really well.
As a main dish I did it again. I took the sweetbreads. Frankly I shouldn't have, as the brain and sweetbreads not only are somewhat similar in texture, but they were served in a similar butter-lemon sauce, with the same potatoes, with spinach instead of the chives for the sweetbread. And the portions were huge. This being said, I still find those sweetbreads to be the best I've ever had, cooked to perfection, incredibly moist and soft in the middle, very slightly crusty on the outside.
And I really shouldn't forget to mention those potatoes. I believe they were pommes de terre nouvelles, as they had an intense flavor. I know it sounds cliché to reference a food for its intense flavor, but one forgets how good a potato can taste when it is truly great, and these were.
My friend had the braised beef cheek sauteed (or was it grilled... I'm not sure) at the last minute, giving it a nice deep brown crust on the outside with the meat falling apart as one would pass a knife through it (or a fork... or a spoon... or possibly even one of those plastic spoons you feed toddlers with). The taste was really intense, almost briny, definitely made with red wine. It was served with a bunch of vegetables which looked good, but I didn't taste them.
For desserts we both had the bitter chocolate creme. Although again I was about to put in my mouth something that made me question the importance of my teeth, the not to sweet, not too rich cream was the right note to end this meal. They weren't kidding when they announced "bitter", as my coffee almost tasted sweeter than the chocolate, but this harmony of bitterness really put a nice ending to this offal orgy.
I drank a glass of Chateauneuf du Pape 2005 which was as it sounds (great), and my friend had a Côte du Rhone which was also quite excellent.
We paid 100€ for two, considering that both the brain and sweetbreads were the most expensive items on the menu. You could definitely end up around 35/40€ a person if you order differently.
I've been to Le Baratin thanks to a few posts on Chowhound, so thank you very much to all the hounds who made me discover this place ! However since I didn't find an actual report of the place, I thought I would jump at the chance to add my two cents.