Le Cinc-Yet Again and Again Marvelous
Last minute reservation, literally, brought me to Le Cinq with a few more hounds and boy did they deliver. For those who have asked, will use paragraphs for a change.
Had the big round table on the left in the front by the full length window so we could watch the sun, the rain, the clouds, the rain, and so on.
After skipping the Champagne cart and asking for the wine list, we were poured Chateldon and while looking at the menu and wine list were given our first selection of cold amuse bouche. There were three consisting of:
Two battered and fried olives, OK
Parmigiano crisp, surprising excellent
Cured salmon with daikon, luscious
At this point the first wine came, a Raveneau 2007 Butteaux, regretfully the 2005 was gone, and the sommelier recommended the 07 over the 06 and 08. It was all a chablis should be, steely, but huge and actually drank red.
Our orders were taken and again with graciousness they allowed us to exchange the special luncheon menu plat with the ALC lamb shoulder roasted for many, many hours.
Our next cold amuses came consisting of a square of octopus with eel sauce and rice crispies, a round of ceviche, and a melon soup with red pepper cream on top that l would have gladly asked for a salad bowl filled and gone home happy. The soup was so smooth yet not butterfat feeling, already running out of adjectives.
Waters always topped up and a zillion pieces of silverware kept being changed.
Now for the hot amuse, and they picked something they do so well and l like so much. The took a razor clam out of the shell, combined it with a few crevettes grises reput in shell and it was totally harmonious.
The next wine arrived, a Volnay 2010 from Boillot and while young had more age than expected, again my friend picked a good one.
Finally we reach the ordered portion of the menu, the two dishes in play were both better than they had any right to be. First was a cured mackerel, which was done well and acceptable, however with the dish came a mustard gelato and a wasabi gelee that were so layered in flavor on their own, they never got near the fish.
The other entree was, get ready, foie gras ravioli, in a consomme of chicken and veal broth with steamed baby vegetables. Yes, foie gras ravioli are overused and usually silly, but these were the Bomb, enough that it is a must order on my return in a few months. To make it even nicer the captain gave us a glass of 1969 Madeira to go with the foie gras, magic.
While waiting and drinking bottle after bottle of Chateldon, we are measuring our wine well, thus only two bottles will be necessary for the meal. And now the main course, the 17 hour shoulder of lamb is carved tableside and l was successful in scarfing the bone for me. It was, as always, the best expression of lamb l can ever remember, and with Souphie's spring baby shoulder are my two fav lamb dishes ever.
It came with coin shaped rounds, 20 or so, like poker chips of tomato, zucchini, and yellow squash. A parsley creme also was there.
The other guest had ordered the pollock and a hefty portion of just under medium cooked fish came, and she said it was very good, my taste confirmed it was very good. With this was a dish of beans cooked in stock , it was steaming hot and very well-seasoned.
All of us were getting very full, but the parade continued. the cheese trolley came and while we were getting on with our waiter fine, when l named every cheese on the cart, down to the brand of Roquefort they carried, he became our new best friend. We had seven cheeses and IIRC the favs were a stellar St Nectaire, a 4 year gouda, and a cabriolet goat vacherin that would make Randy B weep.
Table cleared, wine gone, now for the desserts, l skipped to trade for the cheese, the others had a dish of fresh berries with a scoop of ice cream on the top and and chocolate thing, sorry my mind shuts down for desserts.
Then the next dessert, a custard with meringue chips and BLACK lemon ice cream. The lemons are from Iran and many things have to be done until they are edible and they were a perfect end to a perfect meal.
Oh yeh, then was coffee and mignardise , there were 15 or so different things, by now our vision was fogging and had them put most in a box to take with us. l do remember the nougat was exemplary ( may be repeating a praisetype adj/adv here )
Got the bill, left in four hours even. For some reason they did not charge for the water or coffee.
A note about service here and other highend restaurants it seems everywhere in the world. When you enter the staff is a bit put-offish, somewhat somber and reserved. If you show them you want a good time and are passionate about food and their food they go overboard to make your time memorable.. Ask questions, they love it, the butter, the ingredients, whatever. The cheese guy told me he was so happy to have me as l knew more about cheese than any of his staff, certainly a buzz for me there.
Tab for three, all inclusive 450 euros.
We had the almost identical lunch on Saturday, so I won't repeat the menu.
exception being mussels and crab rather than the razor clam..
We had not enjoyed our last meal at Le Cinq,
but our daughter was with us, and the room is so beautiful that we decided to take her there.
On our last visit, the servers were competent but just.
On this magic day everything was perfect, the food and the service.
The servers could not have been nicer, and one proudly told us when that the mustard in the sauce was from his town...
another that the olive oil was from Italy, and he was Italian.
They catered to our vegetarian daughter,
The Foie Gras ravioli in broth was one on the best dishes that I have ever eaten.
So many excellent tastes.
Was so full but couldn't resist the marshmallow coated strawberry lollipop
Will definitely return
Hadn't even realized that we were there for 3 1/2 hours.
As percipient witnesses, we think it would have been a great experience even if we'd been were there just on our own. As DCM suggests, obvious and appropriate enthusiasm goes a long way toward making a special experience. And we've had quite a few of those in France here and there. But undeniably, it was so much better at this lunch because of being there with DCM. (In addition to many lovely interchanges with the staff, he made a special connection with the cheese man, as one might imagine.) -- Jake