This is the twenty-second post in the Around the World Birthday Extravaganza Series. Please scroll to the bottom to see all the other posts in this series.
He had just one request.
It was our second time in Paris, but our first time as true food enthusiasts. Yes, we had come to Paris together about a decade ago. At that time, I was still in law school, and we just just started getting into wine. We had less money, and generally didn't eat too extravagantly. This trip, Bryan told me that I could pick whatever food I wanted for the entire three-week trip. However, he had just one request.
"I want to eat at the best, high-end classic French restaurant."
It's no secret that the French are masters at high-end cuisine. French culinary techniques serve as the foundation of most high-end dishes around the world. It makes a lot of sense why Bryan wanted to experience the pinnacle of the masters at their home turf.
After some research, I settled upon L'Ambroisie, a three-Michelin starred French restaurant that uses classic techniques and was widely considered by many to be one of the best restaurants in Paris. L'Ambroisie has maintained its 3-Michelin star status consecutively since 1988, making it the longest running 3-Michelin star restaurant in history.
We started with a velvety, creamy Potage, or potato cream soup topped with a luxurious dollop of white truffle cream. As you can imagine, the flavors were heavenly and full of that fragrant white truffle aroma.
The next course included a layer of broccoli florets topped with barely cooked scallops and more white Alba truffles. This dish blew me away with its deceptive simplicity. How could somebody make broccoli taste this good? It was simply amazing.
The theme continued with our third course, a Lobster Ravioli served in a decadent butter-cream sauce topped with generous shavings of white Alba truffles.
The aroma was intoxicating, and we couldn't help but take deep breaths of each course, just enjoying and taking in the fragrant aromas of the white truffles.
Here's an inside look of the ravioli, which is stuffed full of perfectly cooked lobster.
Our last savory course was chicken from a region called Brest topped with more white truffles. Similarly, this dish was also extremely well executed.
And then they rolled out a gorgeous cheese cart. Wow. It was so hard to decide which ones to try, especially when we really wished we could try them all.
We ended up each choosing 3-4 cheeses to try, which was really fun.
I distinctly remember my favorite was a creamy artisan washed rind cow's milk cheese called Fougerus Coulommier, which was simply phenomenal. It was creamy and salty sort of like brie, but with a much more complex flavor. I loved it.
For our palate cleanser (or first dessert), we enjoyed a simple citrus sorbet.
Our main dessert was a traditional chocolate pie with vanilla ice cream. The chocolate was excellent, and overall the dessert was lovely.
Bryan decided to order some cognac and opted for A. E. DOR "selection L'Ambroisie", a version made specifically for the restaurant. It was really, really good. At one point, when Bryan's glass was almost empty, the server topped him up again, winked, and said "oops!".
Bryan was more than happy to consume the "oops" pour.
The mignardises pastries were perfect - not too sweet and full of genuine flavors. The "Choux Creme" was a delicate pastry filled with cream and topped with candied sugar. It was phenomenal. There was also a crisp topped with cooked apple, which was also amazing. Finally, there was a cookie topped with pear that was excellent, full of intense, strong pear flavors.
All the desserts were clearly executed with care and at a very high level. We were extremely impressed.
We received truffle chocolates as well as our choice of coffee or tea. Bryan went with the espresso.
I went with a Verbena tea, which I absolutely loved. It was exactly what I wanted after such a rich meal.
The meal was a success. Bryan loved it, and even after our entire three-week trip, declared it as one of his favorite meals of the entire trip. Everything - from the perfectly executed dishes and opulent display of white truffles to the friendly "oops" pour of his cognac left a strong impression of a meal that we would never forget.
A happy husband
To be honest, I struggled a bit in deciding whether or not to dine here. Yes, it was pretty universal that people thought the food here was top notch (it is!). However, L'Ambroisie is also one of the few 3-Michelin starred restaurants that refuses to offer a lower-priced lunch option or even a regular tasting menu option. Dinner and lunch cost the same, and the prices are high. The menu is mostly a la carte, with starters costing €92-€180, main courses costing €92 - €260, and desserts costing €30 - €35 each. They don't really advertise any tasting menus, though they did verbally tell us about the white truffle tasting that day (we had to specifically ask about the cost: ~ €350 per person).
In general, I think price is not supposed to be something you ask about in that environment. In fact, my menu did not show any prices. They only give the male dining companion the menu with the prices (which I found interesting).
All in all, though, the food was incredible. There's no question about that. I can totally see why they feel entitled to charge the prices that they do. "It's worth it" they would say. And clearly, looking at how long they've been successful, many, many people agree with that sentiment, including Bryan. If you're looking for top notch French food made with traditional French techniques, this is probably one of the best out there.
9 place des Vosges, 75004 PARIS
Tél : +33 (0)1 42 78 51 45
All Posts In This Series
Around the World Birthday Extravaganza
Alba White Truffle Fair
Osteria Dei Sognatori - A Traditional Piedmontese Dinner
Italy Wine Tour - Barbaresco
Lunch at Donna Selvatica in Neive, Italy
Dinner at a Truffle Hunter's Inn - Tra Art e Querce
Trattoria Della Posta in Montfort D'Alba
Nighttime Truffle Hunting with a Dog in Alba
Osteria della Arco - last dinner in Alba
Stunning Images of La Morra and Barolo, Italy
First Day In Bordeaux, France - Une Cuisine en Ville
Chateau Haut-Brion Tour in Bordeaux France
Restaurant Le St. James
Touring Bordeaux Wineries - Day 1 - Left Bank
La Tupina, Bordeaux (traditional French dinner)
Cos d'Estournel Tour
Touring Bordeaux - Pauillac, Chateau Lynch-Bages
A Different Paris
Le Relais de l'Entrecote