Monday, December 9, 2013

Benoit, Paris (*)

Restaurant Benoit is a Parisian bistrot near Marais and the Hotel de Ville, which opened its doors in 1912. Nowadays it belongs to Alain Ducasse and it is the only Parisian bistrot to hold a michelin star. The chef is Eric Azoug. 

There are two more Benoit restaurants, in New York and Tokyo. 

Benoit is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. There is a three course lunch menu available every day, weekends included, along with an a la carte menu. 

The decor is typical Parisian. It has 3 rooms with tables, two on the ground floor and one on the first floor. 

We started with some gougeres, served warm, like these at the ADAD. Bread was either baguette or brown country. Both were good, freshly made with nice crust, but we got no butter with it. 

Delicate chestnut veloute with stewed garnish. Although I expected a stronger taste of the chestnut, it was fairly good with a touch of olive oil on top, garnished with a smoked chestnut and fresh cream. 

Green lentil salad, smoked sausage and mustard cream.

For the main course we chose a glass of red Bordeaux wine from Pomerol. Overall a great wine for the price. It was quite tannic, aromatic, great on the nose, with power full start in the mouth, but short finish. 

Tender ox cheek with carrots was the main course. It was cooked in the cocotte, with glazed carrots and a sweet reduced red wine sauce. The ox cheek meat was extremely tender, juicy and tasty, but heavy on salt. 

At that time, one of the two desserts available for the lunch menu had ended, so we were proposed to choose whatever we liked from the dessert carte. 

Profiteroles Benoit, choux pastry filled with creme patisserie, crunchy biscuit with milk ice cream sitting on top and hot chocolate sauce. Alain Ducasse now produces his own chocolate and it is the one served in all of his restaurants. The chocolate is made entirely from start to finish, or from bean to bar in La Manufacter de chocolate Alain Ducasse. The profiteroles were very good, the choux pastry with a hind of salt, the ice cream was very sweet pairing very good with the slightly bitter chocolate. 

Two small cakes and two chocolate pieces with sesame filling followed the dessert along with some hot madeleines. 

The service was fast and generally good. I would suggest that you make a reservation as at the time of my meal there were no empty tables in the room. The lunch menu has to be the best value for money, as most dishes of the a la carte are more expensive than the whole menu. If I remember correctly there was wine by glass starting at 5 euros, although water at 9 euros was expensive. The wine list was extensive with some grand cru wines, but also many in the lower pricing range.  

See also:
Le Louis XV, Alain Ducasse (***)
Le Jules Verne, Alain Ducasse (*)
Funky Gourmet (**)

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