I often speak of expectations when discussing my own diningexperiences and recognize that our guests do as well. If my expectations arelow and my experience is well beyond the meager hopes, then what atriumph. On the contrary, when expectationsfail to meet the wished for outcome, then disappointment rages.
I’m not certain why I had placed Verjus on such a pedestal. Wasit reading that two Yanks were making a big splash on the food scene in Paris? Was I simply hopeful that my American peerswould have truly set themselves apart?
Bottom line: The food was terrific. Creative, well thoughtout and generally excellent.
I opted to go with the wine pairing option. Yet, I was notaware until the next evening that a significant percent of Verjus’ wines areNatural or Organic.
Should be no big deal, but these had flavor profiles that Isimply did not enjoy. Our next evening At Spring, we discussed the naturalwines and those served at Verjus and had our opinions confirmed that they are goingin a very different direction with their wine profiles.
Two of the wines were quite nice, two were okay and two werein my personal opinion undrinkable. My questions about the wines were met withcondescension at best. And not from apurely French server, but a very frenchifiedAmerican- like my new word! I gasped at the thought that we may treat someof our customers comments in this manner.
Back to the food…
Sea Bass Seviche with buttermilk pureed potatoes, lemon,chives and shaved asparagus. Nice tastes and texture. Loved the potatoes. Thebeetroot cured trout had no discernable taste from the beetroot, a very mildcure with no specific cure taste or affect. Nice piece of raw fish. We had lotsof that.
Chanterelles must be in huge supply at the farmers markets.They are all over Paris menus and are fabulous. Perfect barley and a broth withnettles, lots of fresh herbs and a slightly warmed egg yolk. Stirred togetherit made for wonderful tastes and textures. The texture of the barley, the richnessof the egg ,and all the flavors working very well together.
Loved the skillet seared duck breast on the next course.Would love to have had a little more smoke on the smoked celery root. Thegrilled flank steak came cut and grilled very thick and was full of flavor;more tender than one would imagine.
A palette cleanser: A small portion of fresh rhubarb granitaand a pine scented panna cotta. Flavors, texture of the granita with the pannacotta were much fun.
I love the art of making ice cream. The mascarpone ice creamserved with some very ripe and flavorful strawberries in a cherry consommé wastart, sweet and terrific. I’m finding there are very few pastry chefs in thesesmall boutique restaurants. They rely on the chef to use product and culinary skillto create flavors. It’s very well done.
A server who truly cared whether we liked the wines or notcould have rescued the evening and made it more special. Food was spot-onthroughout the meal. For my tastes, the wines were generally of a style I wouldnot choose to drink.
So, loved the sea bass ceviche, the chanterelle mushroomwith the barley, liked the duck and the flank steak, loved the granita andpanna cotta and the strawberries.
We left with lots of questions about how we serve guests.Some times the best learning comes from others mistakes, not their successes.