Thursday, April 02, 2009

L'Ami Jean (Paris)

Choosing a bistro in Paris is a daunting experience. There are so many to choose from. More than that, there are just so many good places to choose from. Every time we are come back there are more bistros to try. However; we always go back to L'Ami Jean. Simply because; first we love the Basque food and second is that the chef Stéphan Jégo is such an amazing chef; who used to work at La Regalade. Its a ritual that we are very happy to do.

L'Ami Jean has such a huge following that you have to reserve a table several months in advance (I am not kidding!!!). It is a very small dinning room and it has an even smaller kitchen. You sit so close to your neighbors that you can hear every word they say. I am always in amazement that such wonderful food comes out of that small kitchen.

The food is from the Basque area. On the menu there is a thing called the 'carte blanche' menu; meaning that if the chef is in the mood, he will cook a set menu consisting of several dishes. It will depend what the chef wants to cook for you that evening. Since we were in a celebratory mood and hungry; we decided to take the carte blanche menu. We asked the waiter to ask the chef if he was in the mood to cook the menu for us. Lucky for us, the chef said yes.

The first dish was white asparagus soup with crispy lardons. The waiter first delivered the bowl with the crispy lardons and we waited a minute before the soup was poured into the bowl. The mix of the the lardons and the asparagus soup was amazing. Creamy but light. Full of the asparaus flavour. A very nice beginning.

The wine we started with was Domain de Roally 2006. We ordered a white wine but the waitress recommended this wine instead. We were very happy that we listened to her. The wine was rich, lush, intensely fruity with marvelous weight and length. It was powerful, yet fresh and lively, and its aromas of buttery, roasted nuts lingered on.

The second dish was scallop on la moelle with cepes (thank goodness they are in season because I love those little things) and topped with a slice of crispy Spanish bacon. What an incredible dish.

The third dish was l'eperlans. The presentation already was incredible. These tiny little things were amazing. We were amazed how delicious this dish was. We were trying to figure out the herbs that was used for this dish because it was so good. We finally gave up and just ate.

The fourth dish was sweet bread and lamb with cepes. A fantastic combination. The sweet bread and lamb were cooked perfectly and tasted so good.

The fifth dish was Basque cheese with cherry confiture. A very nice break before dessert. I do like hard cheeses and this one did not disappoint.

The sixth dish was riz aux lait (rice pudding). This is one of the most famous desserts around. Everyone, I know who has been to L'Ami Jean talk about this dessert. After eating so much because everything is so yummy, we never think of having dessert. However; when this dessert is put on the table, no one can resist having some of this incredible dessert. It is the creamiest and tastiest dessert. It sounds so simple but you need to try to see what everyone is talking about. Simply amazing.

The seventh dish was chocolate mousse and a strawberry in cream. A very nice ending to our wonderful dinner.

L'Ami Jean
27 rue Malar
75007 Paris
01 47 05 86 89

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