Sunday, June 14, 2009
Ze Kitchen Galerie Redux - Best Dessert in Paris?
A return visit to Ze Kitchen Galerie and I would have to say this is rapidly becoming one of my favorite dining spots in Paris. Nothing much to add to my description of the ambiance, design, service, and food quality as explicated in my February review, so I think Ze (can I call you Ze?) ages well. This time we (me & Co., that is) had the wall on one side and a couple of entertaining Brazilian girls on the other side, resulting in less of a sense of claustrophobia than experienced during the St. Valentine's visit. Anyway, one becomes accustomed to the sardine effect in many local restaurants, what with their particular predilection towards aligning square tables along the walls boxcar style.
This time around, we wrapped our taste buds around two formidable entrees. Co. won this round with her choice of the "crevette obsiblue" dish (21€), a minimalist preparation of shrimp, eel, and snails, with garlic and ginger enhancement. The French/Asian fusion emphasis of chef William Ledeuil hit a high note here, with the garlic and ginger adding a flavorful, but not overwhelming, boost to the seafood. My choice didn't hit as high a note, but given my guilty pleasures of powerful and contrasting flavors, I couldn't have chosen better with the Daurade marinee, the marinated fish accompanied by mango thai kelamenji, a thin slice of mango (21€). This dish had a strong citrony taste, no doubt a function of some unadvertised lime. When the waiter asked if the first course did the job, I was half tempted to add 'and I'll have whatever she's having' to my 'oui.'
On to the main course. Co. opted for the canard de challans confit-grille, jus teriyaki-grotte, an Asian-influenced preparation of slightly cooked duck (33€). Extremely tasty, but I prefered the more imaginative take on tempura; to wit, tempura de crevettes and blanc de seiche grille, marmelade d'aubergines, and vinegrette sesame (34€). The two large lightly battered shrimp mixed will with the thinly sliced, grilled cuttlefish, eggplant marmalade and sesame vinegrette. Two more thumbs up.
I know, dessert, the part you've been waiting for. If you've read my earlier review, you know where this is heading. Once again, like addicts waiting for their next fix, we'd been looking forward to a second go of the glace au chocolat blanc et wasabi (11.20€)(see photo at the top of this post). Now, I realize it would be presumptuous of me to declare that this dish is truly the best dessert in Paris because, well, I haven't tried them all, and though I may aspire to that objective, it is clearly beyond the realm of human endeavor. I do think any dessert with white chocolate already has an advantage over any challenger. But kudos to anyone who would imagine the combined effect of white chocolate and wasabi pastry, and, oh yeah, coconut milk, vanilla, green tea, crumble, and pistachio. Chef Ledeuil is that man. It may not be the best dessert in Paris, but I guarantee you will not be disappointed, and I also challenge anyone to find a better dessert in Paris. The prize? How about the recipe for the chocolat blanc et wasabi dish? Why wait? Here it is, fresh from the France Chef.tv website.
Now, if you can't read French, you can use the Google translator, and if you can't comprehend the resulting gibberish, I invite you to watch Chef Ledeiul's video preparation of the dish at the France Chef.tv site. Of course, if you can't understand spoken French, then you're sort of out of luck, just watch what he's doing and imitate it, or bring a French-speaking friend to your computer and you'll be fine. If you can understand French, you may, like me, get a good chuckle hearing the illustrious chef describe the process as 'tres, tres simple' with a straight face.
Dinner for two, with coffee and wine (2005 Madirin de Crampilh, 24€) - 162€
ZE KITCHEN GALERIE
4, rue des grands augustins
tel: 01 44 32 00 32