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"Taillevent" - ParisaaaaaaaaaJean-Claude Vrinat
If it is at all conceivable to call the best restaurant in the world - a "Home away
from Home" - then Taillevent deserves this title.
They knew we were coming all the way from Israel to celebrate our 25th wedding
anniversary there, and they saw to it that a real celebration it will be...
Discussion of the wines that will be served was faxed to and fro beforehand.
Monsieur Vrinat himself was absent on the night we were there as he was invited to
conduct the Gala dinner at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore which celebrated its own
anniversary the day after.
However, the instructions he left and the regal yet disalarmingly
charming attention we got from my friend Frederic Guidoni,
the non-plus-ultra Maitre d', were simply out of this world!
As we always do at Taillevent, we had many "half dishes" instead of the standard
three-course meal. It was a sheer pleasure and a total experience way beyond the
sublime quality of the dinner itself. From the Kir Royale we started with, thru all
the exquisite dishes, from the fantastic wines that accompanied them, to the dessert
Tokay and Grande Champagne Cognac they pampered us with, from the
Gateau they brought with the elaborated "Happy 25th Anniversary Mr & Mme Shaya" inscribed
on it to the bottle of the Taillevent-commissioned Cognac with my name "Jacob Shaya"
printed beforehand on the label which they presented me with to take home at the
All that and more made all four of us re-affirm what we knew all along - Taillevent
is the best restaurant in the world!
Creme de Cresson au Caviar Sevruga
(Watercress soup with Sevruga Caviar)
Cannellonis de Tourteau, Sauce Ravigote
(Crab-meat stuffed Cannelloni)
Coquilles St. Jacques poelees aux Poireaux et a la Truffe
(Scallops fried with leek and truffles)
Bar Ligne au Cresson
(Sea Bass with watercress)
Boudin de Homard a la Nage
("Sausage" skin stuffed with Lobster in white cream)
Ballottine d'Agneau rotie a la Perigourdine
(Roasted Lamb 'fillet', Perigour style)
Foie de Canard au Pain d'Epice et au Gingambre
(Duck liver in Spice Bread and Ginger)
Lievre a la Royale
(Royal [Louis XIV] Hare stew)
Crepes soufflees au Citron vert
(Crepes in green lemon sauce)
Griottes de Fougerolles en Chaud-Froid
(Cherries in hot & cold sauce)
Fantasie a la Liqueur de Mandarine
(Fantasy in Mandarine Liquor)
Sorbets aux trois Parfumes
(Sorbets in three flavors)
Le Plateau des Fromages
Again, not counting the 'presents', coffee, petits-fours etc.
I have not tasted all the dishes, but the "Crab Cannelloni" and the "Lievre a la
Royale" were for me the epitomes of culinary delights.
Now for the wines:
Fully mature and minerally-rich nose. Wet stones and steel knife combine with
succulent pears and peaches on the palate. Sublimely harmonious though lost most of
its acidity. One of the best Corton Charlemagne I ever had. Superb!
1986 Corton Charlemagne, Coche-Dury
Very good looking for a 21 years-old (B).
Giant and multi-layered aroma. Marvelous 'Bourgogne Nose', leather, wet forest floor, mature
sweetish fruit. Concentrated taste, still fruity with plenty of vigor. Mouthfilling and extremely long.
1976 Bonnes Mares, G. Roumier
Nice nose of ripe peaches, caramel and some citrus fruit. Pleasantly sweet,
not hugely concentrated with plenty of acidity. Very good but not more.
1991 Mad Birsalmas, Aszu 5 Puttonoys, Royal Tokaji
Cognac, Grande Champagne AOC "Reserve Familiale", George Jobit
Jacob "Yak" Shaya.