My Parisian Restaurant Map

Monday, September 14, 2009

croustillant d'agneau

Mmmmmmm.....I found a new slice of heaven.

It was conceived at Chez Paul, a new bistro that I hope to frequent regularly from now on. If it weren't for the heavy price tag that is.

For starters I had my usual favorite which came highly recommended at this place: 6 small but delicious Bourgogne snails. They came without their little homes, which I prefer, because then the garlic butter really manages to marinate these little squishy bits of goodness.

In this case Im going to tell you what we drank with dinner, since it was one of the rare occassions where someone actually knew alot about wine and was able to select one that was appropriate for our meal: it was a Bordeaux AOC called Dourther Numero 1 from 2005. I can't really think of another way to describe it except that it was a dry yet incredibly deep red that literally filled every part of your mouth...

And now for the good part-my latest discovery which has rocked my socks as much as the duck fat epiphany-the croustillant d'agneau.

Basically, it was the most beautifully cooked, tender and rosé pink fillet of lamb (if there is such a thing). As I started to pick away at it, I noticed that there was a little white rim around the fillet, which I assumed to be the fat. But no, oh no, boy was it not the fat.

This fillet of lamb, apart from being accompanied by the most sublime garlic and honey reduction and a mousseline of split peas, turned out to be enveloped in the thinnest, most transparent, soft and buttery yet somehow also crispy, layer of dough. What I thought was fat turned out to be a crunchy layer of paper thin crust, which I soon realized was actually wrapped around the entire piece of meat.

And to top it all off, hidden under this layer of divine 'crust' was the most discreet bed of caramelized onions, so delicate and finely chopped that they almost went unnoticed. Almost.

How they got the sides to be crunchy, the rest melt-in-your-mouth soft and the color almost completely transparent, I will never know. But what I do know is this: anytime you see the word 'croustillant' on a French menu, no matter what it applies to (cheese, meat, veggies), you MUST order it.

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