Thursday, December 28, 2006

Roel Jobuchon

"Who you lookin at?"

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon sits next to Joel Robuchon at 'The Mansion' in the MGM grand. The Mansion has this incredible Champs-Elysees facade, and the atelier is a little bijou right next to it. The big house's restaurant had a fixed menu with a strong tendency towards truffles and foie gras. The atelier is more casual and the prices are like 2% less crazy. Sleek sushi like bar, ebony and crimson, veggies and fruit artfully placed about. The picture above gives an idea. Ignore Chris, who's looking rather suspiciously at my camera.

Cal, Chris and I all ordered the "menu decouverte" or prix fixe menu. The normal menu was just a bit daunting, although I was immensely intrigued by the langoustine fritters. The bread and butter were great, bread was very floury and crusty, for some reason the butter seemed to taste of cucumber.

Menu decouverte from website. I don't have all the pics, since I'm still getting used to this food blog thing. Sorry:

Menu Decouverte

    Le concombre en gelée, à l'estragon et son yaourt au cumin
    Cucumber gelée tarragon cream, cumin yogurt
Tasting Notes: This was very refreshing- basically like a shot of raita.
    Cru mariné à l'huile tomatée et à la fleur de sel
    Bluefin tuna with tomato infused olive oil

I ate most of it before remembering I was trying to relaunch a food blog.

Notes: Clean. The tomato had a bit of a sweetly acid tang that played a great foil to the smooth tuna. Citrus, yuzu, etc is almost always used with tuna carpaccio and this tomato made it Mediterranean, while playing a similar role. The olive oil they used was fairly neutral.
    La noix cuite en coquille au beurre d'algues acidulé
    Fresh scallops cooked in the shell with seaweed infused butter

So, the flash washed this out completely. Sans flash, you can sort of see what's going on here.

Notes: Cal and Chris adored this. We all thought that the seaweed infused butter was awesome- nutty, actually. I think it must have been clarified butter, it wasn't cloying at all. I did think that it was slightly over cooked, but I tend towards raw as much as possible. This was just a bit more firm that I would have wanted. But, like I said, the boyz adored it.
  • L'ŒUF
    Cocotte et sa crème légère de champignons
    Egg cocotte topped with a light mushroom cream

Aha, some foam. How novel.
Notes: This was perfect. The coddled egg was beautifully underdone. When you broke the yolk it enrobed everything in here with that silken-ness. We had some bread, but I think a little toast would have been perfect as a sopping mechanism.

    En fin velouté au fumet de céleri et au lard croustillant
    Light chestnut velouté with caramelized foie gras and crispy bacon

I loved the bowl here. Mom used to do lots of ikebana and hoarded bowls like this.

Notes: There's some more foam here, but also, a slightly thicker "veloute" underneath this. The boyz liked this, but I wish the celery quotient were a bit higher, since the dish needed a bit more of contrast. We all savored the bacon crisp. Chestnuts lended a smooth flavor, but a slightly grainy texture.
    Mi-fumé aux croustilles de pommes de terre et pousses de cresson
    Slightly smoked salmon served warm confit potatoes

This pic is my favorite, so I'm making it a bit larger.

Notes: By this time, I was a bit overwhelmed, so I had to struggle a bit through this dish. It was rich even though there's no obvious bacon, dairy, etc. The waiter said that the salmon had been cured in house for 5 hours and then lightly smoked. It was unctuous. Again, I think the watercress element here needed to be sharper. The confit potatoes were to die for.

    Farcie de foie gras et caramélisée, pomme purée truffée
    Free-range quail stuffed with foie gras and served with truffled-mashed potatoes.
Chris and Cal had this dish, but I neglected to take a pic. It was basically like two teeny lil smidgens of meat, stuffed with melting foie and a pool of potato puree studded with awesome truffles.
    De boeuf à l'échalote
    French-style hanger steak with fried shallots

Look at that little Staub cocotte. SO QOOT!

Here's the closeup. Look at those oil globules!

Notes: I was basically about to explode at this point so I managed to eat about a bite of it. It was too rich. The flavors were strong- Chris said it tasted like In N Out animal style.
    Sur un lait caillé de brebis, infusion à la bergamote
    Sheep's milk yogurt panna cotta, mandarin confit, bergamot tea infusion

Heeeey! Sweet foam.

Notes: Bergamot (the taste of Earl Grey) melds wonderfully with citrus (since its a type of citrus). The sheeps milk panna cotta was mild and floating. I needed this to clean my palate after the oily onglet.
    en sorbet, chocolat velouté caramélisé à la cannelle
    Pear sorbet, meringue glacée, chocolate-caramelized cinnamon cream

Notes: I'm glad they had some really contrasting textures here. However, the meringue had been cooked long before or overwhipped or something because it was HARD. I wish it had shattered, instead we had to really apply some pressure and then it exploded in a lot of dust. I love the little play on images, since meringue is made out of only egg whites and the little pear sorbet nugget inside was like a pale yolk. The pear totally saved it all. I loved ending on that sorbet since the final note of the entire meal was just a single, pure note after all of that cacophany.
    Coffee or Espresso
Final Notes: There were a lot of flavor elements here that I couldn't really identify. There were random gelees and squirts of color that didn't completely coincide with what was on the menu. It was a bit overwhelming- It's mostly my fault, I really wasn't prepared for it all. Manresa had many more dishes (and is also the only other meal that beats this in price) but I had mentally and stomach-ly prepared for that one.

So I want to end this, my first real post, with a food ICON image:

Amelie and her brulee crackin spoon!

Why? Because Calvin did a little Amelie imitation here. Forgive his improper spoon placement:

Frankly, Calvin wasn't that into my posting this pic, since he thinks it is slightly unflattering. Here's one of his real headshots so that all of you out there in virtualland don't think that my brother is any less attractive than he is in real life:

Everyone, do not do a Google search on "hot asian men" since not only will you find many men who are not hot, it just ain't family safe, y'all.



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