Restaurant: Le Grand Restaurant Jean-François Piège
Location: 7 Rue d’Aguesseau, 75008 Paris, France. +33 1 53 05 00 00
Date: June 28, 2022
Cuisine: Haute Cuisine French
This was supposed to be my third starred restaurant in Paris, but some complexities of the “2022 moment” led to us missing two of them. Fortunately I didn’t miss Le Grand Restaurant Jean-François Piège as it was very high on my list.
I did however, due to another Paris in Summer of 2022 fact — a complete lack of taxis and Ubers — have to walk 45 minutes across the city to earn my dinner.
It’s tucked away on a classic street near a lot of the high fashion stores not too far from the Champs-Élysées.
JFP isn’t a huge place, but it does have a very stylish modern setting.
An opening glass of Champagne.
Fancy salt and pepper.
I went for the classic menu. All of the food here is regionalized to France.
Bretagne, Île-de-France. Le meilleur de la grenouille. The best of frog. This is playing on the old French/Frogs thing. It’s basically a buttery bread with some parsley garlic butter (and a tiny bitty bit of frog). Delicious though.
Île-de-France, Normandie. Radis beurre Hauts-De-France, Loire-Atlantique Rôtie de “Plumes”, macération de garum, feuilles et racines de réglisse. Hauts-De-France butter radish, Loire-Atlantique Roast “Feathers”, garum maceration, licorice leaves and roots. This plays on the classic “radish and butter” dish — albeit in a much fancier form.
Bretagne. Foie de lotte comme je l’aime. Monkfish liver as I like it. Taking a hint from the Japanese.
The girl with the box of knives!
This is just the “by the glass” wine list! The main list was something like 50,000 bottles!
2010 Coche-Dury Meursault. VM 92. The 2010 Meursault Village from Coche-Dury has a fresh, tight bouquet at first, gradually unfurling to reveal shucked oyster shell and sea spray notes that gain intensity over the course of 15-20 minutes. The palate strikes a sublime balance with a domaine-typical judicious line of acidity that keeps this Meursault on its tiptoes. Toward the finish, white chocolate and hints of marzipan emerge, completing (predictably) a sublime 10-year-old Meursault that is probably <em>à point</em>. Tasted at Hatched restaurant in London. (Drink between 2020-2032)
Vendee, Provence. Crevettes bouquet de Bretagne, nage de poutargue, ail des ours. Shrimps from Brittany, bottarga broth, wild garlic. This was a stunning bit of raw shrimp and buttery, almost curry-like, sauce. All the dishes with sauce come with a bit of “bread” to manage the sauce — which was a good thing considering how good the sauce was.
Bretagne, Pays de la Loire. Cuite sur un pave parisien, langonstine de belle taille, laitne de mer, sabayon de sarrasin. Cooked on a Parisian pavement, nice size langoustine, sea milk, buckwheat sabayon. The shrimp was cooked table-side on a hot rock and then the elements were layered on. There were buckwheat and seaweed type flavors giving it a bit of a Japanese vibe.
Provence, Île-de-France. Tourte de pois chiche en farine de Bertrand Allais et Fontainebleau. Chickpea pie in flour from Bertrand Allais and Fontainebleau. A very light, almost sponge-cake-like, bread with a sort of whipped cream.
2012 Etienne Sauzet Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet. JG 96+. The 2012 Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet from Domaine Sauzet is a dynamite wine, offering up a deep, pure and stunning bouquet of apple, white peach, clementines, beeswax, citrus oil, chalky soil tones, apple blossoms and vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and quite concentrated, with a supremely elegant profile, a great core, crisp acids and simply stunning length and grip on the long and racy finish. This is a broad-shouldered vintage of BBM, but at the same time, the inherent elegance and grace of this terroir are still very much in evidence. A great wine in the making. (Drink between 2020-2060)
Sologne, Normandie. Bar de ligne, cuit tout doucement, beurre noir Bretagne. Line-caught bass, gently cooked, Brittany black butter. This was a spectacular dish. Basically very very tender moist white fish with a black squid butter sauce and what seemed like corn flakes. You wouldn’t think it’d be so good, but it was.
Brioche to go with it — used for mopping up.
They took me to the kitchen.
Île-de-France, Provence. Concentre de celeri rave des jardins, huile d’olive maturee. Garden celeriac concentrate, mature olive oil. The chef himself serves this shot — interesting as it tasted like celery and olive oil.
Some gorgeous foods and/or decorations.
2011 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Cuvée Duvault-Blochet. BH 91. A perfumed and very spicy nose features ripe and well-layered aromas of plum, violet, red and black pinot fruit plus hints of sandalwood. This is impressively rich with a highly seductive texture on the mid-palate as there is plenty of mouth coating dry extract, all wrapped in a complex, balanced and beautifully long finish. There is enough structure to suggest that this will need most of a decade in the cellar. (Drink starting 2020)
2017 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée St. Vivant. VM 98. A total stunner, the 2017 Romanée St. Vivant Grand Cru is the most expressive wine in the lineup today. Rich, creamy and so wonderfully textured, the RSV simply has it all. The tannins are present, but they are also matched by tremendous fruit density and pure power. Floral and savory overtones grace the lifted, saline finish. Leaving price aside, if I could only have one wine in this range, it would unquestionably be the RSV. The 2017 is a total knock-out. That’s all there is to it. This fruit was picked on September 10 and 11. (Drink between 2027-2057)
Pyrenes. Mijotes sur des coques de noix, ris de veau sucs au gout de sotolon, girolles, briffeton a la graisse. Simmered on walnut shells, veal sweetbreads with sotolon flavor, chanterelles, briffeton with fat. This was rich and delicious, very meaty with amazing mushrooms. However, it was a hell of a lot of sweatbreads. It was almost like a test of will to get through the whole lobe or whatever it is. I observed that no lady I could see in the dining room made it past the half way mark. I finished it of course.
A different Bread to mop up the sauce.
Île-de-France, Bourgogne. Brie de Meaux vielli deaux ans, moutarde. Brie de Meaux aged two years, mustard. Very very aged cheese. Delicious.
Aquitaine, Val-de-Loire. Croute de fraises fleuree de feuilles de laurier. Strawberry crust with bay leaves. A lovely little tart with unusual flavors.
Tabiti, Normandie. Mon Blanc a Manger. My Blanc a Manger. This marshmallow-like texture broke open to spill out the most delicious Crème anglaise.
Somme, Val-de-Loire, Sud Ouest, Île-de-France, Bourgogne Rhubarbe. Dans un coin du jardin. In a corner of the garden. The amuses were particularly fun.
Persil. Parsley. A bit of parsley “pudding.”
Coriandre. Coriander. Bourgeon de cassis. Blackcurrant bud.
Fraises. Strawberries. Fleurs de sureau. Elderflower. A candied or soaked strawberry with a bit of elderflower liquor.
Pavais. Paved. A kind of chocolate mouse treat.
Chartreuse. Hands down the best Chartreuse I have ever had.
Overall, this was a pretty spectacular meal. Yes it wasn’t cheap, but it was playful and delicious. Service was amazing, fully at the 2-3 star level. Table-side presentations abounded. And the wine list! It was vast and cheaper than retail and the number of by-the-glass options were impressive.
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