l’Angle du Faubourg – Tthis establishment serves as a “second” restaurant to the famous Taillevent. The interior is, unsurprisingly, gorgeous, with a sleek, modern design in vivid yet comforting colors. Its lineage, however, is indicated by the fact that we have no fewer than four simultaneous greeters at the front door. It’s also dressy, as befits the restaurant and the neighborhood, but one randomly-entering quartet of Brits in jeans and sweatshirts is seated without complaint or comment. Nonetheless, I don’t feel out of place in suit and tie. In unfortunately typical one-star fashion these days, the clientele seems to be about half French and half foreign; add two stars, and I suspect the ratio would tip precipitously towards the visiting team.
Service is in the classic upscale French mode, and it must be said that our sommelière is kinda hot (albeit severe and angular; she looks like she might hurt the bottles), which Theresa teases me about for the rest of the evening. The wine list is full of youngsters and a bit pricey, but what’s most noticeable is how much stronger it is for reds than for whites. We both choose a tasting menu at a fairly reasonable € 70; and, of course, we’re compelled by the food to order a white.
The amuse is a delicious “shot” of tomato essence and fennel cream, which is followed by a creamy soup heavy with chestnuts. This, too, is excellent, but surprisingly similar to the amuse. And the next course is…one can see it coming…a cream-laden risotto with a twirl of ham. It’s all very good, but it’s a bit of a parody of classic French cuisine.
The next course at first seems to offer a little respite from dairy: crispy dorade with nicely-cooked (not overcooked) vegetables, but it again everything rests in a cream-based sauce. What’s going on here? Was there a national cream surplus resulting in some sort of government-funded buyback program?
With a heavenly slab of foie gras poached in Banyuls (thankfully free of any suspiciously white sauces), I ask our somewhat munchable sommelière if there’s a glass of Banyuls that might go better with it than our Condrieu. I don’t get one. Instead, she launches into a mini-soliloquy, explaining that what I really want is a dry red wine. Well, no I don’t…but she does seem convinced. I finally consent. It’s just as well she doesn’t return to inquire after the pairing, because it’s awful. We appear to have lost the love, the hottie sommelière and I. Anyway, there’s a stunning Brebis (one perfect cheese, full of a surprising minerality, and something that goes a lot better with the Côtes-de-Provence than the foie gras), a fruity sorbet-like sphere, and a concoction that tastes like a volumetric expansion of a chocolate-covered espresso bean with a plethora of fried, crispy things sprinkled around the plate: banana, parsley, etc. I’m not sure it works; it feels like a grocery cart accident more than a fully-conceptualized dessert. A fine coffee brings the curtain down on the evening. (4/06)
Copyright © Thor Iverson