Saturday, November 26, 2005

Le Buisson Ardent

To celebrate my acceptance, and to have a pseudo Thanksgiving dinner, we made reservations at Le Buisson Ardent, a tiny restaurant in the 5th that is noted in the Michelin guide as a "bib gourmand" category. These are restaurants where you can eat very well with a 3 course menu for around 30€. Of the 5 Parisian restaraunts in this category that I have been to, only one has been disappointing, so if you ever pick up a Michelin guide be sure to look for the little red michelin man head. It can only lead to good things.

So, the menu. I took a photo of the outdoor one, excuse the flash:

You have the basic 3 course menu at 29€, with some supplements for a few main courses and if you want an extra cheese platter. A 4 course menu (ménu dégustation) is only 35€, including the more expensive plates that have supplements on the basic menu, and the ménu dégustation with wine pairings for each course is only 45€. Ding ding ding we have a winner. Wine pairings are ALWAYS the way to go, and rarely will you find one for this cheap. You will have the perfect wine for each course (instead of drinking only one wine for the whole meal), and it comes out to be even cheaper than a bottle of wine since the wine list started at 30€.

We started with an amuse-bouche that was some type of olive paste with bread. Not bad, but not my favorite. Next was foie gras cooked in red wine, served with a salad, mango chutney, and a red onion paste. This was served with a very sweet, cold, white wine (ahh I forget the name - I should've asked the waiter to write them all down) that reminded me of Gewurtzaminer. I don't usually like foie gras, but even I had to admit that it was good. The first main course was sautéed scallops served on a bed of julienned vegetables, served with white wine. This was my favorite dish, because I love scallops and because the vegetables were seasoned with cumin which was really good. After that came the course most closely resembling Thanksgiving, albeit on a smaller scale: Quail with foie gras stuffing served on a bed of cabbage. This was delicious. It was served with a chilled red wine, which was not as good as the other wines. It was also strange that it was chilled.

And finally, last but not least, my favorite part of any meal, dessert:

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Yum. So in the little pot is some serious dark chocolate, topped with a little petit four. In the middle is a scoop of rum raisin ice cream topped by some type of pastry and powdered sugar. And my favorite, on the left, was a slice of chocolate cake that might as well have been fudge, topped with sliced almonds. This was served with a glass of apricot sparkling wine that resembled champagne. Sadly, after 3 courses, I could not finish the slice of cake let alone all three.

Coffee afterwards - and big surprise - we got comped for glasses of cognac to end the meal! No explanations, this was NOT included in the menu, and we are not rich or old or famous or fabulous (Ok, maybe fabulous ;)).

I would definitely recommend this restaurant, and I am sure I will go back for the wine pairing menu. The food was delicious, the prices were amazing, and the service was extremely friendly.
Le Buisson Ardent, 25 rue Jussieu, 75005, Paris,
I would call ahead for reservations, although we had no problem getting a reservation on Friday, the day of.

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