It doesn’t look like much, does it? If ever there was a case for not judging a book by its cover, this is it. And I won’t detract from the stress I place on the quality by going straight to the cost. Let me begin with the food that Stéphane Rocher creates. My sister and I ate there twice. The list of our dishes looks like this:
- Duck foie gras, sliced saucisson de Lyon with pistachios, and Brussels sprouts in broth — STRANGE and FABULOUS.
- Warm roasted red peppers and chevre in alternating layers served with lightly dressed lettuce in one corner of the plate and thinly sliced jambon de Vendée (ham from the Vendée).
- Roasted quails in light, creamy sauce with cèpes (otherwise known as porcini mushrooms) accompanied by a small gratin dauphinoise (potato gratin), made with a cream that made me want to lick the dish.
- Duck confit roasted for 7 hours with roasted potatoes and garlic, but right before he brought it to table M. Rocher placed a thin slice of terrine de foie gras on top that melted like butter.
That was the first dinner. You get the idea. An interesting blend of tradition, innovation, and coronary disease. In a perfect world, I’d eat a meal like this once a month.
The second meal equally delighted us.
- Ravioli de Roman, small ravioli in a light cream sauce made with chicken broth and topped with slivers of dark burgundy-colored jambon de Vendée.
- Queue de boeuf (shredded meat from the tail) formed into a patty, lightly fried, topped with a thin slice of terrine de foie gras de canard, and accompanied by delicately dressed lettuce.
- Veal chop in velouté de cèpes (mushroom cream sauce) served with a portion of lentils lightly perfumed with truffle oil and a small gratin dauphinois. I thought this dish was outstanding.
- Roasted pidgeon on sauteed shallots, roasted chestnuts and puréed celeriac. Pidgeon breast is better than sliced duck breast, in my opinion.
Now for the price. Rocher has set two prices: a starter and main course cost 28 euros; a starter, main course, and dessert run 33 euros. That is a bargain by any standard.
I fear by posting this I may be poisoning the well. However, Rocher deserves to succeed in his endeavor. A quick search on google informs me that the secret is already out. But we were seated immediately on a Tuesday night and a Thursday night without reservations (ok, I got there at 7:30, I admit).
If you are saving yourself for one good splurge that will send you home well satisfied and full, go here — if you can find it. You will need a good map, even though it’s in the heart of Paris at the top of the Marais, near the metro stop, Arts et Métiers. 6, rue des Fontaines du Temple.