L'Atelier Maitre Albert, Paris
We recently spent ten days in Paris on what was, essentially, a food and wine trip. We enjoyed some wonderful culinary adventures, including at the Michelin starred L'Atelier Maitre Albert - a sleek, dark, sexy, romantic rotisserie restaurant headed by chefs Guy Savoy and Emmanuel Monsallier. We loved how the restaurant mixed old and new decor. It was a fantastic juxtaposition with a medieval stone fireplace (with a wood fire burning all night) and wood-beamed ceilings, modern marble floors, funky art work, and a beautiful private dining room surrounded by the restaurant's wine cellar.
The star of the restaurant (rightfully so) was the rotisserie itself, centered at the back of the restaurant. Large beef ribs and whole chickens roasted in all their glory on open display for all to see. It was really neat!
The amouse bouche was simple, but enticing. A warm pumpkin soup with charcuterie and a sweet cracker. Just enough to get your appetite going (as if the heavenly smells wafting from the rotisserie didn't do that already)!
Knowing our meal would be roasted-meat centric, we opted for a red Chateauneuf-du-Pape. A 2012 vintage, the Chateau Mont-Redon was drinking really well, and opened up throughout the evening. Very fruit-forward at first, with bright notes of fresh fruits like black cherry and blackberry, spice notes crept in at the end to give this some body and balance. The acidity was the perfect foil for the rich meat dishes which were ahead.
For an appetizer, we started with the grilled scallops, beautifully presented over a squash puree with slightly wilted romaine and two sweet potato chips to provide some crunch. We were surprised that the scallops were still perfectly cooked, despite being on the smaller side. Difficult to do, let us tell you--2 seconds too long on one side, and they're rubbery!
If there is anything fois-gras related on a menu, that's Cameron's go-to. So we naturally had to order the terrine de foie gras. The texture was perfect, although Natalie found the fatty consume (yellow layer) a bit too much. The quince chutney and frissee salad were both lovely counterpoints to the richness and decadence of the foie gras. Oh, and the crunchy house-made toast points were pretty yummy too!
Now onto the true stars of the show - the meat courses! We loved how simple the preparations were for all three of our selections. The meats were perfectly cooked, served in a light broth from their drippings and a simple green onion. We started with the pigeon, and the meat literally fell off the bones. It was rich, fatty, and scrumptious.
Next, we had the roasted duck breast. It was cooked medium-rare, just the way it should be, and was seasoned simply and perfectly. It was tender, had crispy skin, and just the right balance of the gamey flavors of the breast meat with the succulent goodness of the fat cap. Mmmmmm.
Last, we had the Beef Rib "Charolaise," served in a rich almost demi-glaze type sauce. This was so heavy, but so so good. If you get nothing else, get the beef rib.
We ordered the roasted pumpkin and the roasted mushrooms as a-la-carte sides. Both were served in cast iron skillets, and had a nice-enough presentation. They were OK, but neither were life changing. At the end of the day, we thought they were largely unnecessary. We'd rather have more meat!
We did really enjoy the desserts we ordered though. Erring on the lighter side since we were so happily full, Cameron went with a spit-roasted pear served with a vanilla coffee ice cream, and Natalie went with spit-roasted mango with chocolate ice cream. Both were perfect endings to a rich meal!
We highly recommend L'Atelier Maitre Albert for a hearty, traditional, yet still decadent meal. We always say, if a restaurant is going to serve simple fare, it absolutely must be executed perfectly. That's what Guy Savoy does at most of his restaurants, and this was no different. Yes, it's just roasted meat. However, it's some of the best roasted meat you'll have in France!