L’Arôme, Paris

MG_1893Despite its warm colors, I will not say that I find its modern décor (à la Jacques Garcia) particularly inviting, and I was not happy being relegated downstairs in the basement (the result of our late booking), but I am happy to say that the welcome, service, cuisine and the wine cellar at this 8th district restaurant was so gratifying that I look forward to repeating the experience, soon. You will find it at 3, r. St. Philippe du Roule, 75008 Paris, telephone:  01 42 25 55 9, I intend that to be on the more agreeable street level, where you can also have a view of the kitchen and watch an impressively large team meticulously turning out delights under the command of chef Thomas Boullault. It is also true that there was not an empty seat in the entire main salon when I arrived for my first experience. That tells you all you need to know about its success. Opened by Eric Martens in 2006, the team at l’Arôme is admirably backed by sommelier Renaud Laurent. Our meal consisted of a delectable crab and avocado starter, followed by a heavenly main course of perfectly-sautéed sea scallops served on a bed of fregola pasta prepared as a risotto with cream, parmesan and chunks of black truffle. It was completed with a fabulous grand marnier soufflé that redefined the meaning of delicacy. At 69 euros at lunch on a week day, it was a sensational value. A Pouilly Fuissé, “Secrets Minérals,” 2011 produced by Denis Jeandeau, served by the glass from an open magnum, completed our bliss. It also pushed the envelope of what I have ever known possible in the Maconnais, and it presented a complexity of aromas, from citrus to white flowers to yellow fruits. Supple, round, full, beautifully balanced, it played a symphony of flavors on the palate. Thank goodness truly great white burgundies are becoming more affordable.


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