Vegetables were delighfully scarce at my most recent meal at Chez l’Ami Jean, a series of dishes based almost entirely on the flesh of animals, four-legged, winged, finned and antenna-ed.
We ordered the €60 menu “carte-blanche”, putting ourselves in chef Stephane Jegos hands. The rosy crawfish soup that kicked things off was straightforward enough, with sweet green peas and tiny croutons floating around in the current. After that, though, came a dish of cod with foie gras, the white fish turned green by a bright parsley sauce and taking us into Dr. Seuss territory. A few favas played around the plate, and a strip of chorizo laid across everything, a colorful garnish, yes, but not superfluous, its salty heat actually seasoning the other elements.
Next, a flat black plate with sheet of wild salmon, pounded like carpaccio. On top of that, a tender slab of milk-fed veal, more of that chorizo, and some anchovies. Having eaten it, I know that it worked, but reading the description now I wonder how it possibly could have.
What followed was the most surprising: A plump lobster claw sat next to a plumper piece of boudin noir, one sweet and briny, the other thick and ferrous, both rich in their own ways. I don’t know how or why it worked but it did, perhaps in part thanks to the crisp garlands of lard that lay like streamers thrown at this unexpected marriage. That little something croustillante made a difference.
Every meal I’ve had at l’Ami Jean has included sweetbreads, and this lunch was no exception. They sat atop a seafood salad and girolles. Mushrooms being the meat of the vegetable world, I’ll call this one “turf ‘n’ surf ‘n’ turf”.
Then, as always, that bowl of rice pudding, not at all necessary but certainly appreciated, at least by me.
“This is the best food for you. The walls at Lascaux are not covered with pictures of broccoli, after all,” said the guy sitting next to us .
Maybe, but I doubt that our paleolithic ancestors had someone like Stephane Jego around to do the cooking.
Chez l’Ami Jean 27 Rue Malar, Paris 75007, +33 (0)1 47 05 86 89 website
Read more about Chez l’Ami Jean on Paris by Mouth.