Chez l’Ami Jean

July 16th, 2010 § 4 comments

Vegetables were scarce at a recent lunch at Chez l’Ami Jean, another marathon meal at this favorite address.

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, but not superfluous. Its salty heat actually seasoned the other elements.

The surf ‘n’ turf continued: Next was a flat black plate with sheet of wild salmon, pounded paper thin, topped with a tender slab of milk-fed veal, more of that chorizo, and some anchovies. Having eaten it, I know it worked, but reading the description now I wonder how it possibly could have.

What followed was more 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. Crisp garlands of lard lay like streamers thrown at this unexpected marriage. That little something croustillante made the dish.

Every meal I’ve had at l’Ami Jean has included sweetbreads. Today, they sat atop a seafood salad and girolles. Mushrooms are the meat of the vegetable world, so 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

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§ 4 Responses to Chez l’Ami Jean"

  • Forest says:

    We just took the carte blanche menu there a couple of weeks ago….love it! so much food I was getting stuffed after the first few courses (didn’t stop me from finishing my rice pudding though! And yes “vegetable were delightfully scarce” :)

  • Shelli says:

    I’ve always loved the food but the last time I was there the waiter made a point of discouraging me from trying anything I hadn’t had before. Each time I asked about a dish he responded “you won’t like it”. Maybe because we were speaking English and he assumed food fears. It annoyed me so much I haven’t been back for a year, but your description of the salmon, veal, chorizo and anchovy dish has me salivating. Maybe that waiter is gone…

  • Barbra says:

    Forest – I am in awe that you finished the rice pudding. It’s so good but I’ve never been able to have more than a few bites.

    Shelli – Yes, they can be…brusque. Lunch, fyi, is much more calm and relaxed than dinner. Trouble is, after lunch there it’s impossible to do much else with the day!

  • Roy says:

    I was at CLAJ this summer and had the carte blanche too. While it was quite delicious and generous, I did find that the dishes I was served were alot more conservative in excution that the examples here.

    We had a nice mushroom soup, then some steamed bay scallops, then lobster and peaches and finally the wagyu cote de boeuf. They were all execellent by any standards but still I am curious to sample combinations mentioned here.

    Is it possible that they send out a safer carte blanche for customers who are obviously not French? I am a young Singaporen and speak only a smattering of their language. Anyway I hope to return in the near future and sample a menu like yours.

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