PRICE PAID: $425 PP (LIST PRICE- PRE-CHALLENGE)
FINAL SCORE: 8.0/10
Set in unreal surroundings- the French national mint- Guy Savoy's European branch puts on a hell of a show on the plate. The US version, by the way, is in Vegas.
Come early, because you 1) have to get past a handful of guards with guns, and 2) you have to take a lot of steps to get there. Luckily, they left a lot of signs:
The restaurant is located in what used to be the office of the Mint's President. How subtle.
Guy Savoy offers two, similarly-priced menus: The Product Menu, and the Colors, Textures, and Savors menu, which is slightly larger. I opted for the CTS; a four-hour experience that was paced in a leisurely fashion. Service from Denis and Michel was extremely attentive and formal- to my far left in the dining room were some important elected officials, and the rest of the crowd glanced at their watches with a certain the-private-jet-is-idling-at-Charles-de-Gaulle-goddammit look to them.
First bites were a torchon of foie gras with cold courgette soup. The torchon is extremely rich and meant to pair with the intro champagne- the culinary equivalent of a warm handshake. The soup is zesty and refreshing on a hot day, the culinary equivalent of nice air conditioning to accompany said handshake. Tiny crisp under the plate is playful and delicious. 8/10, good opener dish.
Another small intro bite- the small crisp under the main plate.
The first dish is cucumbers- soft, with an almost waxy consistency. The tiny, delicately placed crumbs are soldered-on with a rich sauce that lends structure. Fun dish. 8/10.
This second dish really amped things up by a few notches. Caviar with courgette leaf crisps and egg custard. Cucumbers beneath followed by a larger ring of cucumber.
Each egg was explosively fresh. This dish is totally transcendent- three different types of caviar that each work well together or alone. Outstanding presentation- 10/10. The crisps don't add much and represent the wrong season but I don't care.
For the third course, we switch gears into vegetables with peas & egg. Those two ingredients work terrifically, but this is a heavy dish. The egg had a jelly-fish-like appearance, and check out those colors! 8/10.
After an already filling setup into the main dishes, I have to be honest when I say that an enormous half-lobster was not what I expected next. And yet.
Chanterelles in the main body are a nice touch. The onions are soft and French-onion-soup-like in character and texture.
Have you ever bought a fresh-boiled lobster from a roadside stand, and tried to consume it standing up? It's messy. So was this, which was a weird experience in such a nice place. 7/10. I'm not saying I stood up while I ate it.
This mussels dish was announced as the chef's specialty. As seafoody and ocean-y as it gets, like a delicious rich mud. 8/10.
Here's where we reach the height of richness- mushrooms, huge slices of black truffles, and Parmesan cheese gathered together in one soup. It comes with a mushroom brioche to go with- truly decadent; 9/10.
Here come the Laguiole steak knives. This next course- a veal cutlet- is brought by the table so you can see it before they serve it. Cutlet, liver, and sweetbreads are a massive, filling finale of the main courses. 8/10
As a nice wind-down, some warm Burgundian cheese with an almost almond and chocolate flavor. The sandwich is crunchy and has a light flavor of watercress. 9/10.
An extremely awesome marshmallow and meringue. Nothing to say but 10/10.
This dessert totally blew me away: dried, frozen, and fresh strawberries all together in a tart. Great combo of temps, flavors, textures. Super amazing dessert dish. 10/10.
"All-Black" chocolate dessert. With cardamom. 9/10.
Lastly, a choose your own adventure dessert cart. Cheesecake, melon sorbet, chocolate mousse. 9/10, great cart.