France- Guy Savoy- ✪✪✪

 Entering the French Mint, en route to Guy Savoy

Entering the French Mint, en route to Guy Savoy

PARIS, FRANCE

SERVICE: 9/10

FOOD: 8.5/10

PRICE PAID: $425 PP (LIST PRICE- PRE-CHALLENGE)

VALUE/MONEY: 7.0/10

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.

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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.

 First bites: Torchon of Foie Gras

First bites: Torchon of Foie Gras

 First Bites: Cold Courgette Soup

First Bites: Cold Courgette Soup

Another small intro bite- the small crisp under the main plate. 

 First bites: Wheat crisp with Tomato and Pesto

First bites: Wheat crisp with Tomato and Pesto

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.

 1st Course: Cucumbers, 8/10

1st Course: Cucumbers, 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. 

 2nd Course: Caviar, 10/10

2nd Course: Caviar, 10/10

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.

 3rd Course: Peas & Egg, 8/10

3rd Course: Peas & Egg, 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. 

 4th Course: An Enormous Lobster, 7/10

4th Course: An Enormous Lobster, 7/10

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.

 5th Course: Mussels, 8/10

5th Course: Mussels, 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. 

 6th Course: Mushroom & Truffle Soup, 9/10

6th Course: Mushroom & Truffle Soup, 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

 7th Course: Veal Cutlet, Liver, Sweetbreads, 8/10

7th Course: Veal Cutlet, Liver, Sweetbreads, 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. 

 8th Course: Burgundian Cheese, 9/10

8th Course: Burgundian Cheese, 9/10

An extremely awesome marshmallow and meringue. Nothing to say but 10/10.

 9th Course: Pre-dessert Marshmallow, 10/10

9th Course: Pre-dessert Marshmallow, 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.

 10th Course: Strawberry tart, 10/10

10th Course: Strawberry tart, 10/10

"All-Black" chocolate dessert. With cardamom. 9/10.

 11th Course: "All-Black" Chocolate & Cardamom, 9/10

11th Course: "All-Black" Chocolate & Cardamom, 9/10

Lastly, a choose your own adventure dessert cart. Cheesecake, melon sorbet, chocolate mousse. 9/10, great cart.

 12th Course- Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Cart, 9/10

12th Course- Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Cart, 9/10