Cézembre

Fishing for (and Catching) Superlatives

October 12, 2016By Heidi EllisonRestaurants
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Cézembre’s dining room.

It takes a talented cook to get me excited about any kind of fish other than shellfish, and Breton chef Anthony Hamon at Cézembre knows how to do it. You won’t find any boring, overcooked fillets here.

The restaurant itself seems rather uninteresting decor-wise, but a close look reveals that what appears at first glance to be a monochrome wall is really a subtly painted seascape, reflected in mirrors on the opposite wall. That’s about it in terms of decoration, apart from a string of LED lightbulbs.

The food is as fancy as the interior is plain. At lunchtime we were offered two courses for €24 and three for €28, pretty reasonable prices considering what we ate.

We all started with a stunningly good langoustine gratin with parsnip purée and langoustine foam, jazzed up with chives,

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shiitake mushrooms and discreet contrasting slivers of chorizo (which many French chefs use too heavily in fish dishes, I suppose to appease meat lovers and for its contrasting strong flavor).

For the main course, we were given a choice between fish and chicken. The succulent hake fillet was served on a perfect risotto made with

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fish soup and accompanied by seasonal vegetables and horn of plenty mushrooms. Divine.

The slow-cooked chicken breast in veal jus

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came with the same veggies and eggplant caviar, and was also succulent and pleasing. If you eat at Cézembre, however, I do recommend the fish.

Dessert was a heavenly combination of

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poached pear, coffee-flavored cream, caramelized peanuts, kiwi and salted caramel ice cream.

This was a dream of a lunch. I have only one complaint: while my companions were thankful that the portions were small, I didn’t feel I got enough to eat even though I supplemented the meal with a few pieces of the excellent bread; I was hungry again a couple of hours later. Still, I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to try more of chef Hamon’s superlative cooking.

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