Louis has a pretty interior and elegant food.
At last, a meal I could really get my teeth into and enjoy down to the last bite. Where? Louis, the new restaurant of Stéphane Pitré in the ninth arrondissement. The tiny place (seats 24) has been charmingly done up in white and shades of blue. The chef, who personally delivered each dish and explained its ingredients to us, was equally charming. A native of Brittany, he has notably worked at the London Ritz and with Alain Senderens in Paris.
I chose the €48 tasting menu, which comes with six courses, while my two friends decided on the €32 three-course lunch menu. I promised to share my extra courses with them as long as they let me taste theirs.
We all received three amuses bouches attractively served on a rectangle of white stone: a cube of toasted brioche flavored with turmeric (sublime!), to be dipped into a tiny bowl of fine olive oil; raisins de mer (cuttlefish
eggs) on an oyster leaf (a mild taste of the sea); and an intensely flavored Parmesan cracker topped with Camembert cream, a slice of white truffle and a sprinkling of cocoa (divine!).
I am going to run out of superlatives soon, and I haven’t even gotten to the starters, but I shall press on. Just assume that everything was superb, since I really have nothing to criticize. My next course was delicious duck raviolo
spiced up with lots of fresh ginger and floating in a pool of shiitake-flavored broth. Then came my friends’ first course, a beautiful beet soup, a
sort of very refined borscht, with chunks of yellow and red beets in it and a scoop of cream on top. I had what might be described as a
deconstructed version of the soup: the colored beets with white and black raspberries, jelly of rhubarb and vibrant lemon verbena leaves.
Next up on the six-course menu was slow-cooked lotte (monkfish) in a vinegary (perfectly balanced) broth with unidentified
crunchy bits on top to add another texture.
Then, while I enjoyed my wonderful rare beef
with slivered cucumber and a wasabi-flavored sauce, my friends had their main course: tender lamb served with shallots roasted in
their skin, tiny potatoes and gravy.
Time for the “pre-dessert”: a steam-cooked “baba” soaked in a turmeric and cardamom sauce, and served in little bottles with corks.
Sounds strange, but it was one of the best desserts ever, although the next, real, dessert was a very close second: a tart lemon cream
topped with a tuile (a fine cookie) alongside subtle thyme-flavored ice cream on a round of meringue, with candied orange peel on the side. A brilliant combination.
It wasn’t over yet. With our coffee we were
served perfect chocolate truffles and pistachio financiers with an intense cherry center, served on top of a layer of chopped cocoa beans.
Then, when we thought the meal really was
over, the chef came out with an oversized bottle of Couderc prune eau de vie and poured out complimentary glasses for us.
One of my friends declared that it was the best meal she’d had in a year, high praise from a woman who eats out very often in Paris. She was reminded of the Asian-influenced cuisine of Ze Kitchen Galerie, more high praise.
What more can I say besides “go!” To paraphrase the song “Louie, Louie,” “A fine little meal is waiting for you…”