Once inside, you won’t want to leave the premises.
The working premise of this review is that if you eat at Prémices, you are sure to have an excellent dining experience. The restaurant’s decor is the first sign that you are in for something a cut above: it’s simple but elegant, with bare stone walls, an assortment of variously shaped black light fixtures and crystal shades casting spangles of light around the room, with its white-clothed tables.
The friendly waiter with a gentlemanly air brought us not one but two amuses bouches while we sipped a glass of Champagne. The
first was a spoonful of black venere rice with truffled butter and wild mushrooms, and the second a little glass of Jerusalem artichoke soup with cauliflower emulsion sprinkled with bits of grison (dried beef). Both were exquisite delights that gave us a hint of what the chef was capable of.
Our first courses confirmed our expectations – and how! My friend and I couldn’t stop “mmm”ing as he tucked into his pan-fried foie
gras served in a pool of pumpkin soup with bits of chorizo, and I went into ecstasy over a delicious, deeply satisfying lobster bisque (called lobster cappuccino on the menu). It came with a small piece of toast topped with
fresh lobster brightened with lime, the perfect contrast to the rich soup. Neither of us wanted to give up our dish, even though we had decided to share everything half and half. We forced ourselves, however, and were glad we did since we then got to try two fantastic starters.
We later learned that the chef, Alexandre Weill, had been a banker who gave it all up and retrained as a chef at the Ecole Ferrandi before practicing his new profession at a number of top restaurants. Perhaps his expensive tastes date from his banking days: lobster also featured as a main course on the menu, which offers two fish choices and two meat choices, all of them at €35. We ordered one of each, passing up the ris de veau (veal sweetbreads) and St. Pierre (John Dory) in favor of the lobster and fillet of beef.
The half lobster came with chanterelle mushrooms, carrots and a lobster emulsion
flavored with lemongrass and ginger. It was excellent. The beef, while flavorful, was a tough chew. All in all, we were more pleased with the stunning first courses than with the mains, although the lobster was lovely and the quality of the ingredients incontestable.
From the list of four desserts, we chose the
millefeuille with vanilla cream and caramel ice cream and the grapefruit tart with wasabi-ginger ice cream. Both were perfectly executed, the first luscious and soothing, and the second intriguing with its mix of acidity, sweetness and gentle heat from the wasabi flavoring.
The waiter maintained his amiable, solicitous demeanor throughout the evening. He did occasionally seem a bit overstretched, however, and I wondered how he would manage if the restaurant were full.
Prémices is on the pricey side, but you can be sure you will get your money’s worth.
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