Friday, August 27, 2010

Anne Sophie Pic's, Valence, August 14, 2010

This is one of the most accomplished meals I have ever had. Literally everything from the reception to the coffee at the end of the meal was genuinely three star. Inventive without being unnecessarily fancy, this was food at the very highest level possible. The worst I can say about the experience is that he Tourteau was not as good as the rest of the food.

The Amuse Bouche was a foie gras creme brule with grapefruit mousseline. This is normally a dish I find quite boring so I was very disappointed to see it put in front of me in a restaurant that I have very high hopes for but this was the finest example of the kind I have ever had. Partially this was due to the fg creme brule being made with an exceptionally light touch but more importantly the mousseline was an inspired accompaniment. Mousseline just means light mousse, however, combined with an ever so slight taste of grapefruit it completely cut trough the fattiness of the fg for a melt in the mouth combination.

The anchovies where a very feminine dish that relied completely on all the ingredients complementing each other perfectly. Individually, the ingredients would not have impressed but put together they where perfection. Strong anchovies, soft fresh cucumber, tiny bit of fat from the colonnata and just a bit of taste from the tomato and beurre blanc based sauce. Very difficult to describe but incredibly sophisticated.

The Saint Pierre or John Dory was also incredibly accomplished. In theory a simple dish of some steamed John Dory and anis flavored beurre blanc but in fact the dish was absolute perfection. The fish had been prepared in sous vide at 50 degrees for over one hour which left it cooked but pink and not flaky at all. I am not sure I have ever had braised or slow cooked fish before but that is what it was and the result was very surprising. The combination with the anis flavor and richness of the beurre blanc was perfection.

I was very scared of taking a 24 year old Croze Hermitage as that is usually a bit beyond their tolerance but the solid producer and the strong recommendation of the sommelier made me take the plunge. Although the wine does not have many years left in it I was rewarded with an excellent and highly complex drink.

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