La Table de Joël Robuchon
A brilliant meal at one of Joël Robuchon's restaurants in Paris, the food was exquisite, ranging from the extraordinary potato dish with foie gras and black truffles, to the wonderfully fresh, vibrant rouget, to his tour de force, the caramelized caille with black truffles.
The Champagne worked well, but the finest wine was the Grange des Pères (Syrah). It revealed a wonderful texture along with big, complex, peppery, cassis and truffle notes (or was that from the food?), and a medium to full-bodied, long finish. This is a plain, modern restaurant, with the brilliance of Robuchon obviously present, although he was not present in the kitchen when I was there.
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Petit Louis Bistro
A lookalike, authentic French bistro, Petit Louis in Baltimore's Roland Park is the creation of restauranteurs par excellence Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman. You feel like you’ve walked into a bistro on the Left Bank of Paris when you enter Petit Louis. The food is classic bistro, and they do it well. All of the courses we had were flavorful, sometimes a trifle rustic, but delicious in their intensity. This was good comfort food prepared extremely well. The wines started with one of the major surprises for me over the last year, the 2006 sparking wine from Tony Soter in Oregon. I had this several times while I was out visiting Oregon, and I had always been impressed, but this is a 10-year-old sparking Rosé that is just sensational, and I’m talking world class—it’s that good. Something this good from France would cost at least two to three times as much, so kudos to Tony Soter. The 1995 Billaud-Simon Chablis Mont de Milieu was oxidized and undrinkable. The 1996 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos St. Urbain Rangen de Thann was sweet, and although it went well with the foie gras, it was just a little too unctuous and sweet a wine...