A meal to remember

Dine where you will in Paris.

It enchants with unforgettable restaurants. But for a once-in-a-lifetime treat, look no further than 114 Faubourg at the elegant Le Bristol Paris, named “the best hotel in the world, 2015” in “The Gallivanter’s Guide.”

I’ve had many fabulous meals, all over the world. But I have to say that our dinner at 114 Faubourg was, hands down, the best meal I have ever eaten in my life. Anywhere.

But before I get to that, a little bit about the hotel, a world of unparalleled elegance at 112 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Le Bristol was the first hotel in France to receive the title of palace. And what a palace it is. Bursting with precious fabrics, works of art and splendid Louis XV and Louis XVI furnishings, this is a gorgeous retreat with a unique atmosphere. Take the magnificent wrought-iron elevator and cross the plush corridors and you’ll encounter exceptional rooms and suites that are spacious and chic. They, too, are the epitome of excellence.

The same applies to 114 Faubourg. You can put to rest that stereotype of the French being rude, or of ultra-luxurious hotels being stuffy. Our waiter, Clement, was gracious; our maitre d’, Patrice Jeanne, warm and charismatic.  He seemed just as thrilled to be sharing his restaurant’s experience with us as we were to be there. There were even rose petals scattered on our table. How romantic is that?

Awarded a Michelin star in 2013, 114 Faubourg has established a loyal clientele, inspiring chef Jean-Charles Cauquil to achieve new ways  to wow you. The first Monday of each month, 114 Faubourg invites gourmets and oenophiles for an evening of exploration and fine wine. Once a month, Fabien Guillemot, the sommelier, asks a vintner to present one of his wines over a four-course tasting menu. Working closely with Cauquil, the food and wine complement each other superbly.

Back to our dinner. The fantastic amuse-bouche set the stage for the elegant meal that was to come. It consisted of morels that epitomized the true essence of a mushroom, complemented with fine wine, asparagus and foam. The mesclun salad featuring shavings of aged Parmesan and black-truffle vinaigrette was luscious and served with a Vaillons Chablis Premier Cru. We started with blue lobster steamed with fennel, chestnut and celeriac, paired with an Alsace Riesling that was dry, crisp and fruity.

Now let me talk about the cod — oh my God, the cod.  It came in a light beef broth. I know that may sound strange, but it worked because it was made with cardamom. I could have created a meal just out of that sauce.  It was showcased by tasty Paimpol beans and the most delicious morsels of cabbage that I have ever tasted in my life. We also shared the confit lamb shoulder, with vegetables cooked tagine style and featuring chickpeas with cumin. Delicious, especially when indulged in with a lovely red Château Clarisse.

At this point in the dinner, every bite was my favorite.  It left me speechless and, as a writer, this is unheard of for me. Dessert? As a Nutella lover, anything containing chocolates and hazelnuts screams my name so we had to have the gianduja soufflé served with an insanely delicious Cognac ice cream that captured what Cognac tastes like — but without the alcohol, of course.  We also had to sample the vanilla Bourbon mille-feuille (also known as the Napoleon) with salted butter caramel.

The meal was a culinary thrill. Do yourself a favor: Don’t just dine there but book at least one night at Le Bristol for a transcendent experience you will never forget.

For more, visit lebristol.com. For more on Debbi, visit gorgeousglobetrotter.com and marketingauthor.com.

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