ASPIC has 11 small rustic wood tables in one room with subdued lighting and the tiniest napkins ever. You can see the chef and kitchen through a door opening into the dining room where they prepare a surprise 7-course tasting menu everyone receives. Heavenly aromas occasionally waft into the room from this opening. Reservations are staggered as it Chef Quentin Giroud is doing the cooking and he likes to have time to come out and present some of the courses.
A tasty plate of pancetta with fennel is placed on the table along with bread for snacking while preparing for the meal to begin. The bread had a moist chewy center and great crisp crust. The butter is accented with citrus flavors.
Our menu started with a warm pumpkin soup with almond and cheese flavorings. It was not too thick and the cheese was still runny inside the liquid. The almonds added an interesting crunch and flavor to the simple, clean taste of the soup.
The octopus was served with a cashew nut pesto, herbs, and pickled red onions – all with fairly mild tastes. The smear on the plate actually had the most flavor but overall this nice combination was mild.
The roasted Carrelet fish was served with broccoli mashed potatoes, fried capers and cockle foam. (Carrelet is similar to sole and is a flat fish) The nice crispy skin on the white fish was lovely and the capers provided the needed saltiness. The cockle foam added a wonderful richness to the fish as did the butter it was sautéed in.
The celeriac was roasted in butter and then adorned with toasted nuts, shiitakes, cabbage, and a vegetable sauce. The scattering of ingredients all yielded different great flavors and textures. Some added crunch and the sauce added a savoriness to the dish. A nice one!
The beef course was from meat that had been aged 50 days with a small fat cap that gave the meat a needed juiciness. It was served with spinach and mushrooms and mashed potatoes. The roasting juices were flavored with dill. That sauce and the potatoes were my favorites in this course.
The cheese course was made from roquefort cheese on plum chutney on nut crackers. The cheese was more like a mousse and amazingly mellow for roquefort. It was another simple dish that was totally great. The crispy crackers were full of flavor and well balanced with the toppings. A winner!
We ended with a millefeuille that was loaded with diplomat cream- a créme patissiere mixed with whipped cream and Madagascar vanilla – and all coated with caramel. Additional caramel streaked the plate and there were dots of extra diplomat cream. Wow! Buttery crisp pastry, sweet caramel and rich cream is a perfect combination. This was a Yum x3. A great way to end the meal.
We ended with a world class cognac suggested by the chef and enjoyed some tasty fennel cakes and lemon curd on buttery crust in addition. A terrific meal which was made even better by having a chance to chat with the chef afterwards. He was in finance before becoming a private chef and instructor, following the passion of his French mother. Since starting his own restaurant he has worked at Clove Club in London as well as Akrame and Pirouette in Paris, to name a few.