L’Ami Jean is a fair sized place which is really crowded at dinner. Lunch was much nicer. The tables were still tiny and very close but there were enough empty ones to not feel claustrophobic and at 38 euros it is a good value to try the place. The day we visited they were having power issues and Chef Stéphane Jégo was outside trying to find a solution. It didn’t effect critical cooking equipment and so one of his kitchen staff took over the lunch service. The staff are very conversant in English but service is always a bit hurried and then they’ll throw in a friendly remark. I missed having Chef making remarks during the meal. Since we were there he has changed a lot of the decorations to reflect the trauma the Paris people have been going through with terrorism attacks.
Our meal started with one of his standards, parmesan cheese soup. The bowl arrives with bunches of crunchies and flavorful bits in it and then the pitcher comes to pour on the broth. It is tasty stuff with onions, bits of toast and lots of flavor. It is a perfect creaminess – not thick or pasty. Just delicious, you’ll soak up every bit with the crusty wheat bread they bring to the table.
The orzo risotto is made with squid ribbons and was mild but really tasty. I liked the variety of textures and lettuce that was imbedded in it. A lovely offering.
The scallops and radish were on top of Jerusalem artichokes. There was some crunchy stuff on this plate too but in this case it tasted more burnt and bitter. The scallops were perfectly cooked but too mildly flavored. Nothing wrong here, just no intensity.
The veal cheeks had been cooked over 7 hours and were served with a pumpkin smear and smoked turnips pieces. The meat was amazingly fall-apart tender without being overly fatty and the sauce totally rich. The turnips were also really good and this time the crispy bits added a nice salty seasoning. It was served with a bowl of creamy, lovely mashed potatoes which they offered to refill if we wanted and of course we wanted that!
The meal finished with chef’s famous rice pudding which is creamy and rich. It is served with two additions, toasted nuts and crunchies and caramel cream, and both are delicious and work in nicely with the pudding. They add texture and sweetness which make a good dish even better. Yum!