Restaurant AM is a small place that offers 3 tasting menus based on the number of courses (10, 15-20, 20-30) with the courses sometimes just being one bite. The night we were there they did offer a supplemental courses with truffles (some were under a dome on the table to temp you) for 55 euros and a comté cheese with caviar for 35 euros. We chose the longest tasting and the cheese course. It sounds like a lot more food than it was; it is easily manageable because of great portion control and a fairly rapid pacing. The rustic bare wood tables with metal legs are set nicely a part and with comfortable ‘plastic string chairs’. The open kitchen is one corner of the place and music plays in the background but sound panels in the ceiling control noise levels. A few seats are available at the bar where you could interact more with the chefs. A couple windows are open to the street and the light fixtures are set to give a warm glow to the room. Servers spoke good English and were really helpful and friendly. Chef Alexandre Mazzia was in the kitchen, as he has been for 5 years, and was awarded 2 Michelin stars last February, which are a good indication of the quality of the food you’ll find here. The dishes are innovative and loaded with flavor. You’ll want to lick the plate clean in many instances. They were nice enough to give me a listing of the courses before we left but it is a surprise as you dine. If you have the opportunity to go, I would suggest you take it!
We started with a glass of champagne and then switched to wine.
The first round of tastes were presented in a group of four. Wagyu beef was seasoned with a ginger beer and red Campari (bitter). It was tender, raw and good. On a small spoon were baby grey shrimp with a barbecue sauce of chili and vinegar. They were slightly spicy and wonderful. Jerusalem artichoke purée with botarga was on a crisp chip. It has a nice essence of artichoke flavor. Parmesan, pistachio and pomegranate was in the form of 2 parmesan crisp chips filled with pistachio flavored cream. They were excellent.
The next set of three courses contained smoked eel in chocolate. The eel was creamed and in a wonderful chocolate crust. A dish of wild salmon eggs, saké, smoked milk and hazelnut was a dish of excellent flavors and textures. A crispy vegetal biscuit was topped with flowers and filled with red pepper and lemon. It was supposed to taste like the sea between a really thin set of crackers with an anise like flavor. It was wonderful but I thought it tasted more like spring.
The first bread was a round dark roll with a smoked unsalted butter accented with exotic lime. The bread was fairly light and the addition of lime was an interesting twist on things.
The next grouping included a spoon with Denti fish, beetroot, saké, and spider crab. It was nice. A bowl of couscous, orange blossom and shell fish soup was accented with a little wasabi. The shellfish soup was poured on the couscous which absorbed it to yield a texture like broken cornbread with gravy. This was comfort food in a fabulous form. The amazing textures and tastes made this one yummy. A bowl with mackerel, mussels, coconut, and beetroot was dressed with herb sauce. It was good.
Another bread loaf came with next set of tastes. It was foccacia like with a seaweed butter.
Langoustine was on a carrot purée and covered with a cassava root slice. The plate was decorated with green herb flavors and a sauce made from chicken liver, egg yolk, rice vinegar and cumin. The carrot was really sweet and good and the langoustine was cooked perfectly and also sweet and tender. It was a wonderful combination that also a nice hint of spiciness.
Crispy spinach, pike perch eggs and chili was an excellent combination of spicy and flavor in a little bun. It was fun to eat.
Chicken oysters were with a white butter saffron sauce under crispy skin. The crispy part added a nice crunch and the chicken had excellent flavor.
Asparagus and spinach were served with a duck-verbenia sauce and some Jeruselem artichoke and buckwheat water foam. This was a yummy plate filled with flavor and texture in a great combination.
One last component was a cup of shiso soup that was surprisingly spicy with a nice afterburn. It was herby and tasty.
Gamberro Rosso, or red prawn, were served almost raw with a lovely spicy component and a hint of bitterness.
Alongside was “Tropezienne” brioche stuffed with sardine and topped with grapefruit and colonatta lardo. It was great bread and the lardo added even more richness and a hint of spice came from something.
Smoked cauliflower, avocado, dragon juice (spicy carrot juice) and shellfish soup combined for a colorful plate. Some bits of crisp chicken skin added texture and flavor. Another good one.
Red mullet and tapioca were alongside wasabi ice cream. The fish was blackened and nicely cooked with good flavor. The tapioca was a Japanese pearl that popped nicely when you ate them and topped with a cassava and vegetable sauce. It was fun and tasty. The ice cream was mildly flavored and made a nice accompaniment.
The Comté cheese had been aged 36 months and was served with a dot of caviar that was aged 3 years and white chocolate on toast. The same combination was also combined with Jerusalem artichoke and lemon to produce a more liquid form. The liquid form was a bit tart whereas the toast was a wonderful combination. White chocolate and cheese go great with caviar.
A raspberry sorbet was really spiced up with something that cut the cloying taste raspberries sometimes get. It was a good transition course.
A cannelés texture cake was seasoned with coffee and topped with kiwi and hibiscus cream. It was very nice and a totally moist cake that tasted of coffee and was nicely sweetened with the toppings.
A cup held lemon, white chocolate and guava. It was amazing – lick this one clean – tart, smooth, great lemon. It worked perfectly with the sweet white chocolate and bits of crispy topping.
Last in this grouping was Matcha green tea and milk jam ice cream. It was nicely creamy and did taste like tea.
Next set included a spoon of spicy aloe vera that had a jelly texture and was nice. Slices of mango held nicely sweetened pineapple with a bit of citronella seasoning. It was odd but the sweet pineapple was so good it was hard to not like. A pineapple ice cream was seasoned with saffron and espelette pepper. It was a great combination with intense pineapple flavor in a cool and smooth texture. It left a nice burn on your lips. A bowl of chocolate was combined with turnips and bacon. The bacon was in powder form. The dish had a lot of flavor and nice texture from some cookies in it. The turnips (white disks) were a bit jarring but overall it was quite good.
Final treats were white chocolate disks filled with avocado and accented with mustard seeds. They were presented in a bowl filled with seeds that stuck to the filling and gave it nice texture. A ‘praline’ was made with sweet potato, pear and passion fruit. It was a crisp layer on the bottom that held the creamy upper parts together. The sliced fresh pear on top was sweet and good.
The usual end photo of the chef with Frankie wouldn’t work for this chef. He didn’t want to hold Frankie but would be photographed with the human component of this blog. Frankie was disappointed but I was easily cropped out.
2 thoughts on “Restaurant AM, Marseille, 3/22/19”
What a lot of work preparing so many small bites!