We last visited La Paix 2 years ago. Since then they have been elevated to a 2 star Michelin rating. The beautiful origami bird sculpture still graces the 1892 dining room built in a retired bank that processed the money from the meat slaughterhouses across the street. Chef David Martin was in the kitchen and while he has changed the hours and days the food is still of great quality and flavor. I recommend you visit here if you can. The tasting menu changes every couple months but individual dishes change with availability and seasons. His staff, along with his partner Nathalie Obbiet, could not have made us feel more welcome. They offer a 6 course tasting only on Thursday and Friday evenings and lunch Tuesday through Friday. The large open kitchen is at the back of the room and one side is filled with an old bar that serves as a service area, not for seating, and stocks a full bar. The large fish tanks have moved into the center of the room for all to easily admire the size of the crabs and lobsters. The bare wood tables are nicely spaced and most include a side service table so crowding is not an issue. The old wood floor is gorgeous and the lighting is lowered but far from dim. Pacing was great as was the portion control of the tasting.
We started our meal with a Negroni cocktail while we looked over the wine list and chatted about the changes with the super friendly server who remembered Frankie (who could forget her?). Some amuse bouche were first – a glass to breathe in the essence of crab was filled with hot and cold bisque of King crab. It had flavors of caramel and coffee with a bit of spice and curry. It was rich and delicious and served alongside head meat of mackerel wrapped in lightly poached spinach and beside shellfish cream. There was a dark dab on the spinach that was tart and fruity and perfect to blend with the shellfish cream. Mixed together with the spinach and mackerel it was great.
A house made cheesecake was made with blue cheese, a base of grilled parmesan and a topping gel of peas. The juice of dried raspberries was on the side as well as some fresh peas. It was a wonderful and unique combination of ingredients. The ultra fresh peas went great with the parmesan crust and were not overshadowed as the blue cheese was a mild variety. Delicious and I loved the color too.
Bread was pieces of baguette that were warm and crusty. They were served with a selection of butters – salted, rosemary and porcini mushroom. All were good as was the bread.
The tasting started with blue crab mixed with French botarga. White asparagus was dressed with a cold rhubarb vinaigrette. The dressing on the asparagus completely took away any bitter taste and was a delicious combination. It came off a bit like dried apricot and also worked well with the crab. The sweet crab was nice and the botarga added a chewy texture to the moist dish. This was a wonderful plate.
While waiting for the next course they brought around the lamb that was to be included in a dish to come. The lamb was pan roasted with rosemary and garlic heads and basted with butter on the stove top.
A gyoza filled with pork was beside an artichoke topped with a Brittany langoustine souffle and further topped with Bulgarian caviar. A broth of smoked pork, sake and garlic were added to the plate at the table. It was excellent.
Blue lobster tail from Brittany was poached in olive oil and then served with a sauce made from lobster, butter and anchovy. Along with it was radish sliced on burrata. The lobster was perfectly cooked and succulent with the rich lovely sauce. It all blended nicely with the soft cheese and radish, of the same color as the lobster. Precise cooking of lobster will leave it tender and super moist as this one was. Another really good dish.
Lamb was pieces from the breast and the belly and plated with green asparagus from Provence and potato topped with shiitake powder with sweet onion and fresh goat cheese. The lamb belly was nicely crisped on top and full of flavor. Some lamb jus had all the flavor of roast lamb and perfectly accented the rare saddle piece. Chef added in one of the roasted heads of garlic as I’d remarked how lovely they looked when the lamb was brought out to show. The asparagus was perfect but the star here was the piece of lamb belly – it sang.
A piece of pineapple cooked in butter, blue vanilla, black tea and licorice sticks was then passed around to see in its whole form. The bottom juices were a sticky wonderful looking caramelized goo.
In the meantime we had a hot and cold soufflé made with passion fruit from Viet Nam and Kyoto miso salt. The passion fruit sorbet was inside the bottom portion and topped with meringue that was topped with toasted nuts. A crispy top with 2 soft pieces of bottom – like a baked Alaska – it had hot and cold parts in the sweet and tart mix of ingredients. I ate every bite.
The pineapple then came out topped with vanilla ice cream and plated with vanilla creme patisserie in pastry (like mille-feuille). A black dot of chestnut finished the plate along with a bit of orange caramel sauce. The pastry and custardy cream were amazing, yum x3. The pineapple was soft, sweet and went great with the ice cream and caramel. It was a truly excellent dessert plate.
Lastly was a blueberry sorbet made with yogurt, a French strawberry and a black cherry cake from Basque lard. The strawberry was exquisite, the sorbet mild and the stuffed cake lovely. An awesome finish to a really fine meal.