Le Pré Catelan is in a rental conference building that dates back to 1935. It was a casino in the days before it became a restaurant that now holds a 3 Michelin star rating. The elegant room is set with large tables covered first with a floor length beige satin cloth and then covered with a white linen one. Music is in the background, heavy drapes are beside the windows that look out on the lighted landscaped grounds. The green carpet makes a nice contrast with the white marble parts of the wall. Lots of sculpted plaster adorns the walls with lowered lighting in the room and an huge chandelier hangs in the center of the room over the small service table. Candlelight is from the long stemmed candles on each table. A couple of the tables near the windows are set with rounded couches opposite the chairs but otherwise the tables are appointed with comfortable arm chairs. The room exudes class and only holds 10 tables, but the service is nicely friendly and welcoming, not stiff or too formal. Perhaps they detected my preference? The menu is a la carte with one tasting menu option. Both pacing and portion control were good.
As we looked over our choices they brought the champagne cart filled with lovely, yet pricy choices. We had a glass of the rosé and it was a generous pour and properly chilled.
We chose the tasting menu and it started with an amuse bouche of beet, meringue and lemon zest. It was really good with a surprising amount of flavor.
Bread service was a basket of baguettes and wheat rolls served with both salted and unsalted butter, one having the name imprinted on it. The butters were great as were the breads, with a crisp crust and soft, chewy interior.
The next snack was a chestnut velouté with chestnut purée, bread and parmesan. It had an excellent flavor and texture. The bread had come just in time so no drop was wasted.
The tasting started with a crab soup with fennel served with a spoon of white cream. It was full of crab meat and other wonderful flavors. Aside the soup was a dish of French caviar with lemon zest. More lovely crab was waiting below the caviar and they were a terrific blend of tastes and textures. They really accented one another.
La tartelette was a crispy tart of onion confit, wild mushrooms and their jus. It was a very thin crisp shell packed with mushroom pieces and sweet onion flavor and cheese. It was tasty and savory and a good enough size so you could enjoy several bites. Great one.
Langoustine was served in a ravioli pasta with a cream of foie gras and fine gold leaf jelly on top. The totally rich sauce was splendid with the perfectly cooked langoustine wrapped in a super thin pasta. It was luscious with wonderful flavor and an amazingly good richness.
Salmon was smoked in cherry tree wood then prepared confit style and served with fresh wasabi cream. It was topped with caviar. Delicious, silky goodness in this one with a really fine sauce that accented the flavor but didn’t overwhelm it. Another good one.
Veal sweetbreads were cooked in a casserole and served aside onion soup ‘en gelée’, with Cep mushrooms and old parmesan. The sweetbreads were lightly caramelized and cooked perfectly with a heavily reduced sauce that brought out the best of both parts. The custard on the side was really savory with lots of parmesan and onion flavors. It combined well with the sweetbread or was great on its own. Simple plates that were packed with flavor and goodness.
Cheese fresh and aged was next from the good selection on the cart brought to the table. Your choices were served with some toasted bread. All the cheeses were excellent.
Fresh citrus was with mandarin marmelade, grapefruit confit, lemon sorbet and Kalamansi zest. The citrus included candied orange peel, fresh orange, kumquat, grapefruit and lemon and they were in the dish with a sculpted scoop of lemon sorbet. The fruit was blended with a sugar syrup that made them all burst with flavor. It was a wonderful combination.
Coffee, creamy, buckwheat Gavotte, expresso ice cream, aniseed (fennel) caramel was the second dessert. Some super thin crisp cookies were formed in a cylinder and filled with creams and caramel with a crispy cookie bottom. It was a good blending of flavors and textures. Not too rich but plenty sweet with enough good flavor to satisfy any sweet-tooth.
The final treat was the dessert cart that was filled with baked sweets of vanilla, chocolate, honey and lemon. The lemon had a little sugar topping that made it really good. The vanilla had a very crispy edge and the honey was good too. None were too sweet but then served with a dish of caramel to dip into or drizzle on them.