Paris: Benoit by Alain Ducasse (1☆ Michelin)

My first Michelin star experience!

I made reservations through their website, which was easy enough and received confirmation shortly. Smack in the middle of the city, it is relatively breezy to locate the restaurant (I let Vinnie navigate... :) I know better than to let myself do it!)

Service was friendly, the manager a cheerful man in his 40s who seemed delighted when I ordered escargots for starters. His enthusiasm peaked when I chose a "cockerel's cookscomb" as my main course, "It's my favourite!!" ... Jeez, calm down, mister.

While waiting, we were served cheese buns. Oh my, they were soft and fluffy and just whet our appetite! V even asked for more because they were so addictive (he later confessed the cheese buns filled him up and he couldn't enjoy the later dishes, heh).

The interior is warm and more relaxed than a fine dining restaurant - a bistro, if you like, which is great. Tables are arranged close to another, you could hear your neighbours' conversations (which got really awkward at another restaurant when a couple was breaking up).

9 snails garlic butter and herbs €22

It's been a while since I've had escargots, and what better time and place than now? I was disappointed they weren't covered in a cheesy sauce (which is the best part of the dish!), but instead in butter and herbs. Still, they were absolutely delicious - I even offered some to Vinnie but that stubborn man just clamped and refused completely. Boring!! ;P 

V's starter arrived in this cute little package:

Our pâté en croûte, lettuce leaves with walnut oil and capons in garlic €27

I had a little taste, very yummy! And then moving on to the main course:

Sauteed gourmet casserole of sweetbreads, cookscomb and kidneys of cockerel, foie gras and truffled jus €45

It was delicious! It soon became a game of trying to tell apart the cockerel's cookscomb, the kidney and the foie gras (cookscomb is a bit chewy, kidney doesn't taste pleasant, foie gras is oooh melt in my mouth). The combination of them all lent rich and fatty flavours to the dish... which became a tad too much and I couldn't finish.

V ordered the seasonal Roasted ‘prés-salés’ du Mont Saint-Michel’lamb, boulangère potatoes, cooking jus - only available till July. Usually served to a minimum of 2 pax, but they relaxed that rule and said it was okay to just serve one of us.

Not a big fan of stews, the grains on the meat becomes more pronounced with prolonged cooking. Soft and tender, yes, but a little stringy too

We were stuffed to the gills but there's always room for dessert! (in the meantime, let me just unzip this other stomach...) 

And this divine dessert to wrap up another wonderful meal

Crunchy praline and chocolate* delight, hazelnut ice cream €15
(I don't know what the asterisk is for)

Loved the ice-cream, thoroughly enjoyed the meal. Although we both had to be wheelbarrowed back to the hotel. Well, actually no, now that I come to think of it. We managed to drag our heavy asses out and managed to cycle back with the city bikes, me in my dress and heels :)

20 Rue Saint Martin
75004 Paris
+33 (0) 158 00 22 05
Open daily

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