One of the most spectacular meals we have ever had (and we have had a few!) was at Taillevent in Paris (the exact address is 15 rue Lamennais, 75008 Paris; 01-44-95-15-01). We opted not to do the tasting menu so that we could taste more dishes, and the dishes were universally excellent.
We started off with the amuse-bouche, which were gougères, a Gruyère cheese biscuit.
For appetizers, the choices were split between the artichoke soup with ravioli and an egg on top and the foie gras terrine served with brioche. (It was lovely being in a country where no one saw anything wrong with producing, cooking, and eating foie gras, but I digress.)
While the foie gras was delicious, the consensus was that the artichoke soup was the winner.
Entrees split between the rack of lamb and scallops served with black truffles.
This was an easy choice. The lamb was excellent, but the scallops (and especially the black truffles) were spectacular.
Desserts were more evenly split. The selections were chocolate soufflé (topped with edible gold), a chocolate cake (which is too simple a term to describe the loveliness of the dish), a poached apple with apple sorbet, and pineapple cream topped with gold leaf.
No clearcut winner emerged here, especially as there were chocolate lovers and chocolate-tolerators in the bunch.
Dinner concluded with some lovely petit-fours and homemade caramels.
Let me just say that even if you don’t like caramels (and I am not a particular fan), you would sell your soul for these homemade caramels. They were melt-in-your-mouth amazing.
The other thing that made dining at Taillevent such a wonderful experience was the service. It is clearly a high-end restaurant, and we were clearly Americans and tourists and with two children (a 13-year old and a 10-year old) in tow. We could not have been made to feel more welcome. All of us were treated like a part of the extended family, and the kids were warmly welcomed and made to feel at home. They were even both served an after-dinner Armagnac. (Clearly, while the legal drinking age in Paris is officially 18, the law is regarded flexibly.)
The restaurant is definitely an A++ for the quality of food and the service. It was a memorable meal and evening.