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L'Agrume – Paris, France

June 6th, 2010 · No Comments

L'Agrume - Paris, France L'Agrume - Paris, France DSC_0401 L'Agrume - Paris, France

Continuing our tour (here and here) of prix-fixe restaurants mentioned in the New York Times, we decided to go to L’Agrume.

Located in the 5th arrondisement, L’Agrume is a small, intimate restaurant – but this is in no way a complaint – it is not overly loud; it does not feel crowded; it is not stuffy or smoky from the kitchen – just some advice to the friendly diner to ensure that you have your reservation as small spaces with great food fill up fast. And speaking of which, due to unforeseen circumstances, we were quite late for ours – but the friendly team at L’Agrume were happy to accommodate us (we did call ahead of time).

Upon arriving, we were warmly greeted, shown to our tables, given menus, asked if we would be having the prix-fixe menu, asked for a wine selection, and then almost immediately brought our first course. Which was a very good thing – the first course was a sea bass tartare – I guess you could also call it something akin to ceviche but either way, this dish rocked.
L'Agrume - Paris, France L'Agrume - Paris, France
Second course was smoked salmon with herbed aioli, followed by perfect whitefish served with a mango tartare, then for the beef – also perfect. What more can I say? Every dish worked well – nothing was odd or off; every ingredient was treated as it should have been; the flavours jumped off your tongue and the presentations were beautiful. This is a kitchen that has achieved what I always search for in food: recognizing in an ingredient its uniqueness and preparing it so that its flavours, textures, and appearance are brought to the forefront and jump out at you. Asparagus can be amazing if perfectly grilled with oil, salt, and pepper – nothing special – or it can be rather awful tasting if it is boiled. This chef has achieved that rare kind of perfection where he knows how to bring out the best in everything.

Based on the desserts I’d had elsewhere in Paris, I was glumly expecting dessert here to be some combination of grassy, gamy, salty, savoury flavours with a hidden sugar-bomb somewhere in between. But actually, dessert, like the rest of the meal, was perfect. It was called ‘deconstructed millefeuille’ and was perfect strawberries, cream, and a crispy piece of millefeuille pastry on top to give the dish some crunch. A glass of sparking Normandy pear cider was recommended to accompany (which I recommend drinking/buying anywhere that you can find it) which perfectly complimented the flavours.
L'Agrume - Paris, France
Finally – someone who just uses dessert as it should be! By the time I’ve finished 4 courses, I’m not hungry. I just want something small, simple, and sweet to act as the period at the end of the meal. Ice cream is nice. Sorbetto is nicer. Deconstructed millefeuille – strawberries and cream with something a bit crunchy complimented by sparking pear cider? OK – that’s perfect! Please: no more bacon-infused salt-crusted jellied sheep’s milk-based desserts. ok. Sorry about that. Just had to get it off my chest. Thanks. It’s just an opinion; I”ll probably feel differently tomorrow

The interior at L’Agrume is not quite what I expected – it’s very modern, lots of shiny surfaces, but with the paintings from a local gallery, it has a contemporary comfort that makes this small space feel larger than it is and yet appropriate for a meal. Service was extremely good, with excellent knowledge of the dishes and a pleasant, welcoming attitude.

Overall, the food here was excellent, with every course being a visually-appealing, synergistic combination of flavours and textures that didn’t disappoint. To translate from my overly-flowery attempt: I liked it here. I liked the look, service, and most importantly, I really liked the food. There wasn’t a single dish that disappointed. Everything looked great and tasted great. The chef knew exactly how to treat every ingredient he chose for every course, and the result was an excellent meal that in a city where great cuisine for a reasonable price can be almost impossible to find, we found it at L’Agrume.

Verdict: come here any time for excellent food and warm service. The best meal of the trip.

15 Rue des Fossés Saint-Marcel
75005 Paris, France
Tel: 01 43 31 86 48

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Tags: Favorites · France · French · Paris · Prix-fixe

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