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La Tour d’Argent re-visited

December 10, 2017

I just returned from my birthday lunch this afternoon, 09 Dec 2017, at La Tour d’Argent, Paris, after an absence of eight years. Still at its original location at Quai de la Tournelle since 1582, some changes are noticeable. The restaurant has set up a bistro across the road as well as a bakery next to it, both looking very enticing. We arrived three minutes before noon to find the front door still locked, of course, for this is France after all.

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2002 Domaine Roulot Meursault Les Luchets

Precisely at noon, the doors were thrown open and I found myself back in the familiar anteroom decked in period décor. After the usual pleasantries with the front manager, I was brought up to the dining room on the sixth floor where the layout and the blue carpet remained unchanged, as is the lovely view of the Seine and the Notre Dame yonder. Nevertheless, some changes are obvious: the lunch crowd is now bigger, meaning the restaurant is much noisier than before while the staff has less time to spend with you at the table, resulting in service that seems a little too perfunctory. The prix fixe three-course set lunch now costs more as well, EUR105 compared with EUR65 back in 2009. To the restaurant’s credit, however, the attention to detail is still there and some of its age-old tradition remain unchanged: the massive carte de vin is still encyclopaedic in proportion (though newly re-organised), the staff hands you a fresh table napkin each time you return from the washroom, the food is still prepared in immaculate fashion and explained to you with admirable patience while, most importantly, Mrs Claude Terrail still goes around the tables making sure that you have been well looked after. The certificate pronouncing the numbered duck that you are eating is still presented though the card now sports a more contemporary (but less important-looking) feel. This time as well, the chef also makes an appearance at each table along with the general manager. A nice touch.

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To start…

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Dessert actually

Changes are inevitable, I suppose, but I am happy to report that the food at this venerable institution is still outstanding, presented with great imagination with flavours and portions that remain unadulterated. I picked two half bottles to go with the meal. The 2002 Domaine Roulot Meursault Les Luchets, a named village, displayed a glorious golden hue with a rich deep glow of cassis, aged crème, walnuts and almonds, bursting with superb acidity and intensity of white fruits before settling into a medium-bodied proposition, beautifully rounded with the burnished tone of aged limestone minerals, developing greater depth and delicacy over time. Excellent and, in my humble opinion, a steal at EUR105 from such a restaurant list.

For the red, I spotted a 2004 Domaine Armand Rousseau Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru for EUR160. Well evolved in color and mellowed, this wine featured gentle red fruits, cinnamons and rose petals with a hint of tangerines and earth on the nose, medium-bodied, rounded with tertiary cedary tones that produced a lovely lift of perfumed fragrance, layered with subtle intensity and superb acidity, its tannins having receded long ago, finishing with growing breadth and intensity, distinctly feminine in its elegance and poise. Excellent.

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A piece of highly sophisticated tofu

At the end of it, the restaurant discreetly remembered that it’s my red-letter day and laid the complimentary celebratory touch on the table. Well, I really enjoyed my lunch and so did the family. I’ll certainly be back again.

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The famous canard filet

 

 

One Comment leave one →
  1. Julian permalink
    January 4, 2018 17:06

    Very nice, Ric, just catching up on some reading now 😉

    What was the complimentary touch? And happy 50th also!!!

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