Paris was not a party
Back to Paris around the table of Alain Passard and his disappointing L'Arpege, because Paris may not always be a (gastronomic) party.
L'Arpège © Jesús Terrés
"But Paris it was a very old city and we were young, and there nothing was simple, not even being poor, nor the money suddenly earned, nor the moonlight, nor good nor evil, nor the breath of a stretched person by my side under the moonlight ”, Hemingway.
Impossible not to always expect everything from Paris and I sense that there is a good part of his grace: to the city of light (and let's not tell the Parisians anymore) your expectations matter little. And well they do.
Alain Passard It is probably the most glittering star in the gastronomic landscape of La ville lumière: protagonist of the second season of Chef´s Table, best restaurant in Paris according to 50 Best, "Vegetable wizard", a huge public relations - no table without the selfie On duty - three shining Michelin Stars (in the heart of the Rouge).
In addition, protagonist of a fabulous comic Christophe Blain, Knight of the Order of the Legion of Honor of France and habitual in the first line of the (supposed) great heirs of the great French cuisine: Passard, Pascal Barbot, David Toutain or Bertrand Grébaut.
Comic by Alain Passard by Christophe Blain © D.R.
Your restaurant L'Arpege just blew thirty two candles as an essential icon of 7ème arrondissement, that discreet neighborhood on the left bank of the Seine that the Impressionists loved so much.
Months of waiting to hunt a table and yet (the cards face up) one of the great gastronomic disappointments of my whole life; and there have been few tables.
A boring, flat and absolutely predictable menu whose DNA are the fruits and vegetables that bring daily their six farmers from the organic gardens that it has in the Sarthe region; tables too close together and an unfriendly service (in a three stars!) gray and more outstanding of the player of the turn than the anonymous diner (I know that the haute cuisine has mutated in a circus, but so much?).
Not everything was catastrophic, of course; his work with vegetables is more than respectable and also his commitment to agriculture, as Passard himself affirms, “we care about conserving the environment. Nothing but the animal strength, without pesticides, without chemical fertilizers, watering holes for frogs, stone houses for weasels, hedgehogs and reptiles, raptors perches, embankments and trees for birds: all this wildlife is welcome in our gardens”.
Ok, yes, but, the balance? So sad that it scares. And I am not the only one. Because this is too usual run run (around which noses happens with Paris and its gastronomy) among the gastronomic congress corrillos, the table tops and the quagmire of the networks.
Our admired Philippe Regol it cannot be summed up better: “Our image of a France that never disappoints when it comes to eating things, which led the world and exported its styles (now it continues to export its businesses and its gastronomic brands but it matters techniques and styles), no longer corresponds to reality”.
We finish the afternoon between Rodin Museum rooms and on the cobblestones of this impossible city, trying to forget such a dispensable lunch; so indifférent. I guess that's also Paris.