How a Flying Rat Landed On My Plate at a Michelin Starred Restaurant

Table setting at L’Escarbille. Note that in addition to these amuse bouche, a fresh bread basket was delivered with each dish.

We arrived by ‘miniboos’ (emphasis on the ‘boos’) to Meudon, a small town just minutes outside of Paris and only four train stops from Montparnasse station. Upon entering L’Escarbille, with one Michelin star to its name, our party was warmly greeted by the chef’s German wife, Annet Douysset, and escorted upstairs to one of the small dining rooms. The interior of L’Escarbille is understated: no remarkable decor or spectacular views. Tables are elegantly dressed and waiters appear equally dignified, exemplifying classic training beneath their sharp attire.

It might be considered cheating to say that we discovered L’Escarbille on our own. Although it is widely recognized as a gastronomic success, and every Parisian has heard of it, credit is due to Corinne Preteur, the ultimate bon vivant. Corinne, owner of Lifestyle Vacations France, is one of the country’s most knowledgeable epicures, and it is she who guided us on the six course journey, one leg by pigeon, at L’Escarbille.

Veloute d’artichauts, raviole de homard, vinaigrette de corail (lobster ravioli before vinaigrette was poured)

Veloute d’artichauts, raviole de homard, vinaigrette de corail. (Lobster ravioli)

Each dish is accompanied by a carefully selected wine. The sommelier presents an explanation for why the wine was chosen for the particular dish and how the flavors will compliment the ingredients. The portions are petit but many, so unlike my strategy with the Parisian pastries (full speed ahead, leave no croissant aux amandes unturned), I paced myself and approached the meal as a tasting. Petit, oui, but cream and butter pack a punch.

Saint Pierre roti, girolles, cebettes et parfum d’agrumes. The darker green under the fish are the most delicious mushrooms. This plate was my favorite of the evening.

Presse de foi gras fume, confiture acidulee de mirabelles. (foi gras, spinach leaves, and a sweet mirabelle sauce)

I admit that I was praying for the lamb. Each course was a surprise, however, and I held my composure when a pigeon was placed before me. Corinne, who lives by the expression crème de la crème, was kissing her fingers and in gastronomic heaven as she picked up her carving knife. I found my pigeon to be a little on the rare side, so I tasted the breaded mushrooms and held steady for the next course.

The aforementioned ‘flying rat’ otherwise known as pigeon, or more properly ‘Pigeon en crapaudine, chou rave deguise, jus lie au foi gras’

Creamy Brillat-Savarin, served with nuts, dry apricots, poppy seed bread, vegetables chips, and an aromatic herbs salad.

Lemon custard with lime cream balls on a shortcrust biscuit and coconut-flavored meringue sticks. A refreshing lemon sorbet dessert, although I had serious order envy when the Opera arrived at the table next to me (creme glacee au cafe)

For the road, as if we could eat more. (Truth be told I finished off those financiers.. and found one in my pocket at breakfast the next day thanks to the jokers at my table)

Chef Régis Douysset of L’Escarbille and I, les petits marmitons

Corinne and I, a dear friend and a Paris pro

The meal is excellent value for a Michelin restaurant, and judging by the completely booked establishment, it is a local favorite. Plates are artfully composed, the service is attentive, friendly, and loyal, and the food is ever so thoughtfully crafted and prepared. Do not expect a light dinner, but rather an evening of impressively enhanced flavors. Très bon!

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