I just went out to L'Agrume, a restaurant that was recently written up in The New York Times, also known as my bible. It was written up as one of the best restaurants in Paris for a prix fixe under 45 euros. After reading the review I could hardly wait to go and was so excited when my friend got a reservation.
I have been eating poverty pasta the last few days in preparation for my glorious meal. I even had a small lunch today so I would be hungry for dinner. Oh, the letdown.
The restaurant is small and mostly gray. The decor is not very welcoming and feels extremely outdated considering the place opened in December.
We got the 35 euro prix fixe menu that came with five courses. The first course was raw dorado with shavings of crab and a touch of sweet grapefruit. "Eh," was about all I had to say. It was extremely bland and did not make the rest of the meal seem promising. Still, I held out hope.
The second course was the potatoes with a foie gras foam that the NYT writer specifically mentioned. I liked the lightness of the foam which made the foie gras more delicate, but still nothing to write home (or in the NYT) about.
Then, more white fish. I will admit, the leeks that accompanied it were savory and delicious with the light sauce, but I did not pay 35 euros for good leaks. The fish might have been the driest fish I've ever had. I'm sorry, but that is just unacceptable!
The 4th course was a small game bird resembling quail. While the skin had a little crunch and was nicely complemented by the raisins and somewhat fruity sauce, it didn't seem to go with the rest of the meal. Until then, the dishes were light and springy, the bird was more reminiscent of a winter dish.
Finally, dessert. Compared to the other dishes, the dessert portions were huge. The milk chocolate ganache ball rolled in cocoa powder deemed "classic" by the NYT was boring to me. The bitter cocoa powder overwhelming the chocolate, which was too light of a chocolate anyway. While the panna cotta was probably the best part, the raspberry gel on top bordered on tasting artificial rather than homemade.
I realize I sound like a huge food snob, but as a student in Paris who is trying to be frugal I was really excited for a nice meal out. I trust the NYT and was extremely let down by their pick. I've had much better food for 35 euros. There were no bold flavors and many of the dishes lacked basic salt and pepper.
Sigh! I wanted to write a comment on the article, but this is clearly too long. I just had to get out my frustration.