Restaurant Review: Le Pavillon Ledoyen

Ledoyen is one of Paris’s oldest restaurants. It has been called that since 1814 but existed even before that as an inn. Located on Champs-Élysées close to Place de la Concorde it has been a staple of Paris for ever (away from the shopping mega stores). This restaurant predates the gentrification of Avenue des Champs-Élysées and is set in a standalone building in a gorgeous park. It’s interesting that in the age of celebrity chefs restaurants like this one exist. This restaurant transcends the chef currently working there. Yannick Alleno is the chef and has been for the past 3 years and before that the current head chef at Le Cinq was the chef at Ledoyen. These restaurants are institutions in Paris and will continue to be long after the chefs are gone. This is in stark contrast to Alain Passard’s L’Arpège that we will be visiting tomorrow.

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View of Place de la Concorde

I was never intending to go to Ledoyen as I thought I had reservations at Alain Ducasse at Plaza Athenée but as I was strolling through the Louvre in the morning I decided to confirm the reservations and to my horror I found out that the Amex concierge had never made them for me. I’m not blaming Amex as I really don’t remember if it was my fault or not when I was choosing the restaurants. Anyway I called the Amex Concierge and they coordinated with my hotel concierge to see if they could secure me reservations at a 3 Michelin starred restaurant. All this the morning of the day I was to go out. Half past noon I received a call from American Express saying that the hotel had secured my reservations at Ledoyen. I was thrilled to have my mistake work itself out so well.

{Me infront of restaurant}

As we arrived we were greeted outside and welcomed in. We were seated upstairs with a view of the park below. As the reservation was in my name I was handed a menu with prices on it and my friend was handed one without. This is an extremely antiquated custom that I’ve only read about. They used to always hand ladies menus without prices and the man would receive the prices. All of this is to say that this restaurant is extremely old world. And I knew I was going to love it from the moment I walked in.

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Restaurant before it filled up
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Champagne trolley

When we sat down they rolled in this cart filled with 5 different champagnes that they are serving by the glass complete with two vintage champagnes. Although I said I try not to let price decide where I dine, as much as I can, I always let it decide what I drink as at these 3 Michelin starred restaurants ordering alcohol blindly can triple the price of your meal. So I decided to order a glass of the Ruinart Rose Champagne knowing that it was middle of what was on offer and I later found out it only set me back €35 a glass. I say only because I know some of the other options would’ve set me back a bit more.

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Rose!

The first dish was a fresh pasta with tomato and a shredded cheese. It was as simple as it sounds yet very good as the tomatoes are as good as the one we grow back home. Couldn’t ask for more!

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Fricelli Pasta with cheese

At the same time that the pasta was served we had this glass bowl with different color tomatoes and a piece of dry bread placed in the center. They poured a tomato liquid over the bread to rehydrate while we ate the pasta dish.

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Is that a bagel?

After eating the pasta the server came over and plated the rehydrating bread and tomato. It was terrific. Tomato, olive oil, and bread. What more can a person ask for?

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Tomato!

Well Foie Gras for one. Foie gras is one of my favorite dishes. here it was served with an eel, seaweed and daikon radish. The flavors were a unique combination. In my opinion I prefer the classic fruit pairings that typically go with foie gras, however, it was still delicious.

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Foie Gras Torchon

These last 3 weeks I’ve been taking a garde manger class in school and one of the things we learned was the yesteryear technique chaud-froid of preserving items. It is done by coating an item to prevent any oxygen from coming into contact with it thus preventing bacteria growth. The fact that people have been doing these kinds of things to roasted proteins since the time of the Titanic is fascinating. When I saw sole chaud-froid on the menu I was intrigued. Even though Ledoyen is an old-school restaurant, I didn’t think that they would actually go this far back in the history books so I was looking forward to see what they would do. When the dish arrived it was a shallow poached fillet of sole encased in slices of raw mushrooms. The dish was very interesting especially given the play on words with the historical aspect to the dish.

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Chaud-Froid?

The following dish was a delicious lobster claw encased in a spinach sauce. It was utterly amazing. I love lobster and here it was executed perfectly.

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Lobster there somewhere

The last main course was an A4 Wagyu beef. It was seared and served over rice with a side of potato strips atop a sauce that was to mimic boeuf bourguignon. It was an interesting dish.  I absolutely loved, as always, the seared wagyu beef. The side dish containing the sauce on the other hand I found to be too concentrated and reminiscent of Mexican mole. Not a bad thing in itself as I love Mexican cuisine but it clashed with the French dishes here.

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A4 Wagyu Beef
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Boeuf Bourguignon, kinda

At this point we were offered a cheese course which I of course said yes. I selected 5 of the cheeses and enjoyed all of them immensely. I don’t remember each of the cheeses except that I had a Camembert which was so much better than any I’ve ever had stateside. So much more flavor.

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Impressive Cheese Trolley, a bit of each?
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5 different cheeses

The for dessert we were served a strawberry confit wrapped in zucchini flowers  that was really terrific. All the restuarnat are serving strawberry themed desserts now which I love as it shows that they are serving the products that are in season now.

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Confit of Strawberries

If I had to pick one restaurant to compare Ledoyen to it would be The French Laundry. Ledoyen was classic French cuisine executed perfectly with lots of old world touches. This will definitely be a place I will return and I love that they offer 3 menu options to choose from which enlarges the versatility of the restaurant making it doable for a pre show dinner or an event itself. We chose the middle option because of the price of the largest tasting menu was almost double the one we choose.

Service: 10/10

Food: 9/10

Atmosphere: 10/10

Value: 3/10

 

 

 

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