- Craig Claiborne born (1920)
Dining at Jöel Robuchon at Hôtel Métropole in Monte Carlo
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Don’t leave Monte Carlo without eating at Jöel Robuchon at Hôtel Métropole. Sitting at the Chef’s Table is like having front seats to the best symphony. Head chef Christophe Cussac was off the evening I dined at Robuchon, but I was in the capable hands of chefs Romain Heim and Fabien Francois and at least half a dozen sous chefs quietly working in concert to complete perfectly cooked and seasoned and beautifully plated dishes. The pace was frenetic, but purposeful, and each member of the team works seamlessly with the others toward completion of the masterpieces that are served in the glamorous, yet surprisingly unstuffy dining room.
Of course, Jöel Robuchon’s signature pommes purée (mashed potatoes) are served here, and they do live up to their reputation as being the creamiest, most delicious version of a spud you will ever taste. However, one of my favorite courses was the Foie Gras Royal amuse-bouche. It was served warm, underneath a frothy Parmesan cheese foam with a port wine reduction, in a lovely petit glass.
With all the talk in America about avoiding carbs, I felt sinful sampling the extensive bread cart that came my way. No less than 10 savory bread options were presented, daring me to try them all. Baked fresh three times daily, the baguettes and basil bread are worth an extra mile on the treadmill.
Next came an appetizer that was beautifully plated — a tube-shaped compilation of crab, fresh herbs, with avocado and a tomato confit at each end on a plate dotted with colorful sauces that blended nicely to give the dish a bit of a kick.
An entrée of spit-roasted suckling pig was my choice for the main dish. While technically not a pretty dish, the juxtaposition of the soft, melts-in-your-mouth pork topped with the crunchy, salty skin was gorgeously delicious.
This serious gastronomy meal ended on a whimsical note, proving that French chefs do have a sense of humor. The colorful Orange Pop dessert looked as good as it tasted, light Gianduja cream with orange mango sorbet topped with flakes of gold put me in the holiday spirit. It was a perfect end to a fabulous meal.
The kitchen was cleaned in less time than it took me to finish my dessert, the inventory was taken to ensure freshness and quality control for the next day, and the curtain closed on one of the best performances of a meal I’ve had in Monaco. Bravo, Jöel Robuchon!
Odile Firmin-Guion, Director of Public Relations for Hotel Metropole graciously set up my meal at Jöel Robuchon and days after meeting her, she tragically died in an accident. Read more about this lovely woman on my blog.
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