About

"The reluctant Francophile..."

My husband Jack has always wanted to live in Paris and learn French. I thought it would be good for him to achieve his life time dream. Hence, we moved to Paris in 2008. My first year was difficult. I started "missives" to relieve some stress and chronicle my life so friends back in the US could read what I am experiencing. I currently write about my food and travel experiences, which is my passion.

It is definitely a challenge to live here, but each year it gets easier, and quite enjoyable, in large part because I value friendships over locale. I have a love/hate relationship with Paris as do most Parisians, mais La vie est belle (but life is good)!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Martin Berasategui -- Restaurant overview


Loidi Kalea, 4 - 20160 Lasarte-Oria (Gipuzkoa)
Lat. 43.2668 / Lon. -2.0155
Tel. (+34) 943 366 471 / (+34) 943 361 599
Fax: (+34) 943 366 107
info@martinberasategui.com

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)

  5 - Star............................................................................................................................1 - Bell

It's not often that I go to 3-star Michelin restaurants, because of the costs; however, I've been fortunate to go to a few and had wonderful experiences and have also had experiences where I had to ask myself "what's all the fuss?" and how they hell did they get their stars?

It was a special occasion, my partner's birthday so we decided to celebrate big with our friends who live in the San Sebastian, Spain area part-time and had been to this restaurant and highly recommended it.


We arrived for lunch at the restaurant during a rainstorm.  As we approached the building from the parking across the street, several waiters ran out with umbrellas to ensure we arrived relatively dry.  A nice greeting!

With that said, as you enter, you'll first be greeted with a beautiful display of flowers, very simple but very elegant and understated beauty.












As you enter you'll notice that it's quite spacious. Tables are far apart and you definitely have a sense of being with your party and not having to listen to everyone else's conversations. My guess they could seat 45-50 people.

I had to laugh, because the staff, all men surprisingly, dressed like the CIA, except they served with white gloves.

I did notice that many patrons did not overdress, in fact some came in jeans and a nice shirt, which made it very comfortable for me and it wasn't so stuffy that you always had to be concerned about laughing too hard or just not being formal enough.


We all decided ahead of time that we would get the tasting menu which consisted of 13-courses, yep 13!  It wasn't cheap at 185€ ($241) per person not including libations. Three of us started with their local "cava" champagne, and my partner had a Pastis aperitif.

So, onto our eating frenzy.  Normally I would critique each dish, but I have to say there was nothing to critique, each dish was punched with flavors, each distinct from one another. And, the descriptions by themselves are so beautifully descriptive, no explanation is really needed.  So, rather I would just like to detail what we had:

Entrees



Mille-feuille of smoked eel, foie-gras spring onions and green apples.














Squid soup, creamy squid ink ravioli served with squid crouton.














Another variation of the squid soup. with ink broth.








Main dishes "Plats"





We started with Oysters with cucumber, kafir and coconut.













Sauteed black garlic (fruit garlic) with beet ceviche, ice radish and raifort (horseradish) cream.














Little pearls of raw fennel, risotto and emulsion.












Roast foie gras with seaweed resting on horseradish curd, fermented soy broth and hazelnut salt













"Corrotxategi" -- egg resting on a herb liquid salad and dewlap carpaccio.












Warm vegetable hearts salad with seafood, cream of lettuce and iodized juice.













Red Mullet with edible scale crystals soybean sprouts, wheat semolina and cuttlefish.












Roast pigeon and onion with Iberian Pig's snout, ginger juice and caper.









Desserts





Blood-orange ice cream and slush over liquefied tubers, muscovado sugar, yogurt and pepper.












Mist of coffee and cacao over banana with whiskey sorbet and slush.












Finally a tower of little petit fours and some digestives, for me a local apple brandy akin to calvados.






Since we had mentioned it was Jack's birthday, the restaurant presented him with a plate, personally written by the Chef, noting the occasion, for him to keep as a remembrance of this experience.




 Summary

I have to say Chef Martin is an artist! My hat off to him, or as they say in French "Chapeau!"

What I loved about this restaurant is that, although it's a 3-Michelin restaurant, you felt comfortable. No doubt the formality existed with the staff, but they were friendly and not snooty as in some places I've been to. I've been told that many aspiring wait-staff are trained here in the art of serving.  The kitchen was amazing. They had an army of people to create the Chef's food vision.


It was by no means cheap, but worth every single Euro. With apéros, 2-bottles of wine Ossian 2010 red and one white, with accompanying digestives, our total bill came to 1,100€ ($1,400) for 4-people.

It was a wonderful experience, would I go again, most definitely, after I save up for it.  Thank you Bill and Fermin for recommending this wonderful restaurant! If you go in the summer (and it is not raining!), ask to be seated on the balcony, you'll have a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains.








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