au 14 février: 2 stars, 2 restos, 2 days, 1 week, 1 street (part 1)
Rue du Boeuf in Vieux Lyon is a narrow, short medieval street where only 1.5 cars can fit. It runs from north to south and parallel to the Sâone river. It is an unusual street because it has three restaurants that have received Michelin 1 star ratings. In fact, two of the restaurants, Au 14 Février and Jérémy Galvan, are directly across the street from one another. One can exit one door, take a few steps, and enter the other. The third Michelin 1 star restaurant is Cour des Loges, a hotel; its restaurant has received the star. It is a short distance away from the other two.
Au 14 Février offers a prix fixe menu of eight courses and lets you choose your wine, or it offers accord with the dishes, six wines, four wines, or three. After the meat course, you will be asked whether you would like cheese or dessert for the final course.
Frankly, I made a mistake and asked for six wines. I assumed wrongly that the portions for each glass would be modest, but they were 10cl each. That made 60cI of wine during the meal. A normal bottle of wine has 75cl. I did not appreciate how quickly I would have to drink as well.
« Assiette façon “palette arc-en-viel 2019” »
First, the amuse-gueule, or amuse-bouche, arrived like Russian nestling dolls. The largest dish was on top and the other three fit nicely on top of each other, from the largest to the smallest, which supported the other three. Each layer was separated from the stack and explained. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
Each amuse-gueule offered a small and surprising taste and texture. The small round item on the spoon, for example, popped when bitten and the flavors burst into the mouth.
« Oeuf mollet et crème de moutarde de Dijon, Volaille de Bresse en Triade (suprême fumé, cuisse et Foie) »
The first entrée, and I am using the French meaning for the word, ie the first course(s), reminded me of an American breakfast: waffles, an egg, and some bacon. The triangle is the French waffle, or gaufre. The small cup has a soft egg with the yoke at the bottom. A small stick with two pieces of smoked chicken is hidden behind the small cup. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
« Gaspacho jaune (tomates jaunes, poivrons, oranges) Ceviche de Langoustine et gelée safranée d’orange » | Wine: AOP Palette Rosé 2015 < Château Crémade >
The second entrée was a delight and refreshing. It was a gaspacho made from yellow tomatoes, sweet peppers, and oranges. Inside was crayfish. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
« Seiche à l’ail façon tagliatelle et purée de brocolis au basilic, oignons frits, mimolette » | Wine: AOC Viré-Clessé “Les Gandines’ 2017 < Domaine des Gandines >
The third entrée was a mullusk (mollusc), or cuttlefish. (If you do not know what they look like, be sure to take a peak.) At the beginning of the meal, I was asked if I did not eat certain foods or if I experience any allergic reactions. I told him I eat everything. Je mange de tout. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
« Tatin de betterave et crème glacée au foie gras de canard des Landes, noisettes et feuilles de livèche » | Wine: AOC Collioure Blanc “Armenn” 2015 < Domaine Vial Magneres >
The next entrée, when the waiter brought it, looked like a dessert, une tarte au chocolat noir with some slices of strawberry and with a few nuts sprinkled on top.
It was instead foie gras and beets that suggested a French pastry. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
« Turbot poêlé, sauce ravigote au vinaigre de yuzu et poivre japonais sanshô » | Wine: AOC Saumur “La Coulée d’Aunis” 2016 < La Source du Ruault >
After the entrées in a full-course meal, one will usually receive a fish course, and a meat course will then follow. The fish dish was turbot. Although it is not in the written description, I was told that I was eating some Japanese mushrooms, too, possibly the shimeji mushroom or the enoki mushroom. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
« Selle d’agneau fumée et rôtie, son jus et Caviar d’aubergine, légumes du Jardin de Vartan » | Wine: AOC Collioure Rouge “Émotion” 2016 < Clos Castell >
The last course before the dessert is the meat course. In this case I was served lamb, smoked and roasted. The waiter displayed the lamb for me, as it had been cooked, before returning to the kitchen for the chef to slice it. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
Up to this point, and after, the service was impeccable, as should be expected. My water glass was always filled. You cannot do it yourself because they do not leave a bottle or a carafe on the table.
After each glass of wine was drunk, the empty was quickly removed and another glass was brought; the sommelier presented the bottle for the next wine, explained it, and then poured.
For every course I was given clean silverware. It was placed on the table in a precise position and adjusted until they were correctly aligned.
Seven courses and five glasses of wine and the end was near. Now is the moment, after the last main course and before the dessert, for something to freshen the palette, a palette cleanser.
Avant le dessert: SALTY DOG « Granité de pamplemousse et Gélé de gin »
The palette cleanser was a refreshing mix of ice, flavored with grapefruit and a spot of gin.
« Abricot en mousse de yaourt Marmelade d’abricots à la mélisse et baba à la Mandarine Napoléon, crème de mélisse et noix de coco » | Saki (sweet): UMESHU Taiko-bai < Narutaki Shuzo >
Normally, I would say the dessert has arrived, and sadly so has the end of the meal. From previous experiences, I knew a second “dessert” would follow. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
The dessert was a mini-sculpture of an apricot made of yogurt mousse with an apricot marmalade in the interior. Surrounding it were small droplets of coconut garnished with mélisse leaves.
Now, this is the end, an espresso and some tasty bites that seemed like a second dessert. It is not required to drink an espresso at the end of a meal, but I feel I have not punctuated the experience if I do not. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)
At similar restaurants, I had received an assortment of pastries and chocolates with the coffee, something like a café gourmand. With the espresso, I was offered several mignardises, precious bites to sweeten the end.
While I was sipping the espresso, the maitre’d arrived and gave me a souvenir. It was a card with an elegant cover with the menu on one side and the wines on the other. It is for that reason that I have been able to describe the meal. Except for some slight modest changes, I kept the descriptions as they were written.