«(…) The Nausea got me, I let myself fall on the bench, I didn’t even know where I was
anymore. (…) Since that moment the Nausea didn’t let me go anymore, it owns me»
“Nausea” Jean-Paul Sartre
They write in French.
They speak French.
They think in French, and even if they know English, I’m sure, they don’t want to have anything to do with it. International language. Common mode of communication.
So, to let them understand me, I decide to play their game. I decided to mention one of
the most brilliant French thinkers of the twentieth century: Jean-Paul Sartre and “Nausea”.
A warning for the web browsers or for the less careful ones. Maybe even for the most malicious: considering that in these pages we are talking about cooking, good drinks and good
dishes, with the word “nausea” we are not talking about the real disorder. At least in the “Sartre’s” sense of the term. The meaning has to be found from the uncomfortableness that others and things transmit us, it has to be found in how the truth is perceived fake and oppressive.
Eventually, always according to Sartre, “the hell is the others”.
All of this mentioned above is just to tell you that, leaving the L’Ambroisie, crossing the wonderful framework of Place des Vosges and after a long meditation on a bench, it was a natural consequence for me thinking about Sartre and his sense of boredom towards the world.
L’Ambroisie with its unkind waiters, its barely assembled dishes, its wine list without an index and its splendor too intrusive, it sent me just one feeling. The boredom.
Imagine this: you know my passion for bathrooms that sometimes seems an obsession. Well, I never left my table, not even to go to the toilette, I just wanted to finish as soon as possible one of the worst food experiences I ever had.
I’m asking myself which kind of Saints protect chef Bernard Pacaud. I’m asking myself that for two reasons. Even if his cooking skills are not surprising I would define them anachronistic (maybe in the ‘80s his cuisine could have been refined…), how can the restaurant be so full of people and has the honor to host people like Obama, Kerry or Hollande?
Also: Pacaud’s son, Mathieu, chef like him, already manages two starred restaurants, and is just thirty years old. Why?
You know: I always ask uncomfortable questions.
Unfortunately I couldn’t ask them to chef Pacaud. He was not at L’Ambroisie. His grumpy waiters told me they will make sure he will receive our magazine. What a pity. I wanted to talk to him. I wanted to ask him, for example, why the wine list doesn’t have an index, why the diners behind me got the wine before me even if they sat later, why no one explained me the dishes, why I couldn’t choose the water or asked me if I wanted to visit the kitchen.
Maybe he will contact me after he will read this article…
The amuse-bouche is disappointing: one zucchini standing there with inside fish and an empty tomato. Incomprehensible dish.
The menu (only French written) is made of 18 courses: entries, first courses and desserts. I didn’t find anything special in the ones I picked: I have been unlucky.
One of the dishes I want to tell you about has as protagonist an egg surrounded by asparagus and cream of asparagus. The egg was soft-boiled and had to be mixed with a teaspoon of caviar. Don’t you think it was awkwardly easy?
stagione a Parigi in questo periodo…
L’ultima delusione me la riserva il conto: salatissimo, elevato, totalmente fuori mercato. Almeno per quello che mi è stato servito.
Prima che me ne accorga il mio corpo mi ha già condotto fuori da L’Ambroisie. Mi ritrovo in Place des Vosges a sorridere e pensare che in fondo Sartre aveva più che ragione.
“Ciò che non è assolutamente possibile è non scegliere”
Giusto. E io scelgo di espormi. E do il mio classico voto.
Then my Saint Peter fish came with beans, dill, some small pieces of cuttlefish and a very insipid cream of saffron. I write down on my agenda a really low vote. The lowest.
It is time for dessert: a passion fruit ice cream with meringue and a nuts cake with nuts cream and hot strawberries sauce. Then I also get the petite patisserie: four peanuts, one macaron, a little strawberry muffin and a little strawberry flavor sweet. They must be seasonal fruits in Paris in this time of the year…
The bill is the last disappointment: very expensive, high, definitely off-market. At least for the dishes they served me.
Before I could even realize it, my body already got me out of L’Ambroisie. I found myself in Place des Vosges smiling and thinking that in the end Sartre was right.
“What is absolutely not possible is not to choose”.
Right. I decide to expose myself. So I gave my usual vote.