Les 110 de Taillevent: haute brasserie in Paris
My head automatically lifts up, my eyes blink with excitement and my voice answers for me trusting the choice of the wine waiter: “Do you have an interesting small-grower sparkling wine?” So he brings the tasty dry fizzy Brut and I taste, like it, order another sampler size of an even more interesting oxidative style wine from Côte du Jura, move to an oaky white Burgundy (Bâtard-Montrachet) for a change, and that is how the entire evening goes. I try, the sommelier explains, I ask and feel like participating on the most enjoyable class of my life. The wines start at €5 for the big glass and as little as €2.50 for half that size. There are wines from all over the world ranging from practically unknown estates to the first growths of France and even the world’s best Caribbean aged rums. The curious of you can pre-select the dishes and accompanying wines online as pairings with four wines are always suggested. Then comes the food and I am in a wine marries food heaven.
Chef: Inspired by the two-star chef Alain Solivérès from its more glamorous and historic fine dining sister restaurant Le Taillevent. The food is simpler than at the gastronomic outpost, yet not in any sense less appetising. The ingredients are interpreted with care and creativity.
Food: Wine and dine in a grand style. The food is superb. A light contemporary French cuisine highlighting seasonal ingredients accompanied by wines, prepared to a perfection beating most of brasseries in the city. The Vegetables from the daily market were a sublime starter. Fresh, crisp and sapid, this plate showcased the chef’s talent for selecting the right tasty pieces.
The Lobster Salad with cocktail sauce is a bigger but a mouth-watering appetizer, for some it can make a fitting main course, depending on which style of wine you feel for at the moment.
The main courses are splint into fish and meat groups. The Cod Fillet Natural with leeks, cumin,watercress sauce and seaweed tartare melted delicately leaving the refreshing aroma of the sea greens to conclude the gustatory song of flavours.
The Black Angus Beef Prime Ribs for two are one of the house specialities. As the picture below suggests, the meat is juicy, seasoned with care and intense. The succulent texture calls for a juicy red wine such as Hermitage from the Rhone Valley or a mature Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Since wine is the king a good quality cheese selection is a compulsory feature that is taken seriously at Les 110 Taillevent. Le Saint-Nectaire goats cheese with a glass of a liquid starting at €3 and peaking on around €30 was my choice and I loved it. The portion is quite big so sharing is ideal. Aged Comte or Italian creamy blue gorgonzola might appeal to strong cheese fans.
Guajana chocolate is the popular choice of the pastry chef, but there are other sweet creations worth teasing the sweet tooth. You can also taste The Childhood Memories of the chef in one his deserts.
Cuisine: French gastronomic brasserie style
Visit: July 2013
Price: High, but depending on what you order – you can spend about €39 (daily menu) or over a €100 for the house speciality – the beef ribs for two people. The wine prices are extremely flexible while offering the most interesting selection I have seen at a restaurant to date.
The focus here is on wine and everything else just dances around it like an entourage around a prima ballerina.
Drinks: A smiling sommelier hands me a tall book of wine-by-the glass selection and asks: “Would you like to start with a small sample (7cl) or a normal glass (14cl) of something interesting?”
Atmosphere: Elegant, smart, while also comfortable and more relaxed along the bar where all the wine connoisseurs share their penchant for hedonistic pleasure delivered by their taste buds. The wood meets comfortable leather interior is artistically in accord with subtle and calming golden murals of the world’s vineyards. Whether you sit at the bar overlooking all the wines or lounge at one of the tables the elegant and chic ambiance you will be treated as a royalty. Dress code is smart.
Address: Brasserie Les 110 de Taillevent, 195 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris.
Contact: Tel: +33 (0) 140 74 20 20
Opening hours: Daily for lunch: 12:15-2:30pm; dinner: 7:30-10:30pm.