Mlle. She Travels' Restaurant Review: Montée in Two Parts - Part 2
Apologies for the delay in the publication of Part 2. Since that post, I moved from Houston to New York City and changed day jobs. Things have just now settled down enough that I had time to sit down and finish this write-up.
Since it has been quite a while, just in case you need to refer to Part 1, read that here. And now on with Part 2!
On Thursday, July 5, 2018, I returned for my second visit to Montée. Since my last visit, I had turned 40, and Montée gained a Michelin star.
In celebration, I started out my meal with a glass of Bollinger Special Cuvée. This is one of my favorite champagnes, and as always, was a great start to a meal.
Similarly to my visit in 2017, the meal started out with the small, amuse-bouche. In 2018, this consisted of the eggplant layer "cake", which was just as good as I had remembered. There was another candied walnut, though this time, there was just a hint of sweetness, or as I like to say, less candy, more nut. The third bite was a beautifully made cheese cracker. It was packed full of flavor and melted in your mouth.
After these three bites, a bowl of dried morel mushrooms was brought out as somewhat of a palate cleanser. It went really well with the champagne and brought out completely different flavor notes in the champagne
The first course, called "Tomate, maїs" takes the form of a tomato granita with a corn crème brûlée. The tartness and cold of the granita, which was amazingly refreshing, offset the sweet, warm creaminess of the brûlée. I was very, very impressed by this dish. I knew I was in for a treat.
Next, as I was done with my Bolly, I ordered a glass of 2015 Villa Bel-Air white Bordeaux from the Graves region. I do not remember the flavor profile well but remember lemon notes on the nose. It paired well with the next two courses.
The second course, called "Saumon, lardons, oeuf de caille, lentilles," was salmon tartare with a quail egg, lentils, salmon aspic, and dill served with a cream of bacon sauce and an orange sauce. Dill, as many know, can overpower a dish. It did not do so here. Rather, it complimented the other flavors perfectly and elevated the entire dish. The salmon was perfect.
The third course, one of my favorites from my last trip, was the grilled foie gras with bananas. In 2017, this was served with what resembled coconut powder. This time, the garnishment was tapioca smoke, again in powder form. The tapioca smoke carried a hint of smoke, and as before, banana and foie gras is a winning combination.
Now it was time to move on to the next wine. As I am more of a fan of red wines, went with the 2014 Domaine de l'Aste Beaurepaire Santenay 1er Cru. Made with Pinot grapes from the Beaurepaire vineyard, I absolutely adored this wine and have been unsuccessfully trying to find it for my own collection ever since.
The fourth course was langoustine and avocado in a bouillon flavored with cinnamon and lime. Each on its own was very good, but by getting all the elements in the "perfect" bite, it was transcendent. This seems to be a common theme at Montée. All the individual pieces alone are very good, but the combination of all of them together is what makes them stand out.
The fifth course was cod confit with potato and sorrel. Unlike in 2017, this time the potato was not specifically identified, so I doubt it was a potato from Noirmoutier. Nonetheless, this dish was excellent, and I love cod prepared in this manner.
The sixth course was rouget and artichoke. Rouget, better known as Red Mullet in other parts of the world, are a wild caught Mediterranean fish which are highly coveted and relatively hard to find in the United States. I had never had rouget, but I loved this fish and found it to be flavorful without being fishy and perfectly seasoned and cooked. The artichoke was the best artichoke I have ever eaten. I absolutely adored this course.
The seventh and final main course was veal schnitzel. This was a filet of veal tenderloin cooked medium rare with creamed spinach and schnitzel breading on top. This was served with some excellent sautéed mushrooms. As with the last time I was at Montée, I enjoyed this course, but enjoyed some of the previous courses more.
Next, I went with cheese. Ossau Iraty, a sheep's milk cheese from the Northern Basque region (i.e. Southwest of France) was on the menu and is, as it happens, my absolute favorite cheese.
The first dessert course was the same "Pomme, cidre, safran" as it was in 2017, which suited me just fine as I really liked it. What I enjoy about it is it is light, refreshing and not overly sweet, so a very good first dessert before the decadent second dessert.
The second dessert, like 2017, was "Chocolat." This is a decadent chocolate cake with a crispy topping covered in melted chocolate.
The third dessert, which I finished off with my coffee, were again Oreillettes (i.e. Provençal doughnuts).
Again, an outstanding meal that I thoroughly enjoyed. The dinner prix fix menu in both 2017 and 2018 was 80€. Ultimately, both years, with wine, coffee, and bottled water, my meal cost me between 140€-160€, plus a 20€ note for my server for an excellent job done.
If you are inspired by this review to book a table at Montée, per their website, their current prices are as follows:
Lunch: 2 plates + dessert 40€
4 plates + 2 desserts 55€
Dinner: 7 plates + 3 desserts 105€
I will be making a quick trip to Paris around Halloween, and we are going to be hitting up Montée for lunch on Friday, November 1. Will report back!