Les Prés d´Eugénie-Michel Guérard

Michel Guérard
City: 44320 Eugenie Les Bains
Address: 234 Rue René Vielle
Closed: Lunch except Saturdays and Sundays, and from 03/01 to 10/03.
Price: 200/350 €
Tasting menu:: 140, 160 y 190 €

Michel is the classiest cook we have ever met, both humanly and professionally speaking. He is a real gentleman, an aristocrat of hotel business who, with the extremely valuable help of his wife Christine, has been able to build one of the most charismatic restaurants in the world. A real palace brimming with distinction and warmth, exquisiteness, in complete harmony with the surrounding landscapes, in the middle of nowhere, lost in the country, far from noise and crowd. A haven of savoir-vivre for those who want to feel happiness through their taste buds.
If the property and the atmosphere are unique, so is Michel, a real historical figure who, together with Chapel, made sense out of Nouvelle Cuisine in the seventies and eighties, followed later by Robuchon, Bras and Adrià. These are the names that have been marking our culinary life. Although we could add some more to the list –some have already reached the top, others are on their way to glory…–, depending on personal convictions and tastes, Guérard and Chapel are definitely unquestionable and universally recognized. Only time will allow us to analyse their work within a broader perspective.
Guérard is a romantic. Despite of his age (79, born 27th March 1933), he conducts his culinary army every evening and every weekend (at lunchtime). A troop of young masters who unflinchingly materialise this GENIUS’s work, i.e. the dishes Michel created and interpreted with his personal touch and his unbeatable virtuosity. His work, summarized in the restaurant’s menu, is being modified, refined and updated according to times and to his nature. His oeuvre has already become a classic. A perfect cuisine that reflects a specific time and a concrete author. We are before a Cervantes or a Shakespeare, here. Before a sublime work of Nouvelle Cuisine. If you want to know about the best cookery of that period –readapted, reinterpreted and constantly evolving–, just go to Eugénie-Les-Bains. If you get free from conceptual avant-gardism, you will simply eat marvellously.
Here is the first flashing proposal that gathers top product, culture from the Landes region, and erudition of French haute cuisine: slightly smoked foie gras terrine over spices gelatine and Pomerol wine, served with brioche, farmhouse bread and grape jam. The universality of great French cookery is reflected by the truffle zephyr over floating island, covering some vegetable cream and crunchy cheese. Excellent, ultra fresh and ideally done –al dente– product, preserving the original consistency and bitterness: this is the exact description of the thick white asparagus, sliced raw and curly, garnished with some inconsistent, ethereal and pea-flavoured Dutch sauce. The gigantic and translucent ravioli of mushrooms, morels and truffle, served with green asparagus and foamy sauce of wild mushrooms, was the first step of the pasta revolution in France, inspired by Chinese subtlety. Another historical creation is the roasted lobster presented in medallions into its shell, together with a slight hint of smoke from the grill, and garnished with herbs from the Priest’s vegetable garden, melted butter, and a dish of bitter and sweet chicory, crystallized into coco nut milk. The chef always proposes something new based on consecrated motifs, such as the pink duck breast, served with a huge piece of foie gras burnt with sugar and gin, as well as some fruity elements.
The desserts remind the great French patisserie Guérard represented the glory of: white Melba peach with red berries caramelized with candy sugar and verbena ice cream; millefeuille with lemon Chantilly cream and raspberries; mollet pie from De Bechamel Marquess with melted rhubarb ice cream; and baroque version of the French toast in the form of brioche, with grapefruit.
In short, the best living history in French gastronomy.