8.0 Le Sergent Recruteur, 41 rue St-Louis-en-l'ile in the 4th (Metro: Pont Marie), 01.43.54.75.42, closed Sundays and Mondays has been around several months and in the meantime garnered a Michelin star (while Spring still, yet, again, has not), was Pudlo's Revelation of the Year - but also caught some flak from some reviewers. A friend and I were celebrating our individual triumphs (I had been invited as a Delegate to an OECD Symposium) and we decided to order the ghastly priced menu degustation (at 95 E) "to celebrate and test the kitchen" over the 3-course menu of the market (65 E). It's the same old place you've walked by time after time but now has these cool but confusing mirrors; and hardly were we seated than one of the legion of wait-people enquired about drink - so straight to the wine (the wines BTW are priced over a spectrum, not the usual star-gazing prices.)
First off we were served amuse bouches of sweetbreads and a very light mustard and a soup of carrot and organge; then not too assertive slices of mackerel from the ile d'Yeu, wild black radishes and goat cheese driblets (and dill); and then urchins with a celery puree/cream. All were inventive and different and offset by the herbs served with, around and in them.
Then came one of the best product seared scallops of my life with a carrot puree and a simply lovely bouillion/sauce; razor clams atop green al dente asparagus; and a nice piece of daurade with cauliflower heart. Again, inventive, refreshing and interesting.
Intermission: Before my dining pal came in, one of the wait-folk hauled a huge standing rib beef hunk to one of the front tables and now another took this great looking black-footed Challans chicken up front too. Ok back to work.
At this point we were served our fowl, a pigeon with beet root and pomegrante seeds; a slice of very perfectly excellant (is that enough superlatives?) affinated Salers; and the desserts - a grapefruit sorbet with grapefruit slices (I photo'd it on its plate made by a Japanese artist living in the UK) and one of slices of pear, green coffee ice cream, Jeruselem artichoke and little brownies cubes. Boy! Wow! Hey! But the meal was not over.
The bill, Oy!, but I knew it - with superb bread and their own butter made in house, no bottled water (my friend held herself back) a bottle and glass (for the cheese) of wine and two coffees it was 120 E - a couple John? Ah no, a person.
Go? I would encourage it; next month I'll take Colette here for her birthday, convincing her she's earned it after 52 years of putting up with me, even if we have to have the 65 E menu to satify her Puritan purse. And BTW, after suffering through Chabanel's ex-South African meal yesterday, it was a pleasant surprise to taste this one by a guy (Antonin Bonnet) and his team who worked at a London joint - Greenhouse - for quite a while.