Gaya Rive Gauche par Pierre Gagnaire

January 22, 2007

Gaya Rive Gauche par Pierre Gagnaire
44, rue du Bac 7e
01 45 44 73 73 

On January 15, 2007, Linda and I dined here with Etienne. We selected it as Pierre Gagnaire is one of our favourite chefs and his new restaurant is a short walk from our hotel for this week, Le Duc de Saint Simon. We were seated right next to the window looking out onto the Rue du Bac. Two plates of various amuse-gueules, including salsify confits, were served with the champagne aperitifs. Since the cuisine is mostly fish and seafood, I ordered a bottle of 2004 Bénetière Condrieu, which went well.gpg-1.jpg

Etienne started with flaked crabmeat served with a celery remoulade with turmeric. His main course was a large filet of rouget de roche, which normally is quite a small fish, but this was a large filet. It was served with pink grapefruit and cubes of Salers, a cheese from central France. He liked the combinations in both dishes. His dessert was three little pots of vanilla, chocolate and coffee cream. 

Linda started with the most expensive item on the menu, two soft boiled eggs topped with diced black truffles, standing in a thick white truffled cream base topped with a dark truffle cream. She pronounced it to be superb. She went on to have the seared scallops with braised turnips and endives. She liked that, but found her cheesecake garnished with orange slices and braised celery fairly ordinary. 

I started with a thick, grilled slab of bacon served with small clams and pasta ears. It was the same principle as the Portuguese pork and clam dish I like so much, but the smokiness of the bacon added a nice richness. I then went on to have two thick chunks of swordfish, garnished with bean sprouts marinated in a too salty soy sauce. The dish was served with a mix of octopus pieces and mushrooms. The swordfish was very rich and smooth, almost like a veal filet. I finished with tapioca in coconut milk with mango chunks, which was okay. We were served a plate of very light lemony meringues at the end.gpg-3.jpg

The service from the young staff was always cheerful and efficient. The chef is 27 and the sommelier only 21. The restaurant is quite small, although we could not gpg-2.jpgsee how many tables there are on the upper level. There is a counter with four chairs and a raised table with four stools for individual diners. The minimalist décor is dominated by the seaweed design on the tabletops, reportedly the same as his Tokyo restaurant. In the end, it didn’t seem like Pierre Gagnaire, despite the unusual combinations, as they were variations on traditional dishes, not complex inventions. But he can have a good time here trying things without worrying that a failure will jeopardize his three stars. That was how he originally succeeded starting from scratch in St. Etienne many years ago. But we had a good time, too, and ate well.


One Response to “Gaya Rive Gauche par Pierre Gagnaire”

  1. […] May trip, Gagnaire was the only French restaurant that served excellent fish.  These recent diners didn’t order much fish but it looks […]

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