Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Magali & Martin's Menu Degustation

Once a person learns that with some effort, they can cook just about anything they can think of, it's hard to go out and not think about how much money could have been saved by making things at home. The whole idea of value in dining out goes askew. I sometimes leave a restaurant thinking if only we spent that money at the market, we'd have really eaten like kings.

The more I learn about how to do things right, the more my standards change. Other things take on more importance. For example, sometimes I just want to sit down and have someone serve me a meal at the table, and serve me with love. I will pay for that. The quality of the service becomes more important to me.

Another thing that has changed as I have grown is that I seek out restaurants that are going to serve things that might be a whole lot of trouble to make a home. Ideally, I would like something I could prepare at home but never thought of before. I want something out of the ordinary.

Last night we went to the neighborhood restaurant Magali & Martin, one I mentioned before. Looking at the days offerings, it was difficult to decide, everything on the menu seemed interesting. Loic remembered that they have had a degustation menu, which is little versions of the chef's choice of things they have going in the kitchen. We asked, because it wasn't mentioned anywhere on the menu. Magali said Martin could of course muster up something, and their price was €45, for seven courses including cheese and dessert. We didn't hesitate.

The first course: A cool watermelon soup that had been ladled over cubes of sushi grade red tuna, gently seasoned with chives and slices of soft marinated ginger. Delicious, and a wonderful idea. I never would have thought of juxtaposing the watermelon and tuna flavors, and they worked perfectly. It was one of those things where every element was necessary and their sum was extraordinary.

Two: A marbled poultry terrine, including duck, guinea hen, and foie gras, served with delightfully smoky and salty caramelized slow cooked onions. I was thinking about how simply beautiful it was, in addition to tasting very nice.

Three: Poached wild salmon, delightfully rare inside and cut presented in all of its quivering glory on a splash of curry sauce along side a pretty detailed artichoke heart with its tender inner leaves and edible beginnings of its stem still intact.

Four: A wedge of Atlantic sea bass seared skin side down, the skin delicious and crispy, the meat perfectly cooked, served over a shellfish and spelt wheat risotto.

Five: A duo of sliced pan seared duck breast served over a mound of the season's fresh chanterelles in cream, its leg confit simmered in red wine and served over cabbage. I wrote in my notes: ("we almost died.") They were both heavenly.

Six: The cheese, tangy beaten fresh white goat cheese topped by a layer of slivered aged Picodon, black currants, and basil. Very uplifting.

Seven: A soft centered chocolate cake served warm, with house made fresh fig sorbet, a spoon sized quenelle of frozen dark chocolate creme, and raspberries served separately in a gravy boat, floating in delicious soft "half-moon" tea infused jelly.

We enjoyed a bottle of white wine through the course of the the meal, something that Magali suggested and that she also didn't have on the menu yet, a 2005 Saint Joseph Larmes du Pere from the Alain Paret vinyard. (€32)

A wonderful thing about our meal was that when the check came, we were pleased as punch with the total. We walked home on air like two young lovers and went straight to bed. I had sweet dreams of a spa journey to Eugenie des Bains where I met Michel Guerard and meeting an old school mate while sitting in the second row of a symposium.

Magali & Martin
11, rue des Augustines
69001 LYON
04 72 00 88 01
Closed weekends. Reservations are necessary a few days in advance these days.

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Blogger Connie said...

wow, what a wonderful spread! and i agree, when i go out to eat, which is rare, i try to order things that i can't make for myself or something that uses unique ingredients that i don't regularly buy. sounds like you had a lot of fun exploring some new food combinations- i hope you left inspired!

3:08 PM, August 01, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo pour le notebook !!! appétissant, gourmand, convivial, de très belles photos ! Ca donne envie d'aller à Lyon vérifier....
A bientôt.
Claude Clermidy

3:47 PM, August 01, 2007  
Blogger Katie Zeller said...

What a fantastic menu!
Makes me want to drive to Lyon for dinner - right now!
Actually we want to spend some time in Lyon. We never have and I hear such wonderful things about the food - this just reinforces it!
And a reasonable price on top? Perfect!

9:41 PM, August 01, 2007  
Blogger Courtney said...

You've just sold me on Magali and Martin as a must when I come to Lyon! So glad I discovered your blog!

10:52 PM, August 01, 2007  
Blogger S. said...

I could have written those first three paragraphs myself. I honestly can't remember the last restaurant meal I had, and I've never been able to understand why a dinner out of steak and baked potato (one of the easiest things to make--and make well--at home) is thought of by so many people in the U.S. as such a special meal! : )

7:54 PM, August 02, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a hell alot of skill and time spent making those dishes. Certainly worth paying for, epecially if you can place your trust in the kitchen and the servers.

I'll be going there very soon. Mmmmm

8:21 AM, August 03, 2007  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Dear friends, thank you for your comments! I appreciate you stopping by!

9:43 AM, August 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Je suis magali et je viens de lire votre belle page d'ecriture. Je me souviens de vous, c'était au mois d'août et vous étiez arrivés les premiers. Nous vous remercions pour vos commentaires à notre égard et surtout sommes trés touchés de lire que nous vous avons transmis un peu de nos rèves. A présent le saint joseph est à la carte, toujours au même prix, mais biensûr, avec les saison la carte des mets a changé intégralement. Ce qu'elle fait tous les jours en réalité!
Alors merci encore, une personne comme vous, ça ne peut que nous faire évoluer, ça ne peut que nous insuffler encore l'amour de notre métier...! merci, merci !

8:58 PM, October 19, 2007  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Merci Magali pour votre visite!

Here is a translation of Magali's comment:

This is Magali and I have just read the nice things you wrote on your page. I remember you, it was the month of August and you were the first guests to arrive. We send you our thanks and find it touching to read that we were able to transmit a little bit of our dreams. Now the St. Joseph is on the menu, still at the same price, but of course the menu has changed with the season. It actually changes every day!
So thanks again, someone like you, who can but help us to evolve - it can only instill even more love into our work...! Thanks, thanks!

2:05 PM, October 20, 2007  
Blogger L Vanel said...

We went the other day, and had the menu degustation again.

1) Courgette flower beignets with minced black olives in a 'confiture', a beautiful cold tomato veloute which was actually strained of all of the fibers, leaving it translucent, with pink peppercorns and chevril leaves floating at the top.

2) A little poultry liver terrine topped with a rosemary infused cream mousse, served with a tomato vinaigrette.

3) White asparagus served warm with a divine acidulated citron confit vinaigrette enriched with egg yolk.

4) A roasted slice of turbot served on a bed of fresh spring peas.

5) Star of the evening was the beautiful and delicious pork tenderloin, which was encrusted with what I thought was fromage fort, but could have been a fromage bleu, wrapped tightly in a green leaf, and served with sauce Colbert and slow roasted artichokes and carrots.

6) Individual cheese plate with a Sans Soucis (goat from the region) with nuts and balsamic glaze, and Bethmale (cow from the Pyrenees) with quince paste.

7) Moelleux au Chocolat served with Almond milk ice cream.

10:52 AM, May 30, 2008  

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