jeudi 11 décembre 2008

L'Atelier d'Alain Dutournier

De Pinxo

Pinxo is on the same block as Aain Dutournier's gastronomic restaurant, Le Carré des Feuillants, which by the way will be having some NYE night in the cellar this year, and I think there are still tables available. With its open grill behind a large granite bar, Pinxo is not unlike l'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, and its sober, somewhat rough style is not unlike the difference between both chefs, not that Dutournier would be a rough guy or chef, but that he's not into sophistication and shiny stuff. Very bottom line, very Southwest (of France!), that's his gig.
De Pinxo

In the same spirit, the cooks behind the bar are facing a plancha and have quite precise gesture and a very organised, almost choreographed action. It's a pleasure to watch them work, all the more since they're not dressed like some night club security guards (still, a couple of chefs at Pinxo are wearing the back jacket) and the grill itself is only slightly more messy. Actually, it's very clean and in order, but it's not Robuchon's "cooking at Tiffany's" style. There are actual big pots with chicken stock and other kitchen basics. But of course most of the actual kitchen is still backstage. There are tables too -- unlike the real "Atelier", you don't have to sit at the bar. And service is pretty efficient and on top of things, while being by no way on palace standards (no reason why it should be, except being across the street from the backdoor entrance to le Meurice).
De Pinxo

As far as food is concerned, Dutournier does what top chefs do these days in order to generate cash. You see, the times for very good food at very high prices are over, many say. Apparently, ours are times for simple food at merely high prices. Pinxo fits the bill (and I foot it, alas). Those squids you can see are stuffed with some pig trotter based stuffing, and served with beans and some fried garlic. Cooking of the squid is faultless, browned but not chewy-overcooked, and the gelatinous stuffing is warm and mushy as it should be. To be honest, the beans are the particularly awesome part, melty, tasty, easy.
De Pinxo

Scallops were cooked in a cute kind of spring roll, not sure if it was phyllo or rice. They're stacked to create a kind of sausage, wrapped and then steamed first and finished à la plancha before being sliced maki-style. I can tell, I saw. Unfortunately the wrapping is way to thick, which makes the preparation safer for the cook but kind of off-balance. Too bad also because the scallops are of nice quality and freshness, and quite perfectly cooked. The endive calls for no particular comment, and the seasoning you can see is not unlike the sauce for some fried dumplings, very acidic, sweet and salted in taste. While it's very pleasant, it combines with the dough to totally overwhelm the nice taste of fresh scallops and its normally harmonious dialogue with the endive. It's kind of a remix of a classic, in which the original is only reminded and an excuse for a different rap: in that case, some crisp to dip, with a dietetic good conscience of having non-fat scallops and endive.

Bottom line: it's a very modern and faultless place. I found 45€ a bit expensive for such a light snack with sparkling water only, which left me hungry a couple of hours later. But to be fair, I'm the kind of guy who goes to restaurants to eat (stoo-pidh!), which does not make me core target for that place, obviously. And there is a lunch menu, beverage included, for 30€ or so. Good for Dutournier that he found a way to generate some cash, I suppose.

1 commentaire:

Forest a dit…

count me as a pinxo fan. I also like how you can get everything divided so nicely in three...makes it easier to share with others (who am i kidding? it's easier to get others to share theirs with you!) But you don't have to try and make the perfect bite for your friends to try this way.