My first professional introduction to the Dorchester Collection Parisian properties was in the first months of my business. A dear client requested a few days of quiet at Plaza Athenee after a long Villa month in Italy. Almost 15 days later, she departed, apparently rested. As a child, she had stayed many times at Le Meurice in the dazzling penthouse suite. You can imagine after 15 days, the Plaza Athenee was very happy to have me as a new contact.
Le Meurice and Plaza Athenee to me, are the ultimate in all that is French – if you think luxurious Paris hotel, these two grand properties come to mind. They may be a bit larger in scale than a few others, and actually smaller in scale than some very lovely Parisian hotels. My mantra: there is a perfect hotel for every client. I’m fortunate to stay here every time I visit Paris. On some visits, I’ve been ensconced in suites that could host half a dozen guests, truly Madeline at the hotel experience! My most recent visit found me in a petite suite on the top floor with two Juliet balconies looking out to the Festive Ferris Wheel and the branches of the winter bare Tuileries Garden and the Palace.- it was awe-inspiring!
Frequently dining by myself, Le Dalí is a very comfortable restaurant to enjoy a magnificent dinner. Amazing people watching, especially if you dine traditionally late, as the Americans have gone to bed, they just aren’t as glamorous as the French! Dress up, people!
Alain Ducasse, world-renowned chef, oversees both Le Meurice restaurants. Le Dalí setting is a combination of chic high style and French elegance by Philippe Starck. Restaurant Le Dalí is a unique homage to Salvador Dalí’s unmistakable spirit and flair. Philippe Starck has recently updated his previous vision of the restaurant’s distinctive interior, enhancing Dalí ’s love of quirky design and distorting reality. Eye-catching additions include a new carpet designed by his daughter, Ara Starck, and chairs covered with her canvas drawings. It is truly a very glamorous setting, luxury with a twist of whimsy in the art.
Le Menu: traditional French brasserie specialties or a creative culinary journey of delicious Mediterranean cuisine. The dishes are designed to be shared or served in half portions for light apéritif dining. From the site: The journey upon which guests embark begins with the Catalan lands of Salvador Dalí, with specialties such as stuffed pimiento del piquillo with romesco sauce or black rice, baby squid and shellfish.The voyage then continues in Italy through some of that country’s finest foods, like black pork culatello from Massimo Spigaroli, straight from Emilia-Romagna. But also home-style cooking – slow-simmered and colorful – like aubergine caviar, a Provence-style vegetable caponata or minestrone broth and vegetables with garlic-basil condiment. Guests can also sample patatas bravas with an authentic tasca taste and enjoy down-to-earth specialties like salt cod, aioli and coco beans sourced from Valence up to the County of Nice, served here with Catalan accents.
In the “Timeless” selection, the restaurant is faithful to the Parisian brasserie cooking, dishes that have been the bedrock of Le Dalí’s popularity across several generations. These classics include Grenoble-style sole with croutons and cubed lemon and the light and creamy free-range chicken fricassee. Smaller appetites will succumb to the celebrated Hansen & Lydersen Norwegian smoked salmon for example.
I questioned the ripeness of a tomato & mozzarella di bufala dish and was assured: Madame, summer tomatoes were, of course, available in November. Summer somewhere, indeed…the dish was scrumptious!
The attention to detail and care in the chef selections is evident if you ask questions about the provenance of the entrees. A petite book has been created: Histories in Carnees, providing a complete description of the meats served in the restaurant. My question on menu item: Duck from Mrs. Burgaud House, citrus and red chicory. Le duck: Semi-freed raised in the damp swamp grass of Vendee, this little plump duck is fed with corn, wheat and all the small treasures found in the rich and fertile soils. It has a strong and yet subtle flesh. Are you not enticed?
Melt in your mouth flavor is assured; Le Dalí takes time to produce a small descriptive book on exceptional and seasonal offerings, their passion for perfection is evident in the devotion to details. Swoon!
Le Dalí…one must always make a pilgrimage!