La Tour d’Argent – Paris – France
- Philippe Labbé
I hesitated to make an article about a restaurant that I have not visited for almost 10 years. But attending regularly during the 90s, I wish to share with you some excellent souvenirs even if the house has difficulties to get up on its feet.
First, the duck “au sang”. Institution in the institution. My grandfather ate one in the 30s and threw his numbered duck card shortly before leaving us! I almost strangled him that day!
When you have your habits, they know your seasoning (a bit peppery for me) and make it again without problem if it did not suit you.
Then the cellar. I have visited it many times and it is a wonder always renewed. During one of my last visits, some of Petrus wood boxes were hanging in the middle of the way. At my astonishment at this (shameful!) carelessness, the sommelier informed me that he had no place to storage them!
We are the largest intra muros cellar in Paris, more than 300,000 bottles and one of the most beautiful in the world. But my real pleasure is to know that the bottle I order has moved only twice, once from the winemaker in the cellar and one last time to my table.
Indeed, under the leadership of Daniel Ridgway since 1981, and perpetuating a habit, almost all great producers are bought automatically. So no auctions, no hazardous recoveries, the bottle that arrives on your table, whatever the vintage (or almost) has waited for your pleasure all this time. And this is incalculable.
Last anecdote? I was president of a polling station for many years and I had the honor to ballot Mr. Claude Terrail. This one always send us, after his passage, coffee and sweets by one of the waiters of La Tour. Noticing once that I did not take coffee, tea was now added every time. Great Lord!
And at one of my dinners, Mr. Terrail greeted me with a thunderous “Good evening Mr. President” who made turn the whole room. I did not know what to do with myself! It is true that his natural elegance combined with an obvious coquetry prevented him from acquiring a hearing aid to compensate a deafness that was progressing. But he had this indefinable presence, this distinction “Vieille France” that made this man a “dinosaur” fabulously refined.
As for the table, my note is basically based on the two-course blood duck, the foie gras of the three Emperors (which has disappeared from the menu), the pike quenelle. But I integrate despite everything a last lunch quite disappointing even if old.
After many years of landmarks, we can hope that the House has stabilized to regain the lost stars.
Date of the visite: 2008 October
Exceptional setting ,Exceptional view ,Exceptional wines ,Maître-Restaurateur ,Michelin Stars
Tel: 00 33 1 43 54 23 31
Addrese: 17 Quai de la Tournelle, 75005 Paris