Le Jules Verne – Paris

jules-verne-eiffel-tower

Until now we really didn’t have a reason to see the Eiffel Tower up close.

In our past visits, we had studiously avoided dining at its famous restaurant, Le Jules Verne.  We were deterred by comments like “tourist trap”, “mediocre food” and “sky high prices”. Were we not better off at Au Bon Accueil, a (then) reasonably priced restaurant only steps away from the landmark that was getting raves from the locals?

Well, a lot has changed in ten years. After Alain Ducasse took over management of the Jules Verne in December 2007, the negative reviews seem to have abated. This time, we didn’t hesitate. Before even setting foot on the plane to Paris, we already signed up for lunch through their website.

jules-verne-elevator

The entrance to Jules Verne is built right on one of the Eiffel’s “feet”. Since the sole elevator can only accommodate around ten people, we wait in line and watch the blinking light traverse up and down the replica of the Eiffel’s “leg”. Just like in a theme park.

jules-verne-view-down-elevator1

As we soar past meters of trusses and rivets, I marvel at how a 120 seat restaurant could wrap itself around this skeleton of a tower. This takes me back to days in engineering class, furiously calculating resultant forces and load bearing weights on my Texas Instrument. Designing this must have involved a lot more math than I’d care to see in a lifetime.

Jules Verne View

jules verne place setting

We are seated by the window with an unobstructed view of the Trocadero and the River Seine.  Unfortunately, it’s a dreary day and the drabness of the scenery rivals the taupe in the table linens. More interesting is the place setting in front of us. The plate seems to have developed a nervous system on its back (don’t they look like dendrites?). The utensils are equally whimsical, if not impractical. I don’t know whether they were meant to be used as chopsticks or as fork and knife. Thankfully, before the meal begins, they are replaced with ones that can actually spear and slice.

jules verne amuse

Our amuse bouche is a smooth egg custard with a layer of fig “catsup”  topped by cubes of smoked duck breast and a brunoise of apples and gingerbread. An interesting mix of salty, crispy, and sweet.

jules verne soup

OEUFS COCOTTE AUX CEPES MOUILLETTES de pain de campagne. Oeufs again! I’m ambivalent about this one. The yolk seemed like it had stayed a little too long in the cocotte so instead of oozing out and disintegrating into the dish, it broke into clumps.

jules verne foie gras

FOIE GRAS DE CANARD ET VOLAILLE. These alternating squares of duck foie gras and poached chicken came with a demi glace peppered with bits of black truffles. A nice change from the usual pairing of foie gras with a sweet tart sauce. The salad of raw shaved fennel, endive and radish are refreshing and cut through the richness of the duck liver. I think this is typical Ducasse; his restaurant in Monaco served something similar a few years ago.

jules verne fish

AIGLE BAR à la plancha, écrevisses et champignons à la Riche. The broth has an intense salty shellfish flavor. One can imagine the mountain of ground shrimp, crayfish and lobster shells that went into the stockpot.

jules verne veal

VEAU DE LAIT en blanquette, légumes de saison, vrai jus. A modern rendition of the classic blanquette de veau features a frothy cream instead of a thick velvety sauce. Meltingly tender chunks of veal are paired with baby turnips. Deliciously understated.

jules verne dessert

Carré gourmand CARAMEL/THÉ, marmelade et granité orange. Frankly, I didn’t even get to taste this dessert, except maybe for a spoonful of the orange granite. I was too busy trying to make room in my stomach for the savarin.

jules verne baba

SAVARIN À L’ARMAGNAC de votre choix, Chantilly peu fouettée. This dense cake is drizzled with armagnac to form a moat around it. A swirl of chantilly cream completes the dish.

How does the meal compare with the view? Given the fog-obscured scenery, it wasn’t even a contest.

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~ by Jaded Fork on January 25, 2009.

6 Responses to “Le Jules Verne – Paris”

  1. Every dish looks amazing! Especially the VEAU DE LAIT en blanquette – awesome!

  2. Dear Jocelyn!
    Greetings from Shizuoka, Japan!
    Incredible the way Internet make everyone almost look next door!
    Interestingly enough, one of my adult students did work as a patissier there! Mind you, that was more than 10 years ago.
    But she told that the “bad reputation” was undeserved…
    Mind you, Paris is Paris, with all its vicissitudes and stabbings in the back!
    You mentioned visiting Rheims/reims and Alsace.
    If you have the chance to visit Reims again, visit Mumm Champagne cellars. Really cheap, good service and one free tasting! They are also the caretakers of Fujita’s chapel nearby.
    AS for Alsace, Le Crocodile in Strasbourg is top.
    And if you have the time you must visit the Daum/Galle Museum in Nancy!
    Next time you plan a trip to France, buzz me! I will have plenty of information for you! LOL
    Cheers,
    Robert-Gilles

    • We did do a tour of the cellars – one in Epernay (Moet) and Reims (Veuve). Unfortunately, we didn’t have any more time for the others because we were only there for 1 day. But if we do find our way there again, will make Mumm a stop. I also read about Le Crocodile and I now regret not trying it. Would you say it’s better than Auberge L’Ill? We went to that one with high expectations – the decor and service were fabulous but I thought the food was just ok. The good news is we did visit the Daum Museum at Nancy — haha, at least we hit one out of three from your suggestions!
      https://jadedfork.wordpress.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php#comments-form
      Thanks very much, Robert-Gilles. When we visit France again, I will definitely buzz you for advice!

  3. I think the Crocodile is better, although different, but I might be a bit outdated.
    Anyway, don’t hesitate to call me!
    Cheers,
    Robert-Gilles

    And do buzz me when you post your next article!

    http://shizuokagourmet.wordpress.com/
    Just in case as you will be “directed” to my fantasy blog!

  4. Hi JF,
    Thanks for dropping by mjy blog (not sure what brought you there that could have interested you!).
    I can’t believe how many dishes you had here…You probably just tasted a bit of everything!
    Now that is one thing I will probably not do a lot of…travel around. I envy you!

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