A sister restaurant to Taillevent, the grand dame of haute cuisine in Paris, L’Angle du Faubourg is a chic and sleek restaurant with modern décor and muted color tones that offers some of the most sophisticated cuisine and elegant service in all of Paris. Next to Caves Taillevent (the wine store owned by the same family), and within walking distance from the Arc de Triomphe, L’Angle du Faubourg is sure to please the most discerning diner, as every dish is executed to perfection and the staff gracefully waltz around the dining room ensuring every aspect of the meal is enjoyed. Like the younger sister that remains respectful of her older sibling, L’Angle du Faubourg has stepped out of Taillevent’s shadow as it is discrete but beautiful, understated but polished, and a “second choice” to no one.
It is hard to believe L’Angle du Faubourg only recently earned a single Michelin star, as its star quality cuisine easily matches that found at many two and three star restaurants. The dining salon may be a bit large, with more tables than would be found in many other highly rated restaurants, but it remains cozy and quiet, a perfect venue for a romantic dinner or quiet tête à tête among friends. Although an “older” Parisian crowd is a mainstay here, younger couples showed up as well, including a pair dressed down in jeans. We ended up sitting next to a couple that had just flown in from L.A. that day. The woman, an actress, and her husband, a Hollywood type, had an A-list roster of restaurants to visit in Paris, and L’Angle du Faubourg was their top choice on their first night out. (My wife later figured out she was a star actress in the ’70s movie Airplane.)
Given the first-rate cuisine, L’Angle du Faubourg is an astonishing value, as most entrées are under 20 Euros, plats are in the mid 20-30 Euro range, and desserts are in the mere teens. The menu dégustation (a “tasting” menu), is a full six-course extravaganza, and at 75 Euros per person, is about one-third the price one would pay at any three star restaurant. We opted for the menu dégustation, as it offered an extensive range of cuisine on the menu, including three different plats.
The wine list is exceptional, as L’Angle du Faubourg takes advantage of the wines available next door from Caves Taillevent, which is one of the best purveyors of wine in Paris. The menu is not a bible, but offers an incredible selection of top flight wines at supreme value, given the prices were about the same you would pay at Caves Taivellent, with virtually no mark-up. We started with some wonderful rose bubbly by a Champagne house I did not know of (Bessarat). Chilled perfectly, this pink Champagne was a delight to drink. The choice of champagne on the list showed the care and confidence in which the sommelier had selected wines – brand name was less important than quality. Indeed, a few bottles were available for as little as 28 Euros, and several were in the 30-40 range and, guaranteed, if on the menu, these were wines worthy to drink. For wine we ordered a 1988 Chambertin, a Grand Cru, which at 112 Euros cannot be more than at any Caves if it can be found. It took a few minutes for the wine to arrive, as it came directly from the cellar, slightly chilled and with the waiter still wiping dust off the label (very cool!).
We were first served an amuse bouche was composed of a cold carrot soup in a glass, with a light aspic and fluffy crème fraîche on the bottom – a perfect starter to awaken the senses. Next came a butternut squash soup, slightly frothy, with chestnuts. If any criticism were to be found, the butternut squash soup was warm, not hot, but I suspect this was purposeful as too hot a dish would mask the flavor of the butternut. Since this was a menu focused on seasonal and, of course, only the freshest ingredients, the butternut squash bursted with pure flavor, and was an excellent complement to our next dish – noix saint jacques (scallops). The scallops were pan-seared, perfectly browned, and served on the shell in a creamy broth with fresh vanilla. They were soft, not stringy or rubbery, and the vanilla added just the right accent to this dish. Next came creamy risotto, with a wonderful dark fond de volaille (poultry game stock), with a surprise of teeny fresh escargots morsels. This was a wonderful dish – hearty, brimming with flavor from the stock, and added texture from the escargots. This could have been the highlight, but next came the foie gras poelée with a “pot au feu” stock of carrots and celery, a dish so slight and contradictory at the same time – as foie gras is never “light” but the seared foie gras in the light pot au feu broth topped with the airy vegetables was just that – delightful, intense with flavor, fulsome but not dense. I have never had foie gras just like it, and to accomplish all of that together was magnificent.
Like a crescendo during symphonic play, each dish played more loudly, with more flavor, climaxing with a bang of symbols, to a soft retreat of a percussionist’s drumbeat of the timpani to end the evening. We finished with a blue cheese and jam, and then a fondant au chocolat (dense chocolate cake with gooey chocolate in the center) and sorbet. A plat of paté fruit and teeny chocolate cookies were served as a tasting treat at the end. As we were the next to last ones in the dining room, at about midnight, I ordered a glass of Armagnac. When I finished, we ordered a taxi and the waiter came back to deftly re-fill my glass with more Armagnac, compliments of the house, and brought another plate of petit fours. Chef Laurent Poiteven came out to sit and gab with the younger couple in jeans next to us, finishing his evening with a round of champagne flutes. As we left, I told him “c’était magnifique” – and it was – a superb evening for a young chef in his 30s and a young professional wait staff as well.
L’Angle du Faubourg is a place of esteemed irreverence – a place I would recommend without hesitation and with full confidence to go to if you only had one night to dine in Paris. Worthy of any special evening or just to go out for a memorable meal, book well in advance (recommended at least one week, if not more), as this younger sister of Taillevent will continue to be sought after, even if the grande dame remains queen.
Address: 195 rue du Faubourg St. Honore, 75008 Paris