Dessert stole the show at my recent dinner at Les Bouquinistes in Paris.
The classic meringue glacé, a meringue shell with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, has been a French menu staple forever. Though it's one of my favorite dessers, I'm the first to admit that It can seem downright dowdy these days.
But it's not dowdy at this popular “baby bistro” (offspring of wunderchef Guy Savoy) where the Lady Gaga of meringue glacé arrived looking like a snow-white sculpture: Brancusi meets the Smurfs. One enthusiastic smack of the shiny meringue shell revealed a voluptuous mélange of meringue bits, a semifreddo-like vanilla mousse and sweetened whipped cream.
Les Bouquinistes is named for the picturesque bookseller stands that line the quais along the Seine. The bistro is part of the Guy Savoy empire of restaurants which includes Guy Savoy and Le Chiberta in Paris and Restaurant Guy Savoy Las Vegas. It’s a stylish, comfortable place with very good service, great people-watching, and a terrific wine list. When I dined there 15 years ago it also had terrific food.
However, on this recent occasion, the rest of our dinner wasn’t as memorable as the splashy dessert. A pretty good scampi in spicy Thai stock; a pretty good sautéed bar (cod); a ho-hum presentation of foie gras. With prices that hover around 37 Euros ($50) for entrees and 14 Euros ($19) for desserts, it’s not a place I’ll rush back to.