PUR’ IN PARIS
JACKIE: We want to Talk about a divine restaurant in the most exquisite hotel. I wasn’t there, so hooray for my diet but quel dommage (“What a pity”) for the foodie in me.
Paris travelers, alert!
DAVID: “And the girls, girls, girls, girls, girls.…” (from The Merry Widow.)
The Park Hyatt Paris, at Place Vendome, is a kind of modern day land of the Amazons. However, unlike Greek mythology, these are not fierce, warlike women. Instead they are part of a slew of beautiful young women in major positions throughout the hotel – little evidence of a glass ceiling here. Unlike most Parisian restaurants, almost all the staff, even including the Sommelier, are lovely and quite feminine. Not, by any means, excluding Coralie Malazdra, Marketing and Communications Manager. Coralie achieved this ultra important position in her 8 years with Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome. And in another 8 years, or less (?), well, there’s the job of General Manager to shoot for. Hang in, Coralie; you’ll make it.
We had a lovely long chat in the elegant contemporary Le Bar under a fabulous contemporary painting (one of many I admired throughout the hotel), and over a Rose Champagne for the lady and a Grey Goose for yours truly. When we made our way from the bar through a parade of brilliant sculpture and hanging art, we entered the stunning restaurant Le Pur’. My first surprise was passing a 20-foot glass wine wall displaying the treasures of the hotel’s cellar along with precious cigars and cheeses.
Again, I was surrounded by a bevy of beautiful young women who offered menus, water, of our choice, and more Rose Champagne. The ruler in Pur’, however is a man, big and friendly. Chef Jean-Francois Rouquette, extremely talented as I was soon to discover for myself, has presided over Pur’ since 2005. He wonderfully re-designed the space to celebrate his cuisine, has earned his Michelin Star and delighted his guests. Originally from southern France, he burst onto the Paris scene with stints at The Crillon and at Taillevent. Now, at Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome, the Chef and his energetic staff work their magic in an open plan kitchen behind walls of glass. Coralee and I were among the audience observing the cooking, seated in the great rotunda that was the dining room.
I must admit I’m partial to being served by several pretty and intelligent young women, so I looked forward to each course with pleasure extending to the service as well as the food. Which was an unqualified “wow” in itself. Beginning with a velvety pan-sautéed duck foie gras with a pineapple chutney (forbidden fruit to us poor deprived Americans), and after more pleasant conversation with Coralie, my enticing turbot with citrus fruit oil was presented. It may have been the best I’ve ever experienced. Throwing caution to the winds, I opted for a red wine with my fish, an excellent Chateauneuf du Pape. The dessert was chocolate at its decadent best created by Pastry Chef Pier-Marie Le Moigno. Marvelous dinner, charming company, perfect service all in an art-filled venue. The ideal choice for my last night in Paris. This time.
JACKIE: Oh David does carry on, but in simple language, it’s really quite great.
DAVID: I hope on my next visit Jackie will be with me and we may sit at the Table du Chef where Jean-Francois will enchant us with whatever he chooses to prepare.
In fact, if fortune smiles, we may even stay a week at the excellent Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome.
JACKIE: If I smile, forget fortune. I’ve been stepping back from overseas travel, I admit. I’m burnt out of airports and long rides, but … I’m thinking the temptation might just be stronger than my idleness. After all, it’s the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome!
On the home front, it’s good that we are both in town for the short trip to NoHo to see our dear friend Eileen Barnett upstairs at Sterllng’s, at the Federal. Next Sunday at 7, Eileen will demonstrate why NPR calls her a revelation, and Broadway World declared her “Best Female Cabaret Artist, 2012.”
Paris. Eileen. Dreams are made of this! We’ll Travel….