Le Grand Véfour

2 stars

He is a self-made man, an idol that never rests. From arts and letters buff to extreme skier, he pursues his wide-ranging interests with relentless energy and passion. He is the little prince of the ranges, the beautiful kid of cuisine and a serene poet/philosopher. Leading the legendary Le Grand Véfour, he is both at the top of classic French cuisine, and at the vanguard of futuristic practices. Guy Martin eludes categorization.

It is always an emotional occasion to have dinner at Le Grand Véfour, a restaurant unique in the world because it is the place where the concept of “restaurant” was invented. An appropriate motto would be: “Véfour once, Véfour forever”. In this old Paris of covered galleries, as Walter BENJAMIN wrote in 1939, there is so much history: “These passages, a new invention of industrial luxury, are galleries covered with glass, paneled with marble, which traverse whole blocks of buildings... On either side of these galleries, which receive the day from above, are lined up the most elegant shops, so that such a passage is a city, a world in miniature”.

Going to the Véfour, where luminaries like Marcel Proust, François-René de Chateaubriand or Colette have dined, is a trip to the heart of Parisian culture, to the well-spring of French cooking, and to its modern-day ambassador, the culinary genius Guy Martin.

Foie gras raviolis, truffles emulsion cream
Packets of carnal sensuality: the wrap’s consistency of Japanese Gyoza bursts with foie gras, truffles and cream.

Truffles parmentier of shredded oxtail
During his childhood, Guy Martin abhorred this gratin, so he set out to ennoble it, rebelling against the old school. The potatoes are slow-backed in coarse salt, and the preparation of the oxtail involves tremendous work. The result is a revelation, with the taste of truffles the culinary equivalent of a love song for a perfect couple.

Pigeon Prince Rainier III
In 1991, when Guy Martin arrived in Paris, he wanted to rehabilitate the classic dishes of Raymond Oliver, chef and owner of Le Grand Véfour for 37 years. This recipe, sculpted by the history of the Principality of Monaco, is like a mirage made real: "boning a beautiful pigeon with a beautiful provenance, stuffing it with a truffle as big as a fist and goose liver, reconstructing it and then cooking it gently in a casserole".

Le Grand Véfour
17, rue de Beaujolais
75001 Paris

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