Recognize this? Erected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World's Fair, it has become both a global and cultural icons of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. Did you know that world-renowned chef Alain Ducasse has an orgasm-inducing restaurant on the second platform of this impossibly impressive tower? If not...and if you don't mind dropping some serious coin for an exquisite meal, you should.
Lunch at Le Jules Verne high in the Eiffel Tower was one of the most unforgettable, wonderful meals of our lives. Lunch for two (which included a selection of one entree, main course, and dessert apiece), along with two glasses of champagne and a bottle of Pouilly-Fuisse, set us back 430 Euros (or approx. $650 US). That's more than we paid for DINNER at the French Laundry last year, but Thomas Keller's offerings didn't hold a candle to what we consumed here on our first day in Paris, IMO. Behold the view:
Let's enjoy the moment and hold off on letting them know we'll have to wash dishes until after we're done.
In addition to a stunning view of the city, service was impeccable (although we still got glimmers of humor from the wait-staff, which we did not experience at the uber-reverent FL). I did not see the $75 prix fixe offering on the menu which is posted on the website (perhaps you must request that, or perhaps it was not available because we were there on a holiday), so we just bit the bullet and dove in under the assumption that it would be a life experience, and were not disappointed. While we had been flailing our way through pretty well with my faint recollections of college French and a phrase book so far, our stellar server immediately offered to interact with us in English to enable us to relax and take any work out of our dining experience. Every staff member we encountered at JV was kind, attentive, and super-professional.
We were started with an amuse-bouche of salmon carpaccio with a butter-pat sized accompaniment of some sort of herbed, finely minced, hard-boiled-egg gelee (it's the only way I can describe it, but it tasted much better than it sounds). ;) We also were offered our choice of bread...I took a dark, molasses-infused hard roll, and my husband had a piece which was more croissant-like...both of which came with the most amazing-tasting butter I've ever had. For our entrees, Dogboy selected a creamy garden fresh green pea soup accented with crabmeat and black French caviar...he's a big pea soup lover, and I thought he was going to weep when he dipped his spoon into this concoction. I opted for what was sort of a cold, layered terrine of chicken breast, foie gras, and black truffle, served with a toastette topped with thinly sliced black truffle (also swoon-worthy). Both entrees were miniature works of art, and were insane in their taste and presentation. Main courses were a filet of beef accented with a foie gras-topped toasted bread round with an amazing sauce, accompanied by triangular, air-thin potato puffs (him); and a melt-in-your-mouth sea bass embellished with a creamy sauce, tiny button mushrooms, fresh spinach leaves, and shallots (me). For dessert, he got the Tower Bolt which was comprised of dark chocolate praline with hazelnut ice cream on the side. I, however, had a ruby red grapefruit souffle (and I cannot even begin to describe how wonderful it was)...and it was accompanied by grapefruit sorbet with candied grapefruit, and homemade grapefruit-infused marshmallows. It may sound crazy, but it was a truly a deliciously unique and unforgettable dessert. It was simply a wonderful lunch, and one which I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone who loves food and can work it into their travel budget.
Check out the little JV molded butter!
Behold the Terrine of Chicken, Foie Gras and Black Truffle:
Underdog's Spring Pea Soup Garnished with Crab and Black Truffle (this is how boyz are encouraged to eat their green veggies.
My sweet and tender Sea Bass with Baby Mushrooms and Spinach Leaves...to DIE for.
UD's Filet with Foie Gras and Potato Puff wasn't too shabby, either.
Oh, goody...it's dessert time! Underdog's intensely choco-riffic "Tower Bolt":
My astonishing Red Grapefruit Souffle was served with house-made grapefruit infused marshmallows and grapefruit sorbet. This is truly the best thing I ever ate (at least in the dessert category).
What can I say? You will pretty much pay out the nose to dine here, but it pretty much falls into the "life experience" category if you love both travel and fab food. Unforgettable. Go for it.