Lyrics by Jessica Cooper
SUMMER! SUMMER! SUMMER! is on the menu, next to the Plaza Athénée in Paris.
Away from the hustle and bustle (and the unforgiving Parisian summer heatwaves), the legendary Plaza Athénée offers a shady, leafy oasis in its iconic courtyard restaurant at the heart of its hotel at La Cour Jardin.
After the success of Chef Jean Imbert’s Relais Plaza, as well as the new Michelin-starred gastronomic restaurant Jean Imbert at the Plaza Athénée, La Cour Jardin is the third restaurant in the hotel to be headed by the famous chef. I went there myself to find out their new summer menu and why they love it so much there.
A fan of eating according to the seasons, I was intrigued by this new concept from Jean, who places seasonal flavors and ingredients at the heart of his concerns. When I was ushered into the courtyard of the hotel, the first thing I noticed was the pleasant silence. Unlike most Parisian restaurants where the noise never seems to stop, the only noises here were the quiet rustle of leaves through the lush living walls of the courtyard covered in Virginia creeper and the hotel’s signature red geraniums, and the low hum of other patrons. The atmosphere is relaxed, calm and incredibly calm.
Like the intimate nature of the restaurant, the menu is small and has been meticulously curated with local, seasonal produce in mind. 50% of the menu is vegan to highlight local producers and their exceptional ingredients (vegetables come directly from a family farm in central France) while the other half of the menu celebrates meats and seafood freshest from fishermen and farmers, with whom chef Jean has worked for many years.
There were a handful of dishes to share, including candied lemon sea bream and a very popular prime rib with chimichurri sauce and paprika-dusted giant potatoes. However, my dining partner and I moved away from sharing dishes and opted for something lighter and a bit more unusual.
The raspberry scampi salad was buttery and fresh with impeccably cooked pieces of scampi laid on a bed of delicate, springy leaves and sprouts and a wonderfully tangy raspberry dressing (which was not sweet like most salad dressings). of berries) and cut the richness of the eggplant caviar which was spooned in amorous symmetry under the salad.
We also opted for the green bean salad with fresh almonds, peaches and chanterelles. This dish was probably the most beautifully presented dish on the menu. Presented in a beautiful swirl of bright colors and arranged in a bloom, the green beans were creamy with a lovely crunch, and at the heart of the bloom in this salad were the tiny chanterelles, standing proudly in the center as if “growing” from the salad. So playful! There was also melon, which we were told came straight from a vegetable garden one hour from Paris every day.
There were wonderful dessert options with offerings that celebrated summer produce and were fresh and refreshing, such as an elderflower and raspberry sundae, a refreshing frozen tropezienne, and a deliciously colorful red fruit carpaccio. Delicate flowers, herbs and seasonal fruits were at the heart of each dish that was almost too beautiful to eat, and light and delicate notes shone through, the core values being seasonal produce.
In a word
Fresh, unique and light, La Cour Jardin is the trendiest place for a relaxing lunch with friends or a place to unwind after a day of shopping on Avenue Montaigne or for a casual romantic dinner for two.