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Le Louis XV dining room © B. Touillon

 

 

 

Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse

 

"To me, Le Louis XV is the greatest restaurant in the world, when food, service, and ambience are taken into consideration. It is flawless."
─ Alan Richman, GQ Magazine (October 2007)

Recommended reviews and articles about this restaurant:  Bonjour Paris  /  Francis Bown  /  FoodTourist.com  /   Gastroville  /  GAYOT   /  Guide Gantié  /  Andy Hayler  /  Waitrose.com  /  The Wandering Epicures

 

MICHELIN

GAULT MILLAU

GAYOT

GASTROVILLE

18/20 19/20 19/20

 


Closed

Tuesdays and Wednesdays (except Wednesday evenings during summer.)

Annual closing:
November 25 to December 28 2012 reopens for dinner December 29th
 ____________

Le Louis XV interior photograph Copyright © B. Touillon.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

 

Address:

  Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse
Hôtel de Paris
Place du Casino
Monte Carlo / 98000 – MONACO

Chef Franck Cerutti

 

Phone:

  +37 (0) 79 806 8864

Fax:

  +37 (0) 79 806 5907
Email:   lelouisxv@alain-ducasse.com
 

Executive Chef:

  Franck Cerutti
 

Chef de Cuisine:

  Dominique Lory
 
Chef Pâtissier:   Nicolas Cailleaud
 
Chef Sommelier:   Noël Bajor
 
Maître d'Hôtel:   Michel Lang
 
Chef Propriétaire:   Alain Ducasse
 

Official Site:

[website]

The Mediterranean … the cuisine of the Louis XV restaurant makes wonderful use of the produce associated with it – fruit, vegetables, iodine rich rock fish.

From the mountains to the sea – the colourful dishes reflect local flavours which are basic and strong, sometimes to the point of bitterness, but also sweet tastes, sun drenched, heavy and rich, smelling of the earth.

The menu is a veritable symphony of tastes, composed and conducted by Franck Cerutti. It changes with the seasons and includes a number of themes : the vegetable garden, the sea, the farm, the pasture, etc.

"The region where I live, the tastes and colours of my childhood, tales of exile in Italy and long journeys to the Far East – all these things influence my cooking at the Louis XV. I am not looking to perform culinary exploits but to offer my guests the chance to enjoy some essential pleasures. This can only be achieved by the appropriate combination and correct preparation of ingredients. That is the secret." FRANCK CERUTTI, Chef de cuisine.

Le Louis XV – Monte-Carlo (Rating: 19/20)

The Gastroville Review: February 20, 2005

Le Louis XV is one of the most difficult restaurants to have a first meal in. The dining room must be one of the most blasé in the world. The service is almost always over the edge and the seating is spacious in the extraordinary bell décor dining room or on the marvelous terrace overlooking the famous square in Monte-Carlo. When sitting on the terrace a warm July evening it is easy to feel like an animal in the zoo with all the people standing on the Square trying to get a glimpse of a celebrity, but they are rarely found there. At dinner the dress code is formal with tie and jacket compulsory for men. At lunchtime a more casual dress code can be applied.

Beyond all the glitterati, this restaurant serves some of the purest food to be found prepared with the most exceptional ingredients to be found in the world. The food at Le Louis XV is often dismissed as too simple, too traditional, too sterile or as lacking soul. I disagree. I disagree because if you eat the food several times, you will find an enormous soul, and you will find that the dishes change and never taste the same and they are a true expression of the daily form of the kitchen staff and most importantly of the "daily tastes" of the used ingredients. Of course, as with many of the Michelin 3-star restaurants with large kitchens certain preparations are perhaps plated with an attention to detail that to some people may be a bit overdone and thereby lacking spontaneity.

Le Louis XV is often intimately connected to the globetrotting super-Chef Alain Ducasse. Indeed it was Ducasse who brought Le Louis XV to its three star rating in the Michelin guide and at the same time propelled himself into the status as one of the big super Chefs of the world. From that position Ducasse has shown enormous talents in building a successful and fast-growing business empire. Ducasse’s empire has grown enormously, with three high-end dining venues and several auberges, bistros and other restaurants owned or overseen by him. On top of that he has important consulting assignments, book projects etc. When eating at some of his other establishments, scepticism could certainly arise whether his empire has not grown too big and whether the level of quality has not slipped in his top restaurants. Recent meals including a dismal meal at his auberge de la Celle outside Brignols, very shaky meals at his one star restaurant Bar & Boeuf in Monaco and a so-so performance by his Aux Lyonnais bistro in Paris, certainly suggest that the level of quality and admirable professionalism that used to be the hallmark of all Ducasse’s restaurants is now history. However, at Le Louis XV there is an extraordinary executive Chef in Franck Cerutti who is a bit in the shadow of Ducasse. There is also very professional and friendly dining room staff making sure service is always impeccable. Ducasse is said to be in the kitchen regularly. From what I have heard it would translate into a few days every two weeks. But that does not hinder Le Louis XV or rather Cerutti from delivering a cuisine that is on the pinnacle of haute cuisine. Cerutti is a Chef with a completely unique understanding of the Mediterranean ingredients and flavours in general and the local ingredients and flavours in particular.

In my opinion, Le Louis XV is one of a little more than a handful of restaurants that are capable of on a fairly regular basis deliver a meal close to perfection or on the rare occasion deliver the perfect meal. One of few perfect meals I have ever experienced anywhere was served to me a year ago when I had a meal that was so good that it could have been the last meal. I am not kidding, it was that good.

Understanding the cuisine at Le Louis XV is a lot about appreciating and understanding the exceptional ingredients that the cuisine is based on and the perfect execution that brings out and enhances the impression of the pure flavours of these ingredients.

Le Louis XV benefits from an exceptional local supply of world-class seafood, meat, poultry, game, vegetables, fruits etc. It is almost impossible to comprehend the quality of the ingredients that are available on the markets between San Remo and Cannes. Le Louis XV serves the top of what can be found on the Riviera and is for example one place where it is possible to off and on sample the amongst connoisseurs almost mythic and extraordinary gamberi from San Remo. This gamberi is a large shrimp that is dark red to purple red in colour and that has a very particular texture that is firm yet very tender, a very complex taste that borders towards sweetness and it is, along with other similar red gamberis, one of the most beautiful creatures from the sea when it is fresh. It is very important that it is fresh. When fresh its eyes are so bright that it looks like there is a light inside them. After a little more than a day and a half from they were caught, they start to take on an iodine taste that gets sharper and sharper. It happens that food journalists write that they ate these gamberis and they praised the nice iodine flavour of them. They were not aware they were eating not so fresh or poorly stored gamberis. It is also important not to put them on ice. The ice “burns” them and the texture changes and the taste may change too.

The menu at Le Louis XV is divided in several sections; The Vegetable Garden, The Sea, A seasonal theme such as Black Truffles, Alba Truffles or Asparagus and Morels and finally The Farm. There is a dégustation menu, with nicely calibrated portions and a vegetable menu with almost only vegetables. The three course plus cheese and amuse bouche menu served at lunch is a steal at the current price of 90 euros including simple but correct wine, water and coffee. At many three star restaurants there is a very big difference between what is served on a less expensive lunch menu and what is on the a la carte menus. This is less obvious at Le Louis XV and occasionally it is virtually the same preparations.

The most exceptional dishes at Le Louis XV include in my opinion, the sea bass with Italian artichokes (raw and cooked and with a sauce from the artichokes), an often unbelievable squab pigeon with offal sauce and foie gras, one of the hardest to get bored of desserts in the world, the wild strawberries with mascarpone sorbet and an incredibly rich yet never over-powering chocolate cake; le Louis XV au croustillant de pralin. All of the said dishes are tributes to their main ingredients. The sea bass dish offers an ingenious composition of Mediterranean flavours and ingredients. The filet of sea bass, usually cut from a sea bass of at least 3 kilos is cooked a la plancha to perfection and paired with a sauce made of cooked artichokes and olive oil with some acidity. It is paired with finely sliced artichokes and artichokes seared to softness in olive oil. The squab pigeon always of exceptional quality is grilled and accompanied with grilled potatoes and grilled duck’s liver. However, on a few occasions the potatoes have been ingeniously replaced with pears, giving the squab pigeon, with its one foot in the game meat world, a perfect sweet component with fresh acidity. The wild strawberries dish pairs cold sorbet with wild strawberries in a warm sauce of strawberries. It is simple yet the flavours are so simply obviously great. The chocolate dish is a very sophisticated, rich but never cloying chocolate preparation that blends dark chocolate with a lighter chocolate ganache and crispiness of hazelnuts and pastry dough. The mentioned dishes regularly reaches scores between 18,5-19,5/20

Other important dishes to look out for are soups or veloutés of the vegetables in season, for example white beans, courgettes, asparagus, chestnuts e t c. During the spring, divine asparaguses from Robert Blanc in Villelaure are often on the menu together with small morels from the mountains. Game in season is always very good and last but not least I have yet to try a risotto that surpasses or even rivals the risotto prepared at Le Louis XV.

There is a level of sophistication in many of the dishes on a good day that is difficult to find anywhere. Yes, I said on a good day. There is a slight consistency problem with Le Louis XV. It is rare that anything really bad is served but the distance between their highs and lows can be a little bit disturbing. On the other hand, this is perhaps the price one has to pay in the restaurants offering a more artisan approach to cooking and ingredient sourcing rather than at the assembly line approach of many Michelin 3-stars that turn out exactly the same dishes all the time with little emotion. Also, nights when Ducasse is around can mean very slow service if there are too many new in the kitchen. It is very easy to spot if Ducasse sits in his small aquarium across the kitchens, since at about 9.30 pm it is as if the tempo slows considerably.

One of the single best dishes I have ever had was at Le Louis XV a few years ago. After we had ordered the maître d’ came back to our table and told that Ducasse had received two woodcocks and that we could have one of them while he would have the other in his office. It is illegal to commercialise woodcocks in France and in Monaco too. And indeed we never paid for the woodcock, only for the relatively expensive garnish. I have eaten woodcocks several times but the precision with which it was cooked and the garniture of beets, turnips, potatoes e t c giving the gamey flavour and the offal tasting sauce components of acidity, sweetness and depth, that came with it was on such a level of perfection that I - in the state of the shock I was - almost rated it 21/20. A bottle of Chave Hermitage 90 was a perfect match for this dish.

The bread selection at this restaurant deserves its own review. The bread trolley beats the selection available at most bakeries and it is not only complete, but also extremely intelligent and virtually any taste preference will be satisfied.

With the high level of ambition displayed by the kitchen and the service staff it should come as no surprise that the cheese trolley has one of the most extraordinary selections to be found. Le Louis XV gets their cheeses from not only one but several leading suppliers, most notably, Bernard Antony in Vieux Ferrette and Aleosse in Paris. Always on the cheese table is the divine usually around 4-5 years old vieux comté refined by Antony. Despite its age it is never dry or too marked by ageing. The taste is complex, long and refined. It is an extremely nice expression of comté and one of the greatest cheeses to be found.

Finally a few words about the wine cellars: The wine cellars underneath the Monte-Carlo Square and Hotel de Paris are some of the most impressive restaurant cellars and wine collections in the world. The cellars hold approximately 400 000 bottles and are spread out on a very large surface. I have had the honour to visit the cellars and it is just mind-blowing to walk around and discover the treasures they have put away there. A large part of the cellars were barricaded during WWII to hinder the Germans from consuming all the goodies. There is a small locked room called the museum, which contains impressive vertical selections of all great wines. I cannot think of a more difficult decision making situation than being locked up in the museum for the night and have the choice to take one bottle wine – no more- to taste.

The wine list used to contain many bargains but these have become fewer with time.

Is Le Louis XV a must go? In my opinion it is. It is one of the best educations in terms of ingredients one is likely to find. I would even recommend someone to go here and eat five dishes and come back a few days later and eat the same preparations. The educational value of this exercise is significant.

Gastroville Rating: 19/20
/ MJ

© 2005 Gastroville.com.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved. "Gastroville – A Refuge for Foodies" www.Gastroville.com

 

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