When I was invited to experience the legend, Le Cinq, I was overwhelmed with excitement…and then the diet began in preparation for what I knew would be a gluttonous night of fine, French cuisine. Before I went of course I did a little research on the legendary, Le Cinq. Basically, its first chef, Philippe Légandre, was awarded three Michelin stars (if you don’t know the rating system, that’s the top!) but a few years ago it lost its third star. Légandre resigned and Éric Briffard was hired. I truly believe that after experiencing his brilliant culinary skills and the iconic service that the Four Seasons is famous for, that it’s only a matter of time before Le Cinq regains its third star.
When I first arrived at Four Seasons George V Paris I was overwhelmed by the most gorgeous floral arrangements I had ever seen–and I’ve been to several weddings where friends spent over 100,000 on flowers! On our way to Le Cinq, along the way you pass through La Galerie. Fashionable Parisians (and I imagine some classy tourists) were having drinks amid breathtaking tapestries, 19th-century paintings and furniture. I highly recommend coming here for a cocktail.
We arrived at the entrance to Le Cinq and it was at that moment that I felt like I was really in Paris. We entered through French doors into a the dining room, which was filled with candlelight as well as light coming in from the courtyard through the restaurant’s many French windows. The lighting gave the room an extremely intimate and warm feeling. The room was dressed in grey and gold with intricate molding and extravagant oil paintings, I felt like I was eating in a palace fit for a queen. Color me impressed.
As we were seated a waiter brought over an elegant stool that matched my chair. It was essentially a chair for my purse so that it didn’t have to touch the ground. The Four Seasons service is truly impeccable. But I digress, let’s get to my favorite part, which is of course the food. Well, first of course we started with some rose champagne–my favorite. Then it was onto the meal. I was truly astounded by every morsel from the bread to the dessert. This was a meal that I took the time to chew and enjoy every flavor. The bread was fantastic, you are offered a selection from a basket and offered both plain and seaweed infused butter. (Try them both!) It was difficult to control myself and not fill up on bread but I knew we had a large meal ahead of us so I stopped after just one piece. Next came the amuse bouche, which aside from being gorgeously displayed were delicious. They were salmon with green apple, fevre soup and a fried olive.
For starters I ordered the green asparagus minute-cooked with black olive, gnocchi, onion and refreshed with ewe’s milk cheese. My husband ordered the black truffle and root vegetables, chestnut brioche, Jerusalem artichoke puree and egg yolk. Both were divine, I have never tasted such brilliantly prepared asparagus. If vegetables tasted like this everywhere, I don’t think parents would have a problem getting finicky children to eat them. No truffles were spared here, I couldn’t get over how generous the servings were. They were absolutely incredible. Next up was the celery consomme with black truffle. The truffle taste of course shined and well, how could anyone complain about truffle soup? It was beyond decadent but at the same time extremely light, which is a theme that persisted throughout the meal.
For our main courses I ordered the sea scallops with black truffle. I just could not get enough. My husband ordered the lobster, which was simply prepared with salt, seaweed, natural juice along with steamed green curry and lemon ravioli. This was the true star of the evening in my opinion. Although it was simple, it was a superb piece of lobster and the flavors all came together so perfectly and still did not overwhelm the taste of the lobster itself. I also loved that it was served in the cast iron pot in which it was prepared.
Our waiter decided that being that it was our first night in France that we had to try the seasonal cheese platter so I of course obliged. When the French offer you anything that they say is incredible, you take it. The cheeses served are from France and our waiter chose a delightful selection for each of us based on our tastes. The cheese cart was enormous–I never imagined so many cheeses existed. My husband loved his milder selection while I relished each bite of my strong, pungent (and stinky) plate.
Finally, just as I thought I was about to burst, our desserts arrived: minute made frozen mango with shiso leaf coconut foam, and persimmon sorbet with dates. My husband got the thin apple tart caramelized with cassia cinnamon and iced cider sorbet.
I was thoroughly impressed with everything I ate. Briffard’s cooking technique seems to have done the unthinkable, although he uses all the finest and richest regional ingredients the French adore like lobster, truffles and butter, everything he served was somehow still light. I honestly could not complain about a single dish. All I kept thinking was, how is Eric Briffard not famous yet? With each course, all I could think was, it’s only a matter of time.
And just as I was coming to terms with the fact that this exquisite meal had ended, our waiter rolled over the mignardises cart (essentially bite-sized candies and desserts). Caramels, lollipops, candies, oh my!
Although a meal here might cost a small fortune, this was probably the most incredible dining experience I have or will have in my entire life. If you’re a foodie or truly enjoy fine dining, it would be sinful to come to Paris and not enjoy a dinner here. For those of you who are not looking to spend your savings, you’re in luck because Le Cinq serves lunch, which is more reasonably priced.
Jacket and tie are required though someone told us that they have one they can loan patrons who are unaware of this requirement should you find yourself in a bind. Reservations are recommended.
Address: Hôtel Four Seasons George V, 31 av. George V, 8e, Champs-Élysées, Paris, 75008
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*I was invited for a complimentary dinner as part of a hotel tour. As always my opinions herein are my own. I visited many other restaurants on a complimentary basis while I was in Paris and only write about the ones that I truly believe are fantastic*