CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
Albergo's Rooftop: Fine Dining in a Cosy Atmosphere
Al Dente: A Fine Italian in Beirut...The Accademia Italiana Della Cucina Dinner
Le Festival de la Gastronomie Francaise, Beirut 2013
Le Festival de la Gastronomie Francaise, Beirut 2012
The Al Dente Ristorante with Chef Jean-Pierre Jacob
Al Dente Ristorante at the Albergo Hotel, Beirut
Semaine de la Gastronomie Française: A Dinner by Guillaume Sourrieu
Semaine de la Gastronomie Française 2015: Chef Marc Meurin
Albergo: Meeting Chef Erich
A Dinner Prepared by Jean-Christophe Lebascle at Hotel Albergo
There are things in life one should not miss... Attending the French Gastronomic Week in Lebanon was a must, at least for me. This event was special in many ways. . . Not only did we get to try dishes prepared by five outstanding chefs from France, this year’s edition marked the 12th anniversary of this renowned French Gastronomic Week at the Al Dente restaurant located on the ground floor of the Albergo Hotel in Achrafieh. Six nights filled where five chefs offered their best creations as they joined hands for a magical closing finale dinner.
Together with my parents I booked a table at the Al Dente Ristorante to enjoy the last day of the event. I was excited to check out what Chefs Jean-Jacques Noquier, Georges Paccard, Jean-Christophe Lebascle, Patrice Hardy and Jacques Pourcel have installed for us tonight. Accompanied by a generous flow of Roederer champagne, the grand finale to a week of flavors left everyone mesmerized...
- The restaurant is divided into three distinct rooms. The main hall in the middle, the bar on the right and a dining area to the left
- White marbles cover the floor
- Spacious rooms with high ceiling with pending design metal poles
- In the other rooms, old Lebanese tiles add a touch of color
- Violet is the color of all the walls
- Round and square tables, surrounded with leather relaxing chairs, fill the space
- Here and there large mirrors make the space look bigger
- Two long alleys of lights add a fine artistic touch to the side rooms
- Foie gras de canard des Landes grillé, accompagné de fruits d'automne, jus à la gentiane des Alpes
- Royale de cèpes escargot petit gris, espumas a l'ail des ours
- Raviole ouverte de canard confit, fine mousseline de butternut, noisettes torréfies, jus réduit façon civet
- Noix de pétoncles cuits au four, crémeux de panais et cerfeuil tubéreux rôti
- Comme un tiramisu à la truffe
Join me on tonight's fine culinary journey:
- Foie Gras de Canard des Landes grillé: Yellow mouse, I presume butternut, a piece of pan-fried foie gras, decorated with two carrots and two green leaves. Yellow, orange, green, brown... A slight crunchy outer layer covered with salt and pepper revealing a soft tasty inner rich warm foie gras with a sightly caramelized aftertaste. Accompanying the foie gras is a crunchy carrot prepared like round fingers and the purée has a slight truffle aftertaste. The journey ends by the crunching salt covering the piece. All of this majestic creation was served on a glass plate which made a perfect first impression. We all looked at each other with a smile of joy knowing that what was coming afterwards was going to be unique.
- Royale de cèpes escargot petit gris: A light foam served warm and rich in garlic covers two snails laying at the bottom of the cup along a mushroom mousse. A very nice texture that's chewy and soft, where every bite activate your taste buds. It's bizarre, but I am not able to describe this unique glass verrine that's unique despite it's tiny size. A fine culinary creation which unfortunately ended in three small bites
- Raviole Ouverte de canard Confit: Orange color mousse of butternut decorated in a line shape with crunchy nuts covering it. Next to that are cooked carrot cubes where an ardent ravioli is majestically layered, covering a soft tender mix of duck meat that melts under your teeth like butter. A mix of sweetness, acidity and freshness all together mixing many different textures at once. I loved the crunchy nuts that ends every bite in style.
Cristal was first created in 1876 for Alexander II of Russia, and is viewed by many as the first prestige cuvée. As the political situation in Russia at the time of his rule was unstable, the Tsar feared assassination. He ordered that champagne bottles for hisThree Emperors Dinner be made clear, so that he could see the bubbles and also to prevent hiding a bomb within them, as could happen with a typical dark green bottle. Louis Roederer commissioned a Flemish glassmaker to create a clear lead glassChampagne bottle with a flat bottom. The Champagne has since become known as "Cristal". The wine was not commercially available until 1945. In the mid 1990s and early 2000s, the brand became increasingly associated with rap and hip-hop culture, with several artists referencing the drink in song lyrics and as part of their public image, notably New York rappers Raekwon, 50 Cent, Biggie Smalls, Puff Daddy, Big L, Hollywood Undead, and Jay-Z, and in this context is often referred to as "Crissy". Tupac Shakur created a cocktail called "Thug Passion", which is a blend of Alizé Gold Passion and Cristal. In 2006, the managing director of Louis Roederer, Frédéric Rouzaud, was quoted in an article in The Economist on the brand’s popularity with hip-hop artists. His comments were interpreted as negative, and Jay-Z launched a boycott of the brand.
- Noix de Pétoncles Cuits au Four: These are scallops like you have never tasted before. Accompanied by sweet potato, the plate looked like a passion fruit opened in its middle, orange in color and covered with small black pearls - a piece of art. Every bite is unique. Every crunch bursts in flavors that caress your taste buds.
- Comme un Tiramisu à la Truffe: Many around didn't understand the concept around this dessert, but I adored it. Two thumbs up chef! A long shaped meringue topped silver icing this unique creation is where the chef has mastered mixing truffles in a dessert without the smell but a hint of aftertaste. Chocolate sparkles cover a fresh homemade style tiramisu in a cup with one layer cake and two thick layers of mascarpone; followed by a subtle truffle flavor. Extravagant!
- Selim, our waiter should be thanked for his professionalism, generosity and welcoming
- I love how all waiters were wearing white gloves
- For $150 each we had the best food Lebanon has ever witnessed, refills of champagne flowing all night long. I think we drank for more than $150 each
- It was way too hot in here. Air Conditioning please!
- The plates were too big. They were disproportional to the table size
- The music was unacceptable for such a premium event
Tonight's dinner was outstanding, so refined, rich and generous and again I say enchanting. Thank you Albergo, thank you chefs, thank you Enoteca and thank you Air France. It was an all senses fulfilling experience.