For the last 15 years, Le Marais has been the yardstick by which all other kosher restaurants are measured, I’ve been there a few times over the years but this time I was determined to speak with José Mireilles. I wanted to understand what makes a good successful restaurateur.
The restaurant has its own full service butcher shop on premises, where the meat is always fresh and the cuts European in style. As a confirmed carnivore I find it hard to pass by without looking over the meat showcase. It affords me a glimpse of the superb dishes to come.
Monsieur Mireilles is Portuguese, he came to this country at the age of 24 to travel for a couple of years before going back to Portugal. Instead he stayed on, graduated from the famed French Culinary Institute and opened various successful restaurants.
I started lunch with Belgian Duvel draft beer, served European style – at room temperature and with over a half inch of head, So unlike the standard American way of no head and chilled. The differences in flavor are appreciable. This beer clings to the glass in almost a marbleized pattern. Outstanding flavor!
For my first dish, I had a Salade de Bettraves.
It consists of marinated beets with range salad. While I’ve never been a huge fan of beets, these were deliciously juicy and interplayed nicely with the orange pieces for a perfect combination of flavors.
I followed this with Les Rillettes du Boucher.
Homemade duck and veal spread are cooked together for a long time, then shredded and mashed to a paste, delicately flavored, delightful to the taste! Simple but elegant presentation, designed not to dazzle you visually but merely to enhance the taste experience.
For the main course I had La Surprise.
The cut came from the deckel of the ribeye. This is the steak that every kosher meat restaurant tries to imitate, so far I found the original’s the best! The steak was tender and juicy, the frites crispy, flavorful and lacked the greasiness so characteristic of some other establishments. The salad had a subtle but delightful vinaigrette dressing.
I finished the meal with a delightful dessert, Ananas Caramélisée.
Caramelized pineapple with coconut mousse. W hat an amazingly delicious combination!
When I’m at a restaurant, I write down my taste impressions as I eat. There was so much to write about each dish here, about the restaurant itself… Both José Mireilles and Chef Mark Hennessey’s, passion for food perfection is all too obvious.
The meal amidst an elegant French décor was a memorable one, it’s easy to understand why Le Marais is the standard everyone else is measured by.