Lynn has been tempting me the last few weeks with the Thursday lunch special of blanquette de veau at Mon Viel Ami and we finally had chance to test it out.
Mon Viel Ami has been a top favorite restaurant of critics and foodies since it opened about five years ago. The chef & owner Antoine Westerman serves modern Alsatian cuisine with emphasis on the freshest vegetables provided by Joel Thiebault who specializes in growing heirloom vegetables.
It was a bitter cold day and the short walk from my house across the windy Pont Marie bridge chilled me to the bone. Nothing could have made me more ready for a creamy veal stew. The dark, high ceilinged restaurant was empty and we took a table in the back as far away as possible from the front door. Lynn told the genial maitre d' Adrian that we were there to write about the restaurant. I believe it paid off because soon as we sat down, we were served a nice dry but a bit fruity Pinot Blanc from Alsace. It was a good warm-up for the stew.
On the menu it's described as a fricassee de legumes & blanquette de veau (vegetable fricassee with veal) and the steaming stew was presented family style in a terracotta ceramic terrine with white polka dots. Just from the smell I knew we were in for a special treat. I could see why the emphasis was on the vegetables, which were so crisp and flavorful and each one- carrots, green beans, turnips, peas , mushrooms- stood out on their own. The veal was tender and moist and the slightly thinner than usual sauce had lemon and chervil which gave it another flavor dimension than the usual overly creamy and sometimes bland sauce that is served with traditional blanquette de veau. We couldn't stop eating this amazing dish and we went thorough more than one basket of the excellent crusty bread soaking up the sauce. Finally we called it quits after eating enough between the two of us for a family of six.
Stuffed, warmed up, and happy we were offered dessert and we chose the chocolate tart. It had a thin crust with an inch thickness of chocolate. The filling tasted like a rich but not decadent chocolate pudding and was topped with a tangerine sorbet, which oddly enough complemented the chocolate very well. Neither one of us wanted to leave our warm cocoon with our bellies stuffed but alas, our good time had to come to an end and we ventured out in the cold, cruel world again.
We asked Adrian if they had any celeb clients and he discreetly told us Mayor Bloomberg from New York, Sharon Stone, and french actress Marion Cotillard had been customers.
The price tag: an unbeatable 13 euros for the fricassee de legumes & blanquette de veau, which is only served on Thursdays. Other plats du jour for the same price include Pot a Feu, seafood risotto, and Parmentier with wild boar.
Mon Viel Ami
69 rue Saint Louis en I'lle, 4th arr. ( on the Ile St. Louis)
Metro: Pont Marie
Open Wed. to Sunday- 12-2PM for lunch, 6:30-11PM for dinner
Tel. 01 40 46 01 35