The restaurant L’Ecu de France in Chennevières has hosted family events for more than sixty years. My father had set up as an otolaryngologist at Champigny-sur-Marne shortly after my birth, and the place was one of his favorites. Directly on the Marne, in Normandy style, with a collection of earthenware that has never moved a thumb, with a monumental fireplace and old woodwork, it makes decades that I know by heart every nook of this home. I can easily imagine that it was more than a century ago that it welcomed wise family festivals or celebrations of passing love. The crinolines and greenguards should rustle along the Marne.
The Brousse family that operates the site has woven together with renowned winegrowers faithful friendships and there are on the wine list treasures that many restaurateurs and amateurs would envy. So, with my wife, we are faithful of the place that has kept its soul of yesteryear.
The chef is Haitian, cheerful, with exuberant cooking. As I know him, I can ask him to curb his vibrating talent to seek consistency with wines. Also for the red wine I want to order, the pigeon will have to forget the foie gras that accompanies it and the butter with the passion fruit perfume. It is accepted. Similarly, for blue lobster from Brittany, I ask that it be presented on a plate and that the cream of pleurotes mushrooms be served separately, whereas it is normally provided « à la nage ». These adjustments are made in good humor.
The wine that I chose is a Chambertin Clos de Bèze Domaine Armand Rousseau 2002. The bottle is opened on my arrival and the butlers of the place know that I will handle the service myself. The bottle has a nice cellar dust, the level is just under the cork. The cork is healthy and perfect. The glasses are beautiful. I feel the scent. The wine is brilliant.
The scent of wine is a rare delicacy. It is sweet. In the mouth two things are printed in my mind, velvet and coherence. Then comes a Burgundian bitterness of rare elegance. What is fascinating about this burgundy is that it synthesizes what a Chambertin graceful and feminine must be, without at any moment forcing its talent. It is there, it presents itself, and everything is equilibrium. An expression I like to use would suit him: this wine is a courteous speech.
To wait we are brought a slice of foie gras surrounded by a thousand different flavors nicely coherent. The liver itself is of high quality.
The entry arrives and it is a lobster of fine size, pure, without any frills which is on a plate while in another there is the heavy cream of oyster mushrooms. I was listened to. The lobster is tasty and its cooking is perfect. It is hardly seized and does not suffer from excessive cooking. The agreement is possible with the flesh of the lobster but it is especially on the thick consommé that the wine finds its happiness. Over time, the velvet of Chambertin refined and dominated while the Burgundian astringency was like a refrain of wine.
The pigeon is superb, sober and tasty. It is with its bleeding chew that the Chambertin finds its most beautiful vibration. We have the aristocracy of Burgundy and all the more so since the year 2002 has the discreet rhythm that allows to enjoy the subtleties of wine. Very good little vegetables calm the palate to resume the superb combination of the flesh of the pigeon with the Clos de Bèze.
The bottle ends with a Brie filled with truffle that does not create any particular agreement but does not harm the wine.
When the Haitian chef comes to greet us we laughed, for his exuberant nature has put himself at the service of wine, which I will never thank him enough.
A place full of memories, a cuisine of fine products, attentive service and a wine that I adore for its correctness of tone, what to ask for better?