Le Sergent Recruteur
Add: 41 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île, 75004 Paris
Tel: 01 43 54 75 42
Hours: [Tue-Sat] 12:30~13:45pm, 7:30~9:45pm (closed Sun & Mon)
Price: [lunch] €75 [dinner] €95 or €145
Tasted on: Mar 2014
We were looking for a casual dinner place near Île Saint-Louis, and as a half-hearted last-minute decision, I made a reservation at Le Sergent Recruteur, vaguely remembering good reviews about this restaurant. Upon entering, we quickly realized that this wasn’t going to be a simple evening – the decor, the service, and the ambience were all a bit too posh to be called casual. As dishes began appearing on our table before we even set eyes on a menu, we found out that the whole affair was going to be “carte blanche”, and what’s more, the restaurant has recently been awarded one Michelin star in the newest 2014 guide. Well then…
For those who aren’t already familiar with “carte blanche”, the idea is that the chef will design a no-choice tasting menu that best showcases his cooking. Handling the kitchen at Le Sergent Recruteur is chef Antonin Bonnet, who previously trained under the famed Michel Bras. As we were to discover throughout the evening, his cooking style is light and fresh, focusing on coaxing the best out of his carefully sourced ingredients.
Price-wise, the carte blanche lunch is set at €75, and dinner €95 or €145 depending on the number of dishes. Our €145 menu, which turned out to be an elaborate meal filled with many pleasantly surprises, commenced with crème de panais et radis de la ferme, pétales de Paquerettes - parsnip cream with farm radish and daisy petals.
Jus de pamplemousse, pomme, carotte, orange, citron et gingembre - juice of grapefruit, apple, carrot, orange, lemon, and ginger.
Bouquets de Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie cuit au Josper, whisky pure Malt, sel de sauge - shrimps from Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie cooked in Josper oven, pure malt whisky, sage salt.
Carpaccio de Saint-Jacques de l’Ile d’Yeu, vinaigrette miel d’acacia citron vert, radis de la ferme, épinards - carpaccio of scallops from l’Ile d’Yeu, vinaigrette of acacia honey and lime, farm radish, spinach.
As recommended by the sommelier.
Bonite de Saint-Jean-de-Luz façon Shirashi Sushi, riz brun, carotte, navet, shitake - bonito from Saint-Jean-de-Luz done in chirashi fashion, with brown rice, carrot, turnip, and shitake mushroom. A side note: there are two Japanese in the kitchen, which perhaps explains why this dish is in the menu.
Beryx de Saint-Jean-de-Luz, fenouil, cerfeuil, cresson, ail frit, vinaigrette citron, oignons - alfonsino from Saint-Jean-de-Luz, fennel, chervil, watercress, fried garlic, lemon vinaigrette, onions.
Poireaux vinaigrette pralinée, salsifis, persil racine, heliantis, noisettes de normandie - leeks with hazelnut vinaigrette, salsify, parsley root, Jerusalem artichoke, hazelnuts from Normandy.
Barbue de Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, rutabaga, pomme de terre, consommé de langouste, ail noir, aioli - white fish (?) from Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, swedish turnip, potato, lobster clear broth, black garlic, aioli.
Porc Bio d’Auvergne, mariné a la sauge, purée de céleri et parmesan, petit épeautre, kale, jus au pain - organic pork from Auvergne marinated in sage, celery puree and parmesan, einkorn, kale, yeast juice.
Cheese is served.
Mangue et Yuzu, meringue, sorbet mangue yuzu et crmeux mangue - mango and yuzu, meringue, mango yuzu sorbet and mango cream.
Crémeux Passion, sorbet citron, mangue vanillée, coco et limette - passion fruit cream, lemon sorbet, vanilla-flavored mango, coconut and lime.
Brillat-Savarin façon Tiramisu, glace au miel de Châtaignier - tiramsu made with Brillat-Savarin (instead of mascarpone), chestnut honey ice-cream.
Cookies to go.
I sometimes get bored during long meals like these – among the dozen of dishes, there might be two or three that leave a memorable mark, while the others never become anything more than a blur. At Le Sergent Recruteur, however, the dinner affair was punctuated with pleasant surprises, and all (except perhaps one dish) really made an impression. With friendly and attentive service to match, it’s no wonder that the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star. Bravo, bravo.