Woah! A three Michelin-starred restaurant is going vegetarian? This decision in 2001 by Alain Passard, owner of Arpège, sure must have raised some eyebrows – no more meat! Chef Alain Passard is not afraid to risk his stars to impose his views: he wants only seasonal organically grown vegetables to be the center of his menu – no more leeks in summer, no more tomatoes in winter!
He later reintroduced small portions of meat and fish to his menu for the sake of meat lovers.
Sweetbread from Correze
Chef Alain Passard is like a butterfly in his restaurant. He enters the room and hops joyfully from one table to another: he welcomes guests, laughs and talks with them.
He is so passionate about his work, his cuisine, and his vegetables, that his attitude is contagious. You will never look at a potato or any other kind of vegetable in the same way after dining at Arpège.
With chef Alain Passard
In order to retain full control of the products he uses in his kitchen, Chef Passard created his own 15 acres of kitchen gardens in three different regions in France that annually produce 40 tons of organic products. He even uses animal traction for plowing and harvesting. Is this a back to the future model?
Risotto “belle saison“
It’s at L’Arpège, on Rue de Varenne, that my husband and I decided to celebrate our 25th anniversary. I was very excited to meet Chef Passard after seeing him on “Chef’s Table”, the Emmy nominated docuseries. In 1986, Alain Passard purchased the restaurant L’Archestrate from his mentor, the late chef Alain Senderens. He renamed the restaurant Arpège (arpeggio), for the love of music, and the following year, Chef Passard earned his first Michelin star. The third star came in 1996, ten years later and the restaurant has retained that status ever since.
Hot-cold sour egg with 4 spices
The art deco decor is emphasized by the golden oak panels on walls punctuated by stained glass and beige leather chairs with aluminum frames. All in all, a very simple décor that leaves you focused on the dishes.
Small multicolored vegetable ravioli
A dinner at Arpège is a succession of beautiful and colorful dishes, flawless service, and a pleasant atmosphere. But it goes beyond that. Alain Passard has inspired so many chefs in so many different ways, introducing a new concept of cuisine, and giving a new lease of life to vegetarian cooking.
Arlequin mixed vegetables with argan oil and root merguez
Pete Wells, the restaurant critic for the New York Times, wrote about l’Arpège: “If vegetables can have feelings, these did. They tasted happy.”
I definitely agree with him, Alain Passard lends them a soul and a story!
Profiterole with “flouve” ice-cream
Terre & Mer (Earth & Sea): €390
Le Printemps des Jardins (Garden’s Spring): €320. (Vegetarian)
Restaurant Arpège is open from Monday to Friday all year long.
From 12 to 2:30 pm at lunch and from 7 to 10:30 pm at dinner.