Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Musee Guimet's Restaurant

Musee Guimet

I lived in Paris on a grant to conduct research on 20th century Chinese-French artistic influences on each other. Musee Guimet was one of the museums I frequented at the time. I always walked back to my apartment for lunch to save money, but one rainy day, I decided to risk eating overpriced mediocre/terrible museum restaurant food (ahem...the Louvre food court...ahem).

They offer an Asian fusion prix fixe during lunch. You can choose to have dim sum dishes (le vapeur) or a fusion main course. Dim sum at a non-dim sum restaurant? Puh-lease. Naturally, I ordered the fusion.

Excited about the menu

The menu looked promising that day:

Salade avec canard fume et framboise
Magret de canard thailandais

I love duck, and there's no better place to have duck than in France, and the Guimet menu had such a concentration of it! I still haven't had Beijing duck in Beijing yet, so we'll have to wait and see if my opinion will change in the future.

My dining companion had the duck salad and I had the shrimp, but of course we shared our salads. Both were very refreshing, and I suppose zesty is the proper adjective to describe these dishes. They created the effect of the slight pinch of nerves that hits you right under your jaw when you taste something delectably sour.

Top: Shrimp Salad with Vietnamese Vinaigrette
Bottom: Salad with Smoked Duck and Raspberries in Raspberry Vinaigrette

The duck breast surprised me in presentation. I expected a whole breast with coconut milk ladled over it, but it came in a beautiful bowl and cover. My second reaction worried me: where the heck is the duck? Are they going to jip me out of a whole breast by disguising some scant pieces of duck breast in a stew of haricots verts and pineapple chunks?

It turns out they sliced the breast very thinly so the spicy coconut sauce could better penetrate the breast and buried the pieces under the haricots verts and pineapples. I still think there's less than a whole breast in the bowl, but I can't stay mad at them too long because the dish was incredibly well prepared. I would have never thought that coconut milk can go so well with duck!

Duck Breast-with haricots verts, bamboo slices, and pineapples braised in coconut milk

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