Edition Food Restaurant Profile The Connected Table at Sante Magazine This Month Vol. 26 No. 07

Michelin-Star Lucas Carton Opens the Doors to a New Chapter and Chef

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Lucas Carton in Paris blends history with gastronomy in a setting worthy of a decorative arts museum. Built in 1839 by Théodore Charpentier, who also constructed nearby Galerie de la Madeleine, the restaurant’s stunning interior woodwork by renowned Art Nouveau designer, Louis Majorelle, was part of a redesign in 1885, an effort that took four years to complete.

Originally named Taverne de France, in the 1880s it was a fashionable gathering spot during the regime of Napoleon III. The restaurant was renamed “Lucas” in 1895 under a new owner, a Monsieur Scaliet. “Carton” was added in 1924 under the ownership of Francis Carton.

Several chefs have overseen the kitchen at Lucas Carton since its earliest days, earning this restaurant its place in the Michelin galaxy. Most notably, the late Chef Alain Senderens put Lucas Carton on the map for returning its Michelin Stars so the Chef could have more creative freedom. Senderens is considered a pioneer of France’s lighter, modernized La Nouvelle Cuisine. Today, Lucas Carton is owned by Vranken Pommery, whose champagnes are aplenty on the restaurant’s impressive wine list.

Since September 2021, Lucas Carton’s kitchen is in the talented hands of Chef Hugo Bourny, whose culinary resume includes working with three renowned chefs, all of whom he considers mentors: Arnaud Donckele (La Vague d’Or), Anne-Sophie Pic (Maison Pic) and Hélène Darroze (Hélène Darroze).

Chef Hugo’s visually stunning dishes celebrate the season and local farmers and fishermen. Many of his suppliers are acknowledged by name on the menu. The dishes deliver thoughtful presentations with delicate sauces, generous use of fresh herbs, and balanced flavors. In May of this year, Lucas Carton received a Michelin star under Chef Bourny.

Lucas Carton Chef Hugo Bourny holds the 2022 Michelin Star plaque.
Photo: Lucas Carton

Lucas Carton is also where creating innovative wine and food pairing degustation menus was introduced. These days the several prix-fixe degustation menus are available, with and without wine pairings: four-course (€95 euros/add €75 with wine pairing), five-course (€135 /add €95 for wine pairing), and seven-course (€190/add €125 for wine pairing). While an á la carte option is available, culinary adventurers should embrace the degustation options for the full experience.

We planned an early dinner at Lucas Carton this past April. Restaurant Manager Anna Pollio warmly greeted us as we walked in and led us to a quiet corner table of the dining room with a view of the stunning Majorelle woodwork and sconces.

Corner table, Lucas Carton set against the Majorelle woodwork and Art Nouveau accents
Photo: Lucas Carton, Le Photographie du Dimanche

Wine Director Marcantonio Sassi started us with a welcome of Champagne Pommery Cuvée Louise Nature 2004. This special gem is produced entirely from grand cru vineyards and aged ten years before disgorgement. It was an ideal palate primer for the meal ahead. Sassi took considerable time with us to discuss our wine preferences. As we were about to head to the Loire Valley on a wine-immersive trip, we decided to select on the bottle for the meal rather than opt for a pairing menu. Sassi selected an outstanding Domaine Vacheron Sancerre and a Domaine des Capitelles Vieux Solitaire Grand Reserve 2017 (Languedoc-Roussillon), a Grenache, Syrah, Carignan blend, for the meat course. Both excellent.

As I recap what we ate, I will also note the suggested wine pairings on the degustation menu as examples of the full experience.

Selection of Amuse Bouches
Photo: Lucas Carton, Le Photographie du Dimanche

After an assortment of complementary amuses bouche, we started our four-course plus desserts feast with Brittany crabmeat served in a silky almond sauce with lemon, celery root, and sea urchin garum (pairing: Le Pied de Sansom Viognier, Domaine Georges Vernay, 2018).

Crab from Brittany, Almond Sauce with Lemon, Celery Root and Sea Urchin Garam
Photo: Lucas Carton, Le Photographe du Dimanche

The marinated langoustine was served with bergamot, smoked raw cream, Tasmanian pepper treat leaf, and Primeur Sturia caviar (pairing: Schoffrweg Alsace, Marcel Deiss, 2013). The Sturia Caviar appeared on other dishes we tasted. I learned Sturia is a leading producer of farmed sturgeon caviar in Aquitaine recognized for its delicate salt and hazelnut flavor.

Marinated langoustine with bergamot, smoked raw cream, Tasmanian pepper treat leaf
Photo: Lucas Carton, Le Photographie du Dimanche

What impressed us from the start was the thoughtful mosaic of flavors in each dish using global seasonings, all well balanced, with locally sourced products.

Our next course featured in-season green asparagus from Pointe de la Torrche marinated and grilled over coals and served with bee pollen, mead sorbet, and lemon verbena (pairing: Calvarino Pieropan Soave Classico, 2016).

Pointe de la Torrche grilled green asparagus with bee pollen, mead sorbet and lemon verbena Photo: Lucas Carton, Le Photographe du Dimanche

The French have a talent for turning a simple leek into something sensational, and Chef Bourny demonstrated an excellent example with seared leeks (source: Laurent Berrurier) served with lightly marinated sea bass and nasturtium in a light creamy broth with notes of ginger and an optional dollop of Sturia caviar, supplement €20. We partook!  (pairing: Domaine Vacheron Sancerre Blanc, 2020).

Seared leeks, marinated sea bass in a frothy ginger broth and Sturia Caviar
Photo: David Ransom

The menu at Lucas Carton is a pescatarian’s dream with so many options throughout the menu. My monkfish was smoked and matured with wild garlic and white asparagus sprinkled in a Chartreuse powder (pairing: Domaine Rémy Jobard Bourgogne Blanc, 2016).

Monkfish, smoked and matured, served with wild garlic and Chartreuse and white asparagus
Photo credit: Le Photographe du Dimanche

David Ransom, my steady dining companion, selected Beef (source: Arnaud Billon) matured with Katsuobushi (fermented bonito) served with Béarnaise sauce. Optional topping: 10g of Sturia Cavia for €20 (pairing Domaine Gauby Côtes Catalanes Rouge Vielles Vignes, 2015). David enjoyed the aforementioned Domaine des Capitelles Vieux Solitaire Grand Reserve 2017.

Beef Matured with Katsuobushi, Béarnaise, Sturia Caviar and Celeriac Chips Photo: Lucas Carton, Le Photographe du Dimanche

From Pastry Chef Jordan Talbot’s dessert repertoire, we enjoyed a gem-like Meyer Lemon with marmalade and confit, with almond and orange blossom sorbet (pairing: Sauternes, Castelnau de Suduiraut, Château de Suduiraut, 2010) and a Grand Cru Venezuelan chocolate mini torte with mace-infused ice cream and cocoa nibs. The suggested pairing for this dessert was a cocktail of cocoa liqueur, red fruit, and ice mint. We’d recommend a ruby Port.

Pastry Chef Jordan Talbot’s Meyer Lemon with marmalade and confit, with almond and orange blossom sorbet
Photo: David Ransom
Pastry Chef Jordan Talbot’s Grand Cru Venezuelan chocolate mini torte with mace-infused ice cream and cocoa nibs. Photo: Lucas Carton, Le Photographie du Dimanche

Selections of mignardises followed, and it was tempting to sip and savor an Armagnac. Instead, we opted for a leisurely post-prandial stroll across the Seine to our hotel on the Left Bank. The evening air was scented with Spring flowers. Local Parisians gathered on picnic blankets by the river. The Eiffel Tower’s lights lit up on cue.

And we remembered why we always are drawn back to Paris again and again- and hopefully more often!

Lucas Carton www.lucascarton.com IG @lucascartonparis

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An engaging speaker and writer, Melanie Young hosts the weekly national radio shows, The Connected Table Live, featuring conversations with global thought leaders in wine, food, spirits and hospitality (a Feedspot Top 10 Food & Drink Podcasts for 2021), and Fearless Fabulous You, a lifestyle show for and about women (both on iHeart and more than 30 other podcast platforms). Young has contributed articles on wine, spirits, food, and culinary travel to Wine Enthusiast, Seven Fifty Daily, Wine4Food and Jewish Week. She is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Wine Media Guild, and Women of the Vine & Spirits. Young’s former marketing and events agency, M Young Communications, worked with global wine, food organizations, publishing companies and nonprofits. She had an integral role in the creation, launch and management of The James Beard Foundation Awards, New York Restaurant Week, and Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund (2001) which raised funds to provide for the families of restaurant workers killed in the September 11th terrorist attacks. www.theconnectedtable.com www.melanieyoung.com Instagram @theconnectedtable

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