Friday, December 23, 2005

Le Transversal at MAC/VAL

Here are a few pictures from my recent lunch at the new MAC/VAL (Contemporary Art Museum of the Val de Marne, a suburb located 3km from Paris) restaurant, "Le Transversal". Although located in the boondocks of the for-the-moment ungentrified "neuf quatre", the art museum has obviously had a lot of money spent on it (I went to have lunch, obviously, and didn't really care too much for the art on display..). Lunch is based on 47 different dishes that range from 2.50 E to 10 E, which can be mixed and matched, depending on your tastes, with a few suggestions indicated to get you on your way. The real attraction here seems to be the ten-course evening "miniature" tasting menu, which I'll try in the near future. The spirit seems fairly similar to the cuisine of La Famille , top produce presented in a minimalist fashion, and the decor is also very brut, with lots of concrete, simple wood floor, and not much in the way of accoutrements... I had a chance to speak with one of the owner/chefs, Laurent Chareau (formerly Gilles Choukroun's second at the Café des Délices) in the kitchen, and he seemed a little down on as to the restaurant would work out or not, being so far from Paris center. He also seemed to feel that they needed to keep stable "diplomatic" ties with the museum itself. Service, to tell the truth, was seriously lacking, all of the waitstaff evidently recruited without much job experience, but they were very accomadating, and seemed to know the menu pretty well. Laurent seemed a little worried as well that Inaki's star power might transfer much needed pubicity away from Transversal when he opens up his new place, Le Chateaubriand, in January..

Incidentally, on their philosophy of melding food with art theme, I took a stroll through the (disappointing) Jacques Monot exhibit afterwards, and found in the middle of the room a small white rabbit with the tag "Monot l'a peinte" , meaning, Monot painted this- which also has a direct correlation on the menu, as one of the daily dishes is called "Mono Lapin" (One-Rabbit, or Uni-Rabbit). Gimicky.. Should've taken a picture..