As promised, my report back from last night’s dinner at a.léa:
Œuf parfait, Trompettes de la mort et Chanterelles en persillade, Croutons à l’ail 16€
Langoustines rôties, Médaillon de pomme de terre, Bisque safranée, Huile de basilic 17€
Poireaux crayons, Salade de coquillages, Pancetta, Noisettes, Sauce marinière au citron 14€
Rillettes de canard maison, Pickles de légumes 11€
Quasi de veau et sa farce fine aux herbes, Pomme noisette, Condiment ail confit, Jus de viande 26€
Poêlée de gnocchis de patate douce, Pleurotes, Châtaignes, Coulis d’oignons doux des Cévennes 24€
Aile de raie, Mousseline de céleri rave, Vierge Granny Smith et raisin blanc, Sauce Hollandaise 26€
Assiette de fromages (Comté AOP 18 mois, Valençay, Brie de Nangis), Confiture de cerises noires 10€
Brioche perdue à la vanille, Caramel au beurre salé, Crème fouettée 10€
Pomme rôtie, Crumble à la cannelle, Crème crue, Sirop d’érable 9€
We started with an excellent amuse bouche of chopped beets with toasted buckwheat, and a bit of dill on crème fraîche that was excellent. The play of textures and the additional accent of the dill made the dish.
Our two friends, one from SF and one from NYC, took the oeuf parfait and trompettes de la mort and chanterelles and were more than delighted by it. My wife, too , was delighted by the langoustine dish, and I very much liked the leeks with the shellfish which was a good combination that was a touch unusual.
For mains, our visiting friends took the aile de raie (skate wing) and were equally delighted by it, aile de raie not being something that they were used to from the US. My wife and I both took the quasi de veau which also was excellent in quality and preparation, even if not original.
We were all too full to order any of the desserts.
The wine list is solid wines but nothing really exciting. I was glad to find a 2020 Viré-Clessé from the excellent Domaine de Roally, now made by Gaston Thévenet. I had an additional glass of Chinon, which was served too warm (as is almost always the case in restaurants – with a bottle we almost always have to ask for an ice bucket (un seau) to cool the wine slightly, but can’t do that with a glass).
In short, this should be an excellent place to go solo. The lunches served Tue-Sat are bargains, but not quite up to the quality of ordering à la carte at night or for Sunday lunch. With the additional pleasure of wandering around the interesting shops on the north side of the Montmartre hill (don’t miss the used book store) and perhaps a visit to the very interesting Musée de Montmartre, where a new show on Fernande Olivier (Picasso’s muse and mistress from 1904 to 1912, which includes the period when they lived in Montmartre), solo diners (and others) should find a.lea a most worthwhile address. On my four-point scale, it rates a solid three (and I’m a very spoiled diner).