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Fodor's Paris 2014
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The name refers to Napoléon's imperial emblem, the bee (the building once housed his grand-nephew), but also pays homage to Philippe Labbé, one of France's distinguished chefs. Everything, from the dove-gray decor to the sparkling silver, speaks of quiet elegance—all the better to highlight a masterful cuisine: "harlequin" of yellow, red, and white beets with a ginger-tinged yogurt and aloe vera emulsion; Breton langoustine in a cinnamon-perfumed gelée, with grapefruit pulp and a ginger- and Tahitian vanilla–infused mayonnaise; lightly caramelized scallops in an ethereal cloud of white-chocolate foam; tender fillet of wild duck with a tart-sweet apricot reduction. Desserts are subtle and surprising, like the apple Reinette, paired with fennel and candied lemon zest. For cuisine of this quality, the €210, seven-course tasting menu at dinner is not outlandish. Service is friendly, discrete, devoid of snobbery, and includes all the flourishes that make a dining experience unforgettable, from the first flute of champagne to the parting gift of—what else?—a jar of honey.
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