Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Le Souffle

Le Souffle is a cute little French restaurant on the second floor of a nondescript building somewhere in Nishi-azabu. The dinner menu includes various appetizers, fish, and meat dishes, but the main event is clearly the souffle, which comes in about ten savory and maybe twenty-five or thirty dessert flavors. Served with thick cream that comes in a 100-gram measuring cup in either steel or copper, the savory souffles range from simple gruyere cheese to fancier (and more expensive) ingredients like smoked salmon and crab. The dessert souffles have a sweet sauce on top of the cream in the accompanying cup, and the same flavor is incorporated into the souffle itself. The choices are really overwhelming - all kinds of fruit flavors, coffee, chocolate, mint, Grand Marnier - you could go every day for a month and never have the same souffle twice. Also, they seem to be cooked to order, and the menu tells you the approximate wait time, which is 15 minutes for a simple souffle and up to 25 for a more complex one.
I visited Le Souffle with Abby and Eve, and we each ordered different things and gave each other tastes. The top picture is my dinner, a Souffle Champignon. There was a puree of mushrooms, though no visible pieces, incorporated into the batter, and it had a mild mushroom flavor and a slightly browner tinge than Eve and Abby's gruyere cheese souffles. I didn't use all my cream, as it diluted the flavor and wasn't really necessary, as the inside of the souffle was already quite creamy, although the top and sides were nice and springy and actually difficult to collapse - it was much firmer than the souffles I've had and made at home.
For dessert, I ordered the Souffle Framboise, which arrived dusted with powdered sugar and was pink inside. It came with raspberry sauce and cream, and unlike the savory souffle, the sweet one really did benefit from these additions. Eve's vanilla souffle was custardy and simply comforting, while Abby's praline sauce had a delicious caramelized flavor. But I was very happy with my pink dessert, light as air and just barely sweet. Though there were several men dining while we were there, I feel like this is a very girly restaurant, with all the souffles in their cute individual ramekins, light and ladylike.

Le Souffle
Nishi-azabu 3-13-10
Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0031

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