Edior's note: CHef Yannick Alleno left Meurice in early 2013 and in 2015 moved to Ledoyen. In July 2013 the kitchens here were taken over by the Alain Ducasse empire, initially with Jean-Christophe Santaigne, and then from January 2015 by Jocelyn Herland. Obviously the review below needs to treated with the requisite degree of caution given these changes.
Meurice has a beautiful Belle Epoque dining room, and is truly luxurious in every way. Tables are very generously spaced and the service is impeccable. Attention to detail is a watchword: the bread comes from a small local baker and is superb: perfect brown bread with a fabulous crust, excellent chestnut and multi-grain rolls (20/20).
We opted for a tasting menu. Steamed morels were large, moist and had tremendous flavour, served with a "vin jaune" sauce and a simple but utterly fresh stuffed salad leaf (20/20). Asparagus was of fantastic quality, from Robert Blanc and served with a citrus vinaigrette. arbutus honey and vanilla mousse. While the asparagus was perfect it did not need quite so many flavours (19/20).
Sea bass was very fresh, well timed and offered with perfectly cooked Noirmoutier small potatoes and "fever" beans with early season garlic (19/20). Even better was dazzling wild salmon from l'Adour, which is only in season for a few weeks. Simply cooked with a warm vegetable salad, it is simply the best salmon I have ever eaten, the taste a million miles from the fish we have become all too used to in the UK (20/20).
Pigeon cooked in an aromatic herb jacket was remarkable, the pigeon breast without even a hint of the rubberiness that can occur in less than perfect specimens, the taste of the meat coming through beautifully, the sauce with it an intense reduction flavoured with the liver of the pigeon (20/20).
The only relative false note in the meal was a rare Banon cheese from Provence, served with a lovely green salad and focaccia but with cheese that was merely very pleasant (17/20). The main cheese selection was in fine condition, with for example excellent Camembert and Epoisses (19/20).
Souffleed "gariguette" strawberries had excellent flavour, served with a vanilla Normandy cream and a mixed fruit "caviar", where again the quality of the fruit was very high (19/20). Whipped marscapone cream with liquorice was served with a caramel husk and perfect lemon madeleines (20/20). Even the coffee was just about perfect, dark espresso with great depth of flavour. This was a meal of the highest order, with the morels, salmon and pigeon in particular as good as it is really possible to imagine them being.