DIJON, FRANCE, Dec 29, 2017: At Loiseau des Ducs, in the heart of ancient Dijon, a star is rising. In the constellation of French gastronomy, a culinary force has been fulminating.
Loiseau des Ducs is an enchanting bistro and excellent fine dining experience in the ancient vaulted chambers of a 16th-century historical building. It is beautifully located mere steps from the Place de Liberation, the grand plaza in the center of Dijon.
Chef Louis-Philippe Vigilant at Loiseau des Ducs
It is also the proving ground of Michelin starred chef Louis-Philippe Vigilant. He is 24 years old and holds one Michelin star.
More impressively he has won a Michelin star for 4 years in a row, winning his first Michelin star in 2014 when he was only 19.
Loiseau de Ducs is the Dijon outpost of the expansive empire of French national treasure Relais Bernard Loiseau, run by his widow Dominique from their Two Michelin starred resort in nearby Saulieu.
They also have a One Michelin starred restaurant in Beaune, Loiseau des Vigne, located in the historic 14th century Hotel Le Cep. Together their restaurants are a series of three distinct culinary experiences spanning the breadth and depth of Burgundy itself.
At Loiseau de Ducs they have a fiery bistro with a distinctive edge where Chef Vigilant creates a culinary tour de force in a beautifully historic, elegant, yet casual setting.
Chef Vigilant makes his mark with a crack staff, a buoyant personality, and the driven character of a man with unbridled passion for Haute Cuisine.
Combine a casual wine bar with a gourmet dining experience, without pretense. The result is a vividly joyous evening of expressive fare in an extraordinary setting.
Place de Liberation and Loiseau des Ducs – in the heart of Dijon
Dijon is the capital of the modern province of Burgundy. Its long pedestrian esplanade through the center of town is legendary, as is its farmers market.
At the crowning center of the town is the City hall and a massive open plaza dating from Napoleon. As the sun sets, colored fountains splash with delight in a rainbow array across the night sky.
In the center across from city hall two large columns adorn the entrée to a smaller street and the cloistered beauty of Loiseau des Ducs.
Unassuming from the outside, it opens up into an expansive series of stunning vaulted chambers on the inside holding the main dining rooms and a lovely private room for large parties and special occasions.
It is famous for its selection of fine wines by the glass, preserved in the bottle by their proprietary serving system. In many ways Loiseau des Ducs is as much a destination for wine lovers as it is for diners.
Loiseau des Ducs – The Meal
But it is the dining that is, above all, the star attraction. Chef Vigilant does not disappoint. Over the course of the next two hours a six course meal ensues that delights the senses with an air of casual joie de vivre and culinary intensity.
Service is precise, energetic, friendly and enthusiastic. The entire team is a seamless unit, from our server Stephane Remont to female Sommelier extraordinaire Justine Navas-Dementin.
Crabe tourteau aux algues, a crab seaweed cake with a creamy watercress sauce is an astonishing opener, a wonderful play on flavors and color, delightfully rich in imagination and taste.
Oeuf Parfait aux asperge de Mallemort is a spring asparagus delight. A “perfect” egg with Mallemort asparagus in a parmesan chicken jus is as light and refreshing as it is deliciously clean and simple.
Cote de porcelet roti sur la peau is a crisp pork loin roasted on polenta skin with melted carrots and Bombay curry nuts, sumptuous and bursting with flavor, beautifully cooked.
Ris de veau dore’ au sautoir, or braised sweetbreads, is sensational. Crisp and firm on the outside, succulently juicy on the inside, cooked to perfection
The evening is accompanied by a spectacular 2008 Aurelian Verdet Nuits-Saint-George 1st Cru. Fruit forward with a subtle dryness, it serves as a perfect complement to the array of meat dishes on the menu.
Selle d’Agneau is a beautiful saddle of lamb with a sauce of thyme, lemon, and aubergine, a comfit of artichokes on the side, a sumptuous burst of rich audacious flavor, tenderly exquisite.
An apple tartin infused with jasmine cream is a wonderful first desert, but a spectacular religieuse au chocolat du Bresil is a visual and culinary spectacle of beauty and delight, and sumptuously delicious.
Chef Vigilant commands the team in his kitchen like the conductor of a fine symphony, orchestrating the parts with a panache and style that defines his cooking, with the clear promise of greater things to come.
Loiseau des Ducs, named for the Dukes of Burgundy, takes the history of Dijon and the legacy of culinary legend Bernard Loiseau and remakes it vividly in the image of Louis-Philippe Vigilant.
Walking out of the restaurant into the crisp Dijon night, the fountains of the Place de la Liberation are ablaze with colored light.
The glow of a fine dining experience clings to us long into the night as a new star rises in the culinary heavens.
Air France flies direct to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris and from there to the rest of France and all of Europe from Washington, New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco and a number of American cities.
Joel Berliner is a travel writer based in Los Angeles @JoelBerliner
All photos by Alison Reynolds @BigAlPeoplesPal
Find more of their travel articles at: www.commdiginews.com/author/joel_berliner/