La Maison Carrier – Chamonix, France
After a long day of skiing, we were looking forward to treating ourselves to a cozy meal. We found La Maison Carrier which describes itself as a “traditional countryside” restaurant. The sister restaurant, Albert 1er, has two Michelin stars and is the “gastronomic” experience. We leaned away from the tasting menus on this trip so we felt comfortable going countryside at La Maison Carrier.
When we walked up, the log cabins felt like a good sign. We were greeted immediately and shown to our table through the bustling dining room. It was interesting how this countryside escape was beginning to feel like a fancy meal in disguise.
We were handed a menu and only a few minutes later a plate was brought over as an appetizer – I do not think we even got one read through of the menu so the dish sat until we were ready… which ended up being awhile.
There were a constant flurry of servers in and out of our area, repeatedly asking if we were ready to order. After several uncomfortable minutes trying to rush our dinner decision, the server took our order and asked for our drinks. We hadn’t even reviewed the wine at this point as we were so focused on our meal choice. And this wine menu was listed as French wine labels are – so you have no clue the grape. We simply looked for words we recognized and went with that. But we could not get a severer to take our wine orders! It took several more minutes of searching to have someone take our wine order. Stress over, we circled on the complimentary appetizer that was placed on the table (which felt like hours ago).
Pate and cured meats
This was certainly a nice treat and really negated the need to get a proper appetizer – there really was a lot here. It was almost a good thing this was brought to the table almost immediately to help sway the amount of food we ordered.
Right as we were finishing our appetizer, the parade of food arrived at the table. Even beat our wine some how… We had to ask again for our wine as we wanted it with the meal (seems like a normal request?). There was so much running around of the servers I think the bystander effect took over as we continued to wait for the wine. Luckily, it arrived by the time I was done photographing all the food displayed on our tiny table – and it was quite a display! With wine in hand, we were ready to eat.
Pike “quenelle” with crayfish for leman lake, piedmontese risotto
I never thought I would have pike “quenelle” so soon – it was one of my favorite dishes at Paul Bocuse Restaurant. This was absolutely delicious! The pike “quenelle” was the perfect light dumpling texture. The sauce was both sweet and savory, creamy and acidic – so well balanced. And the crayfish were a fun addition to add some extra seafood. This dish also came with a mini cast iron bowl of risotto which sopped up the sauce perfectly. I loved everything about this dish and I was so happy with my selection.
Grilled pig’s trotter with bearnaise sauce Savoyard potatoes gratin
Kevin has definitely been the risk taker on this trip – trying to daily specials without much detail of knowledge of what would come out – but this one was all him. When he told me he was ordering the pig’s trotter, I giggled but assumed it wouldn’t be on the menu if it wasn’t worthy. As the server placed it on the table, the entire room of guests stared – a pig’s foot that had been deep fried.
While the breading was tasty and well seasoned, it began quite a journey to figure out what the heck is edible? Most of it was a giant layer of fat and countless number of bones. The potato gratin and the bearnaise sauce were very good but we could not figure out the point of ordering the trotter. Why is it even on the menu if nothing is edible? Unless people eat all that fat? Oh goodness that cannot be. It was a risk and to be fair, most of Kevin’s risks are rewards. This time, not so much.
Carousel of Grandmother’s tarts
We were approached by one of the servers asking if we were interested in dessert. Of course, we are always interested in dessert. She nodded and turned away as if you retrieve a menu to review the options. However, she came back several minutes later stating we could go to the dessert table at any time for the Carousel of Grandmother’s tarts. We really wanted to split a dessert instead of each getting our own but this seemed like a big ask.
Yes, there is a giant round multi-tiered table in the center of the main dining room showcasing an impressive number of desserts – Grandmother’s tarts. Grab a plate and plop on whatever looks good to you. There is a flat fee for the dessert, a steep $15, so have to make it count!
We of course chose as many as we saw fit for our stomach space and they were all surprisingly fantastic. It was easy to tell they were made (maybe not by Grandma but at least not manufactured dessert!). The price is a but much and perhaps it should be more of a charge for the table because we went into the meal with the intention of splitting the dessert option but this is a bill set back.
Then another plate of desserts came out. But this wasn’t like other places that give a parting piece of chocolate, this was a full plate that could have easily been its own dessert.
And finally, the bill. You are charged for everything! My biggest annoyance is when a place charges for water. This was not even a small charge it was 4 euro each – I drink soooo much water as it is, especially with a meal. I get so irritated. Kevin’s coffee was over 5 euro which is expensive for a coffee. Finally, dessert. We originally wanted to split the dessert but we kind of forced into our own due to the server’s presentation of the tarts. I know we could have asked or stopped but I also did not expect the dessert fee to be 15 euro each! Of the trip, the was definitely our most expensive, least amount of food, and fastest meal even though we had the slowest service… which i do not even know how it is possible. It is a shame because I loved loved loved my dish! And the dessert display of tarts was also super cool and delicious but the value just isn’t here. I think you are better off spending the extra money for the Michelin stars places than coming here thinking you are getting a “countryside” meal.