Michelin-Star Dining on Île Saint-Louis: Restaurant Le Sergent Recruteur

The Île Saint-Louis is a tiny island on the Seine just across from Notre Dame and Île de la Cité bordering the Marais on the Right Bank and the Latin Quarter on the Left Bank. It’s mostly a residential neighborhood with former historic palaces from the 1600s. The main street, Île Saint-Louis en L'Ile, is lined with small boutiques and galleries, and the cafes and casual restaurants tend to cater to the tourist trade. 

Restaurant Le Sergent Recruteur, which has one Michelin star, is the exception. At one time, Le Sergent Recruteur was a typical tourist restaurant that served a multi-course pre-fixe menu in a medieval-style dining room and cellar below. Today, it’s been transformed into a serious haute cuisine restaurant under the direction of chef and owner Alain Pegouret

We had lunch last month at Le Sergent Recruteur and it was one of the best Paris restaurant experiences we’ve had in a while. The dark, medieval atmosphere has been replaced by a contemporary space with soft lighting, a compact bar area, a long, narrow dining room with banquettes, natural wood tabletops, and handsome black club chairs in soft leather. 

Le Sergent Recruteur

The menu, printed on a fine paper stock with our name written on the top of it, was a nice touch and a great souvenir. 

It was a cold, gray day, so we chose sauteed foie gras with roasted mango and ginger, infused with vanilla, lime and pineapple as our appetizer. The smooth, silky texture of foie gras paired with the fruit, was a terrific taste sensation. Our other starter, creamy polenta topped with shards of shaved truffles and a poached egg, was our idea of decadent comfort food. (Another appealing feature of the restaurant was the beautiful, oversized serving plates in white porcelain, and the artful presentation.)

The wait staff highly recommended the special main course of the day, Saint Jacques (sea scallops) with a foam of Chardonnay wine and enoki mushrooms—and we profusely thanked him afterwards and raved about how much we liked it.  

Just as we thought the meal couldn’t get any better, along came dessert, which surpassed our expectations in taste and presentation. A life-size leaf was made of chocolate and sprayed with edible gold dye, topped a dish of chocolate and ginger with cacao sorbet; we savored the contrasting flavors of ginger and chocolate. Our other dessert, equally as sublime, was an updated version of the classic Paris Brest, with coffee cream replacing the usual vanilla cream, and a crunchy, light cream puff pastry. 

Alain Pegouret
Le Sergent Recruteur chef and owner Alain
(Photo by Richard Nahem)

We met Chef Pegouret, and we heaped heavy praise upon him, and he graciously and humbly said we were welcome. Pegouret, surrounded by a family of serious foodies, started his appreciation and understanding of gourmet food at only 12 years old, while growing up in Cannes. He earned a degree as chef and moved to Paris to pursue his culinary dreams. He went on to work for some of the top chefs and restaurants including Joel Robuchon, Christian Constant at the Hôtel de Crillon, and then an 18-year stretch at Laurent in Paris. In 2019, Pegouret decided it was time to move on and open his own restaurant and opened Le Sergent Recruteur.

Le Sergent Recruteur offers a fantastic value at lunch with €39 for starter/main course or €49 for starter/main course/dessert or an à la carte menu. It also offers a seasonal, five-course tasting menu for €98 per person and paired with matching wines is €158 per person. 

Le Sergent Recruteur has a beautiful private dining room on the lower level that seats 12, which can be reserved for private functions. The chef can customize the menu. 

It is open Tuesday for dinner, and Wednesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner. 

Visit www.lesergentrecruteur.fr.

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