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A Michelin-star restaurant in Alsace: Au Vieux Couvent

Alexis Albrecht, the chef at Au Vieux Couvent, takes us on a walk through an aromatic garden, where he introduces us to a host of wild herbs.

After a warm and friendly welcome by the chef himself, we are led to our table in a bright dining room with a view of a peaceful stream, lined with weeping willows. The decor is rich and colorful, just like the meal awaiting us.

The dishes on the à la carte menu or one of the three set menus guide you on your culinary journey, whether you choose the ‘Gourmand’ menu (amuse-bouches, appetizer, main course, dessert, and petit fours), the ‘Plaisir’ menu (amuse-bouches, appetizer, two mains, festival of desserts, and petit fours), or the ‘Dégustation’ menu (amuse-bouches, two appetizers, three mains, festival of desserts, and petit fours). Food intolerances and allergies are very much respected, and alternatives are suggested. The restaurant’s wine cellar is comprised of 400 wines from Alsace and other regions, as well as from Italy.

The Plaisir menu (Pleasure) is very aptly named: a pleasure for the senses and the chef’s pleasure in sharing his craft are very much present in each dish. His cuisine is indulgent, authentic, and inventive. Furthermore, there is a perfect balance between traditional recipes and modernity (with nods to molecular cuisine, such as the Rose Snow palate cleanser to start off the lengthy dessert festival). Even though his creations are proudly rooted in Alsace, there is also a noticeable Italian influence (Lucienne, the chef’s mother, is Italian).

Every dish is like a harvest, honoring the herbs and produce from the family vegetable garden, which the chef combines with local and seasonal products (fish from the Rhine and the French coast, and game from nearby forests). The motto “from nature to your plate” is an illustration of the creative process through which Alexis Albrecht brings out the all the flavors of the produce he grows with his father in their 6000 m2 vegetable patch, as well as the products he sources from his carefully selected suppliers. Respecting the land and the seasons is a core value at Au Vieux Couvent.

The festival of desserts is a series of five different creations, brought together to form a harmonious, masterful whole. Alexis Albrecht fully deserves his 2015 title of Gault & Millau Pastry Chef of the year. He is also well deserving of his Michelin star and green Michelin star (awarded to chefs with a particular commitment to sustainable gastronomy).

The staff are attentive, thorough, and meticulous. The atmosphere is warm and relaxed – a far cry from the (too) stereotypical groveling attitude one sometimes encounters in certain gourmet restaurants.

We particularly enjoyed the chef’s friendly welcome and enthusiasm for sharing his passion with his clients, the graphic and appetizing presentation of the dishes, and the restaurant’s culinary identity in focusing on nature and wild herbs, which really added value to each dish.  A few stand-out dishes were the unusual yet balanced combination of swordfish carpaccio with wildflowers and heirloom herbs, the perfect roast venison, and the fresh, sparkling mojito sorbet for dessert.

Au Vieux Couvent
📍 6 rue des chanoines, 67860 Rhinau

12 replies on “A Michelin-star restaurant in Alsace: Au Vieux Couvent”

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