The first time I flew into Luxembourgh, on a tiny prop plane from Dublin, another employee suggested a dinner for the five of us who had just met. A day later, I received an email inviting us to an Italian restaurant two nights hence.
We all met in our hotel lobby on the appointed evening, then walked down the winding streets to a small whitewashed house on the Alzette River. We had arrived at Mosconi.
When my co-worker said “Italian restaurant,” I had not expected Michelin one-star dining! It was a magical evening. The food was a series of small, incredibly delicious delights. The chef provided amuse-boche (link to what that is) to keep us entertained between courses, the wine was excellent, and the service (our own waiter!) was flawless. As we wandered back to our hotel a few hours later, completely satiated, I thought the Michelin-rated restaurant would be a once in a life time experience.
I was wrong. A few years later, I mentioned to a Luxembourg coworker with how much I had enjoyed dining at Mosconi. His eyes lit up! Oh, he said, we must try another one. You must have something to compare it to! And that’s how I found myself at ma langue sourit the next afternoon.
This time, I knew to take my time and fully appreciate the experience. We arrived at 1PM and didn’t make our exit until 4:30PM, and that only because I had a rental car to return and a plane to catch. This time, I remembered to take pictures, so I could later recall everything about this amazing afternoon.
First, the wine. I think we had two bottles of it over the course of the meal. My coworker grew up in the local wine country, so I let him select the bottle. It was fun listening to him and the waiter debating the merits of the wines on offer, in a mix of German, French, and Luxembourghish. The wine was silky smooth and quite delicious!
This multilingual conversation continued throughout the afternoon as we ordered various dishes, with both host and waiter working hard to translate into English for my benefit.
I have no idea what was actually *in* the starter I ordered but it was a complete delight to my taste buds. So many different, delicate flavors. And that frothy, light brown sauce? As the plate was set before me, the waiter gently poured it out around the food, ending with a small flourish. No idea what *that* was but I had to suppress the urge to lick the platter when I was done!
As the waiter went through the main courses, the one with risotto caught my interest. I love a good risotto and it had to be excellent at a Michelin-rated place, no? The problem was that despite the English menu, I couldn’t figure out what the other ingredient was. Four languages and about 10 minutes of discussion later, I still didn’t know, but I ordered the selection anyways, figuring the risotto alone would be worth it.
When it arrived, the mysterious word became quite clear: octopus. Hmm. Never had it before. And I may never have it again because I became completely spoiled by how tender and juicy this one was. Oh, my! I ate so slowly, trying to make it last forever: a tiny bite of octopus, a few grains of risotto, then a sip of wine. By this point, I had lost all track of time. Thank goodness I had set my phone to alarm me at 4:00 so that we had a good 30 minutes to make our exit.
I did forget to take a photo of the sparking wine we had with the amazing dessert plate. Oh, my, everything on this jet-black platter was bite-size and completely delicious. From sour to sweet, bitter to salty, this small selection had every single taste bud covered.
See that caramel square in the middle of the bottom row? My host generously let me have it since there was only one. I literally did not speak for five solid minutes, letting it melt slowly on my tongue. I can still remember how impossibly creamy and slightly salty it was. Best. Caramel. Ever.
The name “ma langue sourit” translates to “my tongue smiles” in English. The story goes that the chef’s daughter said that after eating something he had given her. I had to agree: my tongue was still smiling as I fell asleep that night.
I think fine dining is dying out everywhere… but I think there will be – and there has to always be – room for at least a small number of really fine, old-school fine-dining restaurants.
Read more about Mosconi: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosconi_(restaurant)
Read more about ma langue sourit: Michelin Guide (Note: It holds two stars as of 2019, but it had only one at the time of my visit in 2015.)