Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dining in Paris - "From Paris With Love"


Global Around Town

Senior Travel Correspondent

Doug Wingate

just got back from a 

calorie filled visit

to Paris.

Here's his report:

For my short 4 day stay, I decided to try several Michelin starred, upmarket places (all at lunch time; I took the evenings "off," choosing a simple baguette sandwich instead), including dining at 2 of the 3 current Parisian offerings of uberchef Joel Robuchon (currently the chef with the most Michelin stars worldwide to his name). The first JR spot I dined at, on my 3rd day in town, was my return to the original "L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon"in the 7th Arr. http://www.restaurants-joel-robuchon.com/modele.php?resto=2&ville=Paris&rub=pratique&image=1&langue=eng

L'Atelier de JR was everything I could have hoped for, and as good as I had remembered it. It was just one faaaaaaantastic mouth orgasm after another, esp. as I opted for the 9 course tasting menu. I also let the sommelier choose a complementary wine-by-the-glass for each of the many courses (including a customary coupe du champagne upon being seated, mais oui). None of this came cheaply of course. With the rotten Euro to Dollar exchange, I ended up dropping over USD$300! But ... it was worth every penny (or Euro, to be precise)!!

The first day I arrived, I dined at a more modestly priced place, but with a nonpareil pedigree as well. I dined at "L'Atelier Maitre Albert" in the Rive Gauche 5th Arr.. http://www.ateliermaitrealbert.com/  It's a beautifully modern interpretation of a rustic rotisserie restaurant, created by Chef Guy Savoy (whose eponymous Parisian flagship is a Michelin 3 star joint too of course). I had a special lunchtime set menu of 3 courses that was a relative bargain: I chose a fancy crabe millefeuille starter, followed by a superb free-range roast chicken with heavenly whipped potatoes, finished by an extraordinarily delicious and unique pamplemousse terrine dessert, which was the perfect light ending to an otherwise hearty meal. All of this, plus the wine, for "only" about USD$70. Again however, the price-to-quality ratio exceeded expectations. 

On my 2nd day in town, I tried New York uberchef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's first foray into the Paris market, with a "casual but trendy" spot in the fancy schmancy 8th Arr., called simply "Market." See http://www.jean-georges.com/ Mr. Vongerichten, who has 3 Michelin stars for his eponymous Manhattan flagship, Jean Georges, was the only one who disappointed me at all (too bad for him as he's a lousy ambassador for the USA to France!). His expensive chicken dish was not even as good as the chicken stuffed with foie gras that they served me in my upgraded Business class seat on my return American Airlines flight!!! Shame on Jean Georges! Don't bother (In fairness, the starting butternut soup was very good, but the main chicken dish was genuinely virtually inedible! I did NOT bother with a dessert there, but instead rolled around the corner to the Champs-Elysees, to stop at one of the many cafes).

I chose a cafe called Le Deauville ( http://www.myparistrips.com/pariscafes.html , near the George V metro stop) mostly because they advertised that they serve Paris's justly famed Berthillon ice creams! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berthillon  A couple of "boules of Berthillon glace" and a very good double espresso made for a superb dessert, and almost erased my bad memory of MARKET.

On my final full day, I tried Joel Robuchon's 16th Arr. entry, "La Table de Joel Robuchon," introduced after his success with L'Atelier. http://www.restaurants-joel-robuchon.com/modele.php?resto=1&ville=Paris&rub=pratique&image=1&langue=eng  Things didn't begin well there, as they called me in the morning to ask me to come at 1:45 PM instead of my original res. of 1:30. No biggie of course. But, when I got there at 1:45, they had no table yet, and sadly they have no bar area either. So, I had to wait in a small vestibule, next to the coat check for about 45 minutes more. However ... Chef Robuchon's staff knows how to "make good" for a problem like having an earlier party NOT vacate their table. After I'd been standing there about 10 minutes, they offered me a complimentary coupe du champagne (a 25 Euro tab at L'Atelier!!), then they brought out a chair for me to sit upon, and also offered me a platter of their best Iberian ham, one of their specialites de la maison (de rigeur in Barcelona, but all the rage in Paris right now too).  And finally when I was seated, they happily were perfection. They also had a special lunchtime-only "Menu 'Club'" that offered an hors d'oeuvre, main dish, cheese course, dessert, coffee and a demi bottle of wine, all for "only" Euro 59 (around USD$80)!!! As my meal was again just superb, and they had already "comped" me over 40 Euro worth of food and wine while I had waited, I was most content! VIVE LE CHEF ROBUCHON!!!

Many thanks 

to Doug 

for keeping us abreast 


The Culinary World in Paris.


  1. I'm green with Paris envy and wiping the drool off my keyboard.

  2. So Willow,

    When were you last in Paris? Perhaps you're ready for another trip. It's been 3 or 4 years for me. What a great city! I need to go again.



  3. oh la la...
    wicked post David...
    please don't do this again !
    tell me, i'm spotting this pic of a young Serge Gainsbourg...very cool
    of course here it's impossible to see the late movie about his life...Critics on Radio France Culture were quite elogious (quite rare, French critics are so damn hard)

    Keep warm and cozy, dear...
    Raining here

  4. Hello Lala,

    Thanks for stopping by. Glad you found it so alluring. Gainsbourg is amazing and I visited his grave in Paris. Jane Birkin just performed here a couple nights ago! And Charlotte has a new recording out called IRM. The blizzard here was intense!!!!! I loved it!
    Except the digging out of my car for the 3rd time. Please don't get washed away!

    Ciao Bellalala,


  5. David -- This all comes in very handy, what with our trip to Paris coming up faster than I'd have imagined. Thanks for sharing. :-) (And thanks for your comment on Bandol rouge the other day -- I've posted a comment as a reply to your own.)
    Have a great weeekend; looking forward to whatever your next post is going to be.
    And Happy Valentine's Day!)

  6. Hi Michael,

    Thanks for stopping by. Thought you might find this helpful. You may also want to check out my first blog in which I visited Paris. It may be helpful and tasty as well. Can't wait to see what you have to say about Bandol other than... gulp!



  7. Beautiful! Someday I will taste Paris and its wine by the glass. Cheers to you! I'm glad I found you again (or you found me)! :)

  8. Well Hello Again,

    So glad you could stop by. Thrilled that you are taken by Paris as I am! I hope all is well with you and that I see you here again soon.



  9. I can see you had the best time in Paris

  10. Bonjour Melanie,

    Doug had a very nice time in Paris I gather. When I was there last I certainly had a spectacular time. I heard Keith Jarrett, and then Angela Gheorghiu at Salle Pleyel. I ate at Goumard, Le Timbre, and Lasserre. I reveled in Laduree where I delighted in Ispahan - their dessert made of: "Smooth rose flavoured macaroon biscuit, rose petal cream, fresh raspberries and lychees". I'll go back for that alone! Of course the Art & Architecture was brilliant as well. I can't wait to go back for more!



  11. Good Day 性感的我,

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