Global Around Town
Senior Travel Correspondent
just got back from a
calorie filled visit
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!!!
for keeping us abreast
The Culinary World in Paris.