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On 10/22/2016 at 8:31 AM, Rieux said:

Any suggestions on where I should spend New Year's eve in Paris?  Headed for about a week over New Year's.  Happy for other recent suggestions too.  Is lunch at Jules Verne worth it???

I've had lunch at Jules Verne a few times - most recently about 5 years ago, so take this with a grain of salt...the views are obviously incredible and food and wine list are very good. That said, if you want a michelin starred lunch and not just the view, I'd try one of the other classic one/ two stars - like Tour d'Argent (which also has its detractors) or Taillevent.

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I was in France (Paris, Rouen, Amboise) back in April, and so it's all basically a blur at this point. So, here are some quick hits: Our concierge scored us a lunch seating at Septime, and it wa

This brief review will include the restaurants visited on our two most recent trips to Paris. Now that Don is asking for detailed reviews of 3-Mich restaurants, I will start to add more "color" there.

A group of six of us just got back from a ten day holiday in Paris, Rhone and Champagne where we got to experience the 2015 vendange. It was a pretty awesome trip. High points listed below including s

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Anyone with recommendations for what to do on New Year's eve and New Year's Day?  Open to anything from restaurants to cabaret to a classical concert, etc. on NYE.  I assume many places will be closed on the 1st so we may just walk around, or go to the few museums open, or even day trip to Chartres.

I've traveled a lot, but have very very very little experience in France, so really hoping some France experts come through here!  Also, still looking for gems in Normandy.  

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Any thoughts on the following places?

Benoit (Worth it?  Lunch or splurge for dinner?)

La Coupole (I have heard it has gone way, way downhill from the glory days)

La Cordonnerie

Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie?

Paul Bert

Pierrot

Le Richer

52

 

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3 hours ago, Rieux said:

Any thoughts on the following places?

Benoit (Worth it?  Lunch or splurge for dinner?)

La Coupole (I have heard it has gone way, way downhill from the glory days)

La Cordonnerie

Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie?

Paul Bert

Pierrot

Le Richer

52

 

La Coupole has been awful for quite a while. I had a terrible dinner there 10 or so years ago. Surly, inattentive service. Blah food. Lovely, historic setting. The weirdest part was them blinking the dining room lights while a gang of waiters went to a table to sing happy birthday to a customer. Also hilarious, when you walk in, the maitre d' doesn't ask your name for the waiting list, he gives you a card with a composer's name on it. All night he was yelling "Scarlatti, BEE-thoven, Mozart". It was silly and expensive.

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On 11/2/2016 at 11:51 AM, Rieux said:

Any thoughts on the following places?

Benoit (Worth it?  Lunch or splurge for dinner?)

La Coupole (I have heard it has gone way, way downhill from the glory days)

La Cordonnerie

Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie?

Paul Bert

Pierrot

Le Richer

52

 

We went to Benoit for dinner a year ago. Good, but slightly brusque service. Really great food all around. I'd splurge. But honestly, have you considered Pirouette? If not, you should.

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Parisbymouth has a list of what's open during that time - http://parisbymouth.com/holiday-alert-most-paris-restaurants-will-be-closed/

Worst case scenario is eating a lot of sandwiches from Frenchie to Go...

If Le Cinq is doing their "value lunch" during the time, I would recommend it.  145 euro lunch had so many extras that it almost felt like a good deal.

 

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I never wrote up our Paris trip in January.  I got around to writing about Normandy in the France thread, but left out Paris!

It's been a while, but here are my reflections:

La Bourse et la Vie:  Daniel Rose's casual bistro.  Small, excellent service.  I recall loving a scallop appetizer, having better than average steak frite, and really knowledgeable wine/beverage service.  Fun, would go if nearby, but not a "must eat".

We had reservations at Daniel Rose's Spring for New Year's Eve, but, unfortunately, a week before they had a water leak and had to close the restaurant.  They happily transferred us to his other restaurant Chez La Vieille, nearby, giving us table and time preference.  This very small, very old, very storied restaurant has a first floor bar and counter out of a painting. We were greeted with excellent champagne, and eventually made our way up the apartment staircase (you go through the apartment staircase and hall to get upstairs, the kitchen is a small cubby off the hallway) to the jewel box of the second floor, with 5 tables, purple walls, and a retro 60's mod French feel.  Dinner was several courses.  I remember excellent foie, briny oysters, a delightful blaquette du veau, good desserts, great pairings.  The star of the show was the cheese course with truffles, which I am still dreaming about.  It was a good meal, not very expensive ($130 total including wines pp), and fun.  Afterward we walked over to Notre Dame to hear the bells toll midnight.

Another highlight was dinner at Rimal, a large, bright Lebanese restaurant.  It is sophisticated inside, we went on New Year's day so it was full of local Lebanese and Syrian families.  The huge assortment of mezze we ordered were fantastic, as was the bread, and the wine.  I really enjoyed this restaurant.

The best meal of our trip, and one of the best of my life, was at Frenchie.  We were lucky enough 1) to get a reservation, and 2) to get there first, so we had our pick of tables.  We chose to sit at the two stools next to the kitchen, the only seats with a view of the cooking.  I can't recall all the courses or wines, but, seriously, everything was amazing, the service spectacular, informal, and fun, and the wine pairings superb.  I thought it a bargain for $150 pp including wine pairings.  The hype is true.  If you can get a reservation, go.  

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On 6/4/2016 at 5:36 PM, Pool Boy said:

I cannot believe I have not written up our trip to Paris from this past October, I will have to fix that soon. Pirouette was one of our favorite meals of a trip FULL OF great meals. It set the bar really, really high because we dined there our first night. So.Damn.Good.

I still haven't posted about our trip, but the NYC Buvette thread had me looking at our photos and here's a tease for one of the best things we had in Paris. OK, here's two.

 

 

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On 6/4/2016 at 5:36 PM, Pool Boy said:

I cannot believe I have not written up our trip to Paris from this past October, I will have to fix that soon. Pirouette was one of our favorite meals of a trip FULL OF great meals. It set the bar really, really high because we dined there our first night. So.Damn.Good.

Pirouette was the place we had dinner our first night in paris now almost two years ago. It did indeed set the bar very, very high. They brought us the chalkboard menu (in English) and we had a great meal here - pretty casual place and glad we got in - it helped that it was our first night because we dined somewhat early (maybe 6:30 or 7pm - i know, horrors!) as we were getting close to crashing and burning. Pictures included over two posts because of the 2MB limit and I can't figure out how to make them even smaller - sorry DR!

The salumi sampler was kicked up with the addition of extra pepper and spice. Nice.
The beef tongue tartlet was magnificent, but the autumn truffle over black rice and smoked duck beat it and everything else we had here that evening. So good!

The trout was excellent and beautiful and delicious. The partridge with the foie gras was rich and exceptional, if not visually amazing. If you like this sort of thing as much as I do, you'd love this.

The figs (next post) with white chocolate and ice cream was wonderful, but the ossau iraty cheese, cut to look like a cheesecake, top shellacked with black cherry jam and a small termite pile of spice to experiment with was stunning. I dream of it.

If you are in Paris and you want an excellent meal for a not too shabby price I might add, go here - you will not be disappointed.

 

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We had a late lunch the next day at a local joint (Le Rubis) that was not really prepared for a proper lunch for us anymore, but they dropped down this wonderful board of goodness. He asked if we were American and after confirming he says 'Now you are French!'. Fun!

 

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We also went to Benoit. Great meal. Service appropriately brusque but professional and exceptional food. Tiny tables!

Beef tongue 'terrine'

Foie gras with fig and roasted lettuce

Sole over barely creamed spinach and an amazing sauce

Sweetbreads, kidneys, cockscombs, tiny mushrooms, lardons, and a bit of pasta. And the sauce! (Me in a dish.)

Iced citrus soufflee. With grand marnier drizzled in it. (I mean this had a tiny core of soufflee and surrounded by citrus ice cream and the soufflee topped with zest. A triumph.)

A classic vanilla millefeuille

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After visiting Pere Lachaise cemetery, we walked over to have lunch at Le Square Gardette (fairly close to Le Carillon, one of the Paris terror attacks that happened a few weeks after we were in Paris). Delicious lunch on a cool day after nerding out at such a wonderful cemetery.

Pate with salad

Curried Squash soup

Steak with polenta and braised celery

Swordfish with spinach and fennel

Chocolate mousse with raspberry sorbet

Pear tart

A nice, comfortable place with lots of books all about the place (including the bathroom). It was a satisfying, relaxing reward after several hours at the cemetery. If you visit the cemetery, you would not go wrong visiting this mostly locals place for lunch or I would imaging dinner.

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I was in France (Paris, Rouen, Amboise) back in April, and so it's all basically a blur at this point. So, here are some quick hits:

  • Our concierge scored us a lunch seating at Septime, and it was a really remarkable meal. As we were seated they were doing some last minute prep, and i was watching how carefully everything was done, as we were seated right in front of the kitchen. In particular, there was one guy looking through and shelling something (beans, or bean-like). I was thinking this guy must be low on the totem pole to have this shitty task. Of course, when service starts, he's standing at the pass finalizing and checking everything, which i guess makes him head chef (not Grebaut). Shows you how stupid diners (in this case, me!) can be. Anyway, that's a well-oiled machine putting out incredible food. The wine pairings were thoughtful, as you'd expect, and I had some dishes served with an orange wine, which I'd never heard of. It worked, of course!
  • The night of our Septime lunch we had dinner at Tomy & Co, and it was also great, but as we were sitting there, we remarked to ourselves that not many people in this restaurant that are no doubt loving their meal can say it was only the second best meal of their day. We spoiled ourselves for sure.
  • The concierge recommended AG Les Halles, and it was a sleek, modern interior right by Pirouette. We had the tasting menu, which was fantastic, huge portions, i couldn't even finish the meal. Unfortunately we were one of 2 tables seated out of the entire restaurant, which was a shame given the tasting menu price and quality of food coming out of the kitchen. The chef came out to greet everyone and chat, which was nice.
  • Pirouette was as delicious as ever. I ate sea urchin. it was creamy and delicious.

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  • Relais de Entrecote, as I noted in my previous post, serves amazing all you can eat steak and fries in this delicious sauce.
  • Cafe Des Abattoirs was great. open on Sunday! 

Perhaps most importantly, we discovered Sancerre wines!

And there's so much more!

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I've been to Paris a bunch of times, but I haven't done any high end dining or even much dining in well known places (even if they aren't high end), so I can't speak to most of the article, but I do think the "say bonjour" piece of advice is accurate. I can understand a little French and can read a lot from years of Spanish, but I can't speak much French. I've found that saying bonjour when I walk into an establishment really helps with my interactions even if I have to fumble through my horrible French or ask if the proprietor or attendant speaks English (which most people do and in my experience they're very nice about it).

Oh, and I've rarely made reservations anywhere, but maybe that's bad form or not necessary in the kinds of places I've dined (mostly unknown cafes and bistros).

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Seems pretty true to our experience from 3 years ago.  We say bonjour/bonsoir to everyone that we interacted with, and I cannot recall a rude interaction from the trip.  It seems like civilized way to behave.  

We reserved at most places when we can.   Most restaurants we went to are quite small compared to American establishments.  We did get a table at Frenchie (reservation was impossible even planning 2 months out and constant monitoring) while trying to get a seat at the ridiculously crowded, loud, and hot Frenchie bar a vins.  I don't think we were even given any non pre fixe options at any restaurants we went to, other than at wine bars.

Parisbymouth has a list of restaurants that are open in late December.  High travel costs and musuem closings would make a Christmas trip challenging, the potential of a heat wave with no AC is sufficient incentive for me to stay away from Europe between June and September, and avoidance of ravenous tourist hordes is a bonus. 

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My wife and I are headed there for four nights in January. I haven't been since my freshman year of high school, so excited to explore the city from a food perspective, since I just went wherever my parents took us. I remember good meals, but they were on the simpler end since my younger sisters were also with us.

We haven't settled on a hotel yet and are just starting to think about which sites we want to hit. But I don't even know where to begin when it comes to restaurants. I think we might want to do one big lunch (do we have a 3-star budget? maybe if on the lower end of the price scale). I know many of the names of the top dog restaurants, but couldn't distinguish which ones to focus on. And then maybe hit up a 1-star for a dinner or two. I love oysters, she doesn't, and this seems like a good time of year for that. Since it's winter, I guess many of the heavier dishes like cassoulet will be on the menu, which would be nice to try there since I generally favor the dish.

I don't even know where to begin when it comes to figuring out food as there are a million and one websites (other than, of course, this one ;) ) . Looking for any and all recommendations for patisseries, markets, cheese shops, bistros, brasseries, nicer places and more. Thanks!

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2 hours ago, Deac said:

My wife and I are headed there for four nights in January. I haven't been since my freshman year of high school, so excited to explore the city from a food perspective, since I just went wherever my parents took us. I remember good meals, but they were on the simpler end since my younger sisters were also with us.

We haven't settled on a hotel yet and are just starting to think about which sites we want to hit. But I don't even know where to begin when it comes to restaurants. I think we might want to do one big lunch (do we have a 3-star budget? maybe if on the lower end of the price scale). I know many of the names of the top dog restaurants, but couldn't distinguish which ones to focus on. And then maybe hit up a 1-star for a dinner or two. I love oysters, she doesn't, and this seems like a good time of year for that. Since it's winter, I guess many of the heavier dishes like cassoulet will be on the menu, which would be nice to try there since I generally favor the dish.

I don't even know where to begin when it comes to figuring out food as there are a million and one websites (other than, of course, this one ;) ) . Looking for any and all recommendations for patisseries, markets, cheese shops, bistros, brasseries, nicer places and more. Thanks!

Scott, ask Andy.

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And for the food, I would plan a couple nice meals, but otherwise, we really didn't have a problem finding good meals at cafes or other places along the way, and if we saw a place one night that was booked that we wanted to try, we would just make a reservation for another night.  We use Amex to do all the reservations, so we didn't have to worry about it, and noted that our phones would be turned off, so we wouldn't be able to answer a call to confirm.  There are so many choices, I just added a bunch of places I thought about to a google map and then figured out which were ones that made sense based on where we would be- I used this site, No Reservations, and a few places from some blogs.  It all worked out well.  It helps that my Mom and I look a little french and I speak a little, although I sometimes will say something that word wise is correct, but slang wise or saying wise is not correct.

The last time I went we stayed on a market street, and that was just fun!

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On 10/3/2018 at 1:14 PM, DonRocks said:

Scott, ask Andy.

I'm not Andy but happy to give some recommendations based on my last trip to Paris.

Re: 3-stars: they're all so different, so it's difficult to make a recommendation without knowing your tastes.  But if you're open to modernist/experimental/molecular cuisine, the lunch menu at Pierre Gagnaire is a steal (at 90 euros now, I think).  You'll get less luxe ingredients than ordering ALC, but my lunch there was still perhaps the most exciting meal of my life -- a four-hour-plus thrill ride in the hands of a creative genius.  On the more classical end of the spectrum, L'Astrance was underwhelming, and L'Ambroisie was the most perfect meal I've had but probably out of your stated price range.  I loved Ledoyen under Le Squer, but he's at Le Cinq now, and Alleno is in (I haven't been to either new iteration).  There's a bargain online lunch offer at Guy Savoy, too, but I've never been, and never figured out exactly how it worked -- perhaps you could call and ask.  

Another great lunch bargain is the lunch menu at Nomicos (65 euros, including wine and coffee), where you'll find excellent, Robuchon-esque food.  I found the cooking more correct than exciting, but at that price, I had absolutely no complaints.  

A major trend is Japanese chefs taking charge of Parisian kitchens, cooking French cuisine (NOT fusion) but bringing a technical perfectionism and attention to detail that are otherwise fading qualities.  I had a wonderful dinner at L'Alliance (a one-star) -- elegant, refined, contemporary cooking in a stylish (and intimate) dining room.  Tasting menus at 95 and 120 euros.

As for more casual eating: Chez L'Ami Jean is a perennial modern bistro recommendation, but for good reason.  Great soba at Abri Soba, if you need a break from French food.  Jacques Genin for spectacular desserts (his cheesecake was a revelation).  Laurent Dubois was my favorite cheese shop (wonderful Comte, among other things), but it's very much a retail shop, and not set up for tourist grazing (though the people there were helpful--though having a modicum of French helped, I think).  Georges Larnicol for macarons.

Hope this helps.  You'll find so many more recommendations than you'll have time for.

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This brief review will include the restaurants visited on our two most recent trips to Paris. Now that Don is asking for detailed reviews of 3-Mich restaurants, I will start to add more "color" there. If you want to get treated like a fine-dining troglodyte then these are the places to go.  Having had meals in the past 4 years at Guy Savoy, Arpege, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee, Epicure,  Ledoyen, and Astrance the only one that I would happily pay my own money to eat at again is Ledoyen. My vehement POV at this point is that 3-star experiences in Paris are not my preferred way to spend my dining dollars anymore. By far the best meals we have had in Paris recently were at more casual places. 

Pastry

Jacques Genin - We always visit there on our trips to Paris and their tea room in the Marais is a long time favorite. Don't miss the caramels (they are 100% worth the €120/kg price tag), tarte citron and mocha.

Pain de Sucre Patisserie - They specialize in savory pastry which is a nice change of pace from the sweet stuff.

Cedric Grolet - The hottest new pastry shop in Paris. Products are stunningly beautiful, but I wouldn't make a return visit.

Gateaux D'Emotions - BEST Canele de Bordeaux that I have ever had. At the corner of Varenne and Rue Bac, its a great addition to the already insane pastry crawl in that neighborhood. 

More Casual Dining

Restaurant Champeaux - Good example of a casual French brasserie. Without a doubt, do not miss the souffles. 

L' Assiette Paris  XIV - Laid back French brasserie with classic preparations. Warm and friendly service.

Frenchie To Go - We went for breakfast. Great coffee and pastry along with heartier options which is somewhat unique in Paris.

Frenchie Wine Bar - Fun and buzzy. Great wine list and fresh, produce forward preparations.

Les Enfants du Marche - We spent an afternoon there eating and drinking while it poured. We tried half the menu and really loved everything. The food isn't light but its modern. Curated but high quality natural wine selection. A must go on all future trips to Paris. 

Le Rigamarole - When Americans make Japanese style food in France and magic happens... Also a great natural wine list. Service is warm and friendly. 

La Bourse et La Vie - We went for lunch. Food is good but not otherwise memorable. Best part of the meal was the young American on a trip with his girlfriend at the table next to us. He mistook the bowl of brown sugar cubes for cookies and ate two of them  while she sat in horror. 

L'Avant Comptoir De La Mer - No reservations, standing room only seafood. Menu is famously on the wall and hanging from the ceiling. Food was great, but we didn't think they were very helpful when it came to selecting wine by the glass. Would just order a bottle of something familiar next time - they have a great selection that is fairly priced.

Breizh Cafe - Modern, high end crepes. We sat outside under blanket and heat lamp for dessert. Very enjoyable. 

La Regalade Saint Honore - Classic French brasserie. You really can't go wrong with anything on their menu except the souffle which had so much grand marnier in it that it was almost inedible. Seating there is both tight and awkward so if that will bug you, not a good choice. Love their all you can eat pate. 

Mokonuts - By far our favorite meal on our most recent trip to Paris. We had the entire menu (only 5 items) and a gorgeous bottle of Pet Nat. Only open for breakfast and lunch. Their sweet-savory cookies are phenomenal as well. 

Restaurant Baieta - Newly opened with a seafood focused menu. Highlights were the octopus and savory poultry. They also recommended a red Sancere that was surprising and really delicious.

Fine  Dining

Restaurant Kei - We love Kei. Its not on any cool list. Their price fix 52€ 5 course lunch is the best deal in town. Also they pour insanely good champagne by the glass.

Alain Ducasse at Hotel Plaza Athenee - NEVER AGAIN... Maybe I should have been impressed by the bowl of steamed haricot vert, but I wasn't. The somm was as offended by our preference for Laval (edited) as we were by his recommendation of Comtes. But these are stories for another thread

Ledoyen - We had a really lovely meal there and enjoyed everything we tried. Service was attentive but not cloying and even a little casual, which we liked. The famous caviar tart is not to be missed.

Restaurant Epicure - Totally unmemorable meal. 

Guy Savoy - We ordered the tasting menu and should have ordered a la carte. Service was dismissive. The famous chestnut and truffle soup is the only thing I'd want to eat from that meal again. Also, we were served variations of potato chips with two courses. They were the second best part of the meal. 

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11 hours ago, lekkerwijn said:

Alain Ducasse at Hotel Plaza Athenee - NEVER AGAIN... Maybe I should have been impressed by the bowl of steamed haricot vert, but I wasn't. The somm was as offended by our preference for Lavalle as we were by his recommendation of Comtes. But these are stories for another thread

Spill !

Really? Never again?!

Was there one bean? ;)

Seriously, I am so done with trusting sommeliers - if anyone knows even a moderate amount about wine, never, ever assume the sommelier knows more than you do. Are you talking about the Champagne Georges Laval? (or the Rioja Lavalle?) And the Taittinger Comtes? If so, you have my sympathies - once you get into a pissing contest with the sommelier in a French restaurant, the evening is over.

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12 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Seriously, I am so done with trusting sommeliers - if anyone knows even a moderate amount about wine, never, ever assume the sommelier knows more than you do. Are you talking about the Champagne Georges Laval? (or the Rioja Lavalle?) And the Taittinger Comtes? If so, you have my sympathies - once you get into a pissing contest with the sommelier in a French restaurant, the evening is over.

This is just one data point, but I do have to stick up for the sommelier at Gagnaire, c. 2006.  I was dining solo and looking for a half bottle to go with the seafood-heavy lunch menu, and the sommelier recommended a white St.-Joseph, which was the absolute cheapest wine on the list.  And it made sense: a relatively simple, fruity wine to go with really complex food.  

Gagnaire  also had the best overall service I've encountered at a 3-star.  My wine sitting in the ice bucket was getting too cold, so I mentioned to a waiter that I'd like to leave it out.  A few minutes later, another server came by to top up my glass and returned the bottle to the bucket.  Just as I was reaching to take the bottle back out, the first waiter practically leapt across the dining room to do it for me.  And it wasn't this dramatic or overly fussy gesture--just an expert reading of the room that gave me confidence that I was in good hands for the entire service.

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18 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Spill !

Really? Never again?!

Was there one bean? ;)

Seriously, I am so done with trusting sommeliers - if anyone knows even a moderate amount about wine, never, ever assume the sommelier knows more than you do. Are you talking about the Champagne Georges Laval? (or the Rioja Lavalle?) And the Taittinger Comtes? If so, you have my sympathies - once you get into a pissing contest with the sommelier in a French restaurant, the evening is over.

17 hours ago, Mark Slater said:

At the restaurant in Le Bristol, they bring a Champagne cart to the table when you sit down with 6 or 7 bottles including Krug and Dom Perignon. 

Don - you can move this to rants about 3-Michelin Star restaurants thread if you'd like. 

Two trips-ago to Paris we went on a Michelin binge, eating at Epicure (lunch), Alain Ducasse (dinner) and Ledoyen (lunch)  in the span of three days. As noted previously, Epicure was totally unmemorable. I had to dig back into my Instagram to remember what we ate and even then it didn't really ring a bell. 

Alain Ducasse ... It was a totally memorable meal but for all of the wrong reasons. We arrived at the restaurant and they brought around the Champagne cart with, as Mark notes, 6 or 7 different luxe choices including some by magnum. We may be unusual in this preference, but we like to drink Champagne like wine, with a meal. And we prefer grower Champagne. So we declined the cart and asked to see the wine list. A rather surly, older Somm showed up at our table clutching a huge wine list tightly against his chest. In haughty French accent-inflected English he says, "I understand you wish to drink Champagne by the bottle..." and then proceeds to rattle off what was in the cart as if we didn't hear it the first time. We explain, that yes, we want a bottle. I think he assumed we were being cheap Americans, so then he asks what kind of Champagne we are "familiar with". We explain that we prefer grower Champagne and in particular like Selosse, Prevost and Laval. He sneered. Cleared his throat and said, "A meal like this requires something a bit more, errr, refined." Then he recommended Taittinger Comtes de Champagne. 

Ledoyen ... They had a lot of Selosse on their wine list and were more than happy to sell us whatever we wanted by the bottle. Also the food was a lot better than Alain Ducasse and far more memorable than Epicure.

Our meal at Guy Savoy in late September began with something of a repeat performance by their younger, slimmer Somm of what we experienced at Alain Ducasse. This time at least he let us review their wine list. After explaining our preference for grower Champagne, we asked for suggestions from their list. He offered us two - one at 180€ the other around 900€. When we asked him to describe the difference between the two, both were NV brut, he rolled his eyes and said "the maker". Grrrr.... Ultimately he did recommend a rose champagne that was actually really nice and something we would drink again. It was only 200€, marked up 400%. 

So moving forward we will just conduct the Selosse test - our new proxy indicator for a restaurant that will understand our POV on wine and life. 

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41 minutes ago, lekkerwijn said:

Alain Ducasse ... It was a totally memorable meal but for all of the wrong reasons. We arrived at the restaurant and they brought around the Champagne cart with, as Mark notes, 6 or 7 different luxe choices including some by magnum. We may be unusual in this preference, but we like to drink Champagne like wine, with a meal. And we prefer grower Champagne. So we declined the cart and asked to see the wine list. A rather surly, older Somm showed up at our table clutching a huge wine list tightly against his chest. In haughty French accent-inflected English he says, "I understand you wish to drink Champagne by the bottle..." and then proceeds to rattle off what was in the cart as if we didn't hear it the first time. We explain, that yes, we want a bottle. I think he assumed we were being cheap Americans, so then he asks what kind of Champagne we are "familiar with". We explain that we prefer grower Champagne and in particular like Selosse, Prevost and Laval. He sneered. Cleared his throat and said, "A meal like this requires something a bit more, errr, refined." Then he recommended Taittinger Comtes de Champagne. 

Things you wish you were there to say, but weren't:

"An interesting choice, but when I had dinner with M. Ducasse, he mentioned that his humanist cuisine calls out for something that isn't mass-produced."

I'll bet that positively infuriated you.

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On 10/12/2018 at 4:30 PM, Mark Slater said:

Selosse in this country is wildly expensive. 

Don't I know it. We purchase it in France and bring it back to the US.  We've found that restaurants in Europe and Asia can have bottles that are reasonably priced in comparison to what we'd pay for the same bottle at retail stateside. 

On 10/12/2018 at 4:57 PM, DonRocks said:

Things you wish you were there to say, but weren't:

"An interesting choice, but when I had dinner with M. Ducasse, he mentioned that his humanist cuisine calls out for something that isn't mass-produced."

I'll bet that positively infuriated you.

He couldn't have found a more perfect way to insult us to our faces. 

What we should have said is that 2006 Comtes is "airplane" bubbles. At the time Qatar Airways was serving it in business class. A couple months later we had a good laugh about it while polishing off at least two bottles on the three hour flight between Sao Paolo and Buenos Aires. 

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On 10/7/2018 at 2:49 PM, Simon said:

I'm not Andy but happy to give some recommendations based on my last trip to Paris.

Re: 3-stars: they're all so different, so it's difficult to make a recommendation without knowing your tastes.  But if you're open to modernist/experimental/molecular cuisine, the lunch menu at Pierre Gagnaire is a steal (at 90 euros now, I think).  You'll get less luxe ingredients than ordering ALC, but my lunch there was still perhaps the most exciting meal of my life -- a four-hour-plus thrill ride in the hands of a creative genius.  On the more classical end of the spectrum, L'Astrance was underwhelming, and L'Ambroisie was the most perfect meal I've had but probably out of your stated price range.  I loved Ledoyen under Le Squer, but he's at Le Cinq now, and Alleno is in (I haven't been to either new iteration).  There's a bargain online lunch offer at Guy Savoy, too, but I've never been, and never figured out exactly how it worked -- perhaps you could call and ask.  

 Another great lunch bargain is the lunch menu at Nomicos (65 euros, including wine and coffee), where you'll find excellent, Robuchon-esque food.  I found the cooking more correct than exciting, but at that price, I had absolutely no complaints.  

A major trend is Japanese chefs taking charge of Parisian kitchens, cooking French cuisine (NOT fusion) but bringing a technical perfectionism and attention to detail that are otherwise fading qualities.  I had a wonderful dinner at L'Alliance (a one-star) -- elegant, refined, contemporary cooking in a stylish (and intimate) dining room.  Tasting menus at 95 and 120 euros.

As for more casual eating: Chez L'Ami Jean is a perennial modern bistro recommendation, but for good reason.  Great soba at Abri Soba, if you need a break from French food.  Jacques Genin for spectacular desserts (his cheesecake was a revelation).  Laurent Dubois was my favorite cheese shop (wonderful Comte, among other things), but it's very much a retail shop, and not set up for tourist grazing (though the people there were helpful--though having a modicum of French helped, I think).  Georges Larnicol for macarons.

Hope this helps.  You'll find so many more recommendations than you'll have time for.

Just booked a lunch at Pierre Gagnaire and a dinner at Chez L'Ami Jean. Have heard fantastic things by many people, you included. So excited!

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