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Everything posted by Mayur

  1. Trust me, Moby. Judging from the difficulty I have in getting reservations, LOTS of people are getting to L'Ambroisie.
  2. Hello l'il ms foodie! I ate dinner at Le Bristol four days ago (based strongly upon molto... er, Eliot's stunning photojournal, my experience at M. Frechon's previous bistrot, and Pudlowski's rather outright raves). It was, frankly, fabulous. Taillevent has more pomp and circumstance, L'Ambroisie a *slightly* higher level of perfection of technique (in a sort of OCD manner), and Arpege is more conceptual, but the food at Le Bristol just TASTES GOOD. Frechon is a master at intensifying flavors through concentration of similar ingredients (think Ducasse's lobster risotto with lobster stock, lobster meat, lobster butter, etc.), intelligent use of temperature, and balance of sweetness and saltiness. The food is pretty but straightforward: While there's flashy tableside service, much uncovering of silver domes, and the dishes are precisely plated, plates are not crowded or speckled with superfluous garnishes, edible or otherwise. All that said, I'll try to give you some ups and downs of my particular experience. I'll start with the "downs," which could be more correctly stated as "ways in which Le Bristol differs from Mayur's imaginary perfect restaurant": 1) The room (Salon d'Hiver; the summer room wasn't open when I went) is comfortable and quite luxurious, but (perhaps because this is a hotel restaurant) lacks the defined aesthetic of some other rooms in Paris: Not the cool modernism of Gagnaire, the romance of Le Cinq, or the period dignity of L'Ambroisie. 2) There is a degree of inflexibility regarding the menu. Felice is correct that there are two menus available at lunch (a 75E seasonal menu and the 160E full menu degustation, which is the same as at dinner). However, the a la carte selections at Le Bristol (including the three most impressive dishes I tried: The macaroni, the poularde de Bresse, and the pork with truffles) are all SO fantastic-looking that you will, inevitably, find yourself unable to commit fully to the menu degustation. And it is a full commitment: the restaurant requires that all the people at the table take the menu degustation if it is ordered, and getting substitutions or additional courses requires a bit of diplomacy. (We sneaked in the macaroni, but had to come back separately for the poularde de Bresse.) Moreover, the restaurant does not do half portions, meaning that if you do order a la carte, you really are limited to two courses plus dessert (and/or cheese). This creates a serious dilemma, as the menu is absolutely worth it and (I hate to say this with regard to a 3-star-level haute cuisine meal!) a good value; ordering a la carte is considerably more expensive. 3) I ate one thing which was less than perfect: My ris de veau (the meat course) was a bit firm on the bottom. However, this may have been more a problem with service than with the kitchen: My girlfriend's, and her sister's, were perfectly prepared, and mine was the last to be served. Given that it was table service, and that the portions were arranged one on top of the other and then fanned, the service platter might simply have been overheated. So much for the "downsides." Here are my reasons why you should go: 1) Warmth of service. M. Courant is a charming, witty, and I dare say even jolly host with a genuine desire to please. I was there with two young ladies (20 and 24, respectively), one of whom was under the weather and the other of whom had never eaten at a haute cuisine restaurant (let alone one at this level) before, and both of them had a relaxed good time. Thus, for a birthday party, I think it's a great place, especially if you're interested in having a bit more "fun" than at a place like the French Laundry. 2) Warmth of service, Part 2. At the suggestion of another poster here (mdibiaso) I had a chat with the sommelier, Jerome Moreau (ex-Lucas Carton), who turned out to be great fun to spend the evening with. He brought us exceptionally interesting wine pairings (and had a quiz and subsequent discussion on region, grape, vintage, and grower for each one!), showed up with a surprise glass for two courses, provided advice on the menu, and commiserated with my girlfriend's sister on the difficulties of her year abroad in Paris (he lived in London when her age). Thus, not only were the wine service and wines (for value, no less) on par with the best I've ever had (actually, this might be the single best wine service I've ever had), but we had a great deal of fun tasting and discussing our wine. Nor was this particularly intrusive, as I have encountered in some restaurants whose primary focus is the wine list; we had plenty of time and space to concentrate on food and conversation. 3) The food again. To be honest, much as I like the savory courses, Gilles Marechal's desserts were my favorite part of dinner. Really amazing: clever in concept, varied in tastes and textures, and all-out delicious. Finally, as for "value for money": We had the menu degustation, vintage Laurent-Perrier to start, matched wines of excellent quality, and cognac and Armagnac to finish, all for about 250E a head. I'd say it was worth it!
  3. Wow, molto! These are great pics and good commentary; I'll take these into account for my impending trip! One question: You went to Robuchon for lunch, I guess (judging by the exterior photo). Did you reserve? Was it crazy crowded? (I may try to pop in for an impulse meal; I have a friend who's a pig hound and the ham display alone might make him ecstatic.) Also, noticed palourde and pigeon on the menu. Did you eat any (or see any float by)? If so, what did you think?
  4. Ah; wonderful! Thanks so for the tips; maye I'll even get to show my friends some new picks for their neighborhood this trip!
  5. Merci beaucoup pour les suggestions! John, Les Jumeaux is the place that I was a bit worried about, overcrowding/overpopular-wise (having gotten a fair-sized writeup in Time Out Paris). Have you been there recently, and is it still going strong? Also, is L'Ecailler du Bistrot a good oyster-stopover-type place, or a bit too sit-down/full menu for that? I tend to like a simple glass of wine and oysters as a sort of pause, rather than part of a full meal. You guys are great!
  6. Dear Gulleteers: I'll be in Paris at the end of October/beginning November; having already pressed some of you for a specific, high-end recommendation (thanks again, guys!), I'm trying to figure out some stuff on the more casual/local end. My girlfriend and I will be staying with some friends of ours in the 11th, near the Parmentier metro; while they'll no doubt have suggestions, and we have some decent regular-ish places near there, I'd love to hear recs (especially since one of my faves, Le Verre Vole, is probably going to be jammed with tourists, and another just got a write-up in Time Out Paris). Specifically, I'm looking for something bistro-ish. While the neighborhood is packed with interesting ethnic restaurants, it's just not what I'm looking for in a mere week in Paris, especially since I haven't been in over six months. So, any recommendations for bistros of truly excellent quality around there (especially those on which it's possible to get in on short notice!) would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks so much!
  7. Mayur

    Le Bristol

    Thanks, Marc! I'll certainly do that; do you know if M. Moreau is generally likely to be there most evenings?
  8. Mayur

    Le Bristol

    Thank you muchly for the comments and suggestions! Very helpful! (John, I know that this'll be nothing like Frechon's resto on Rue Gen. Brunet, but that's fine as long as the cuisine translates well.) I've heard nothing but good things about L'Ami Jean; maybe I'll give it a try. I'm trying to pull myself away from the usual places I go, and since I normally never pick the restaurant before the neighborhood and circumstance, it might be an interesting choice. molto, I tend to agree with you about Gagnaire: I love the space, the philosophy of cooking, and the service, but the food has wowed at times, disappointed at others. Thanks!
  9. Greetings, Gulleteers! Having just joined, I feel that it may be a bit presumptuous to lead off with an involved question (I'd like to build up some good karma first), but I'm left with no choice. I'm having dinner or lunch (options still open) at Le Bristol on the 2nd of November with my girlfriend and her sister. I've eaten M. Frechon's cooking before (though not at this restaurant) and have some experience dining at various haute cuisine establishments in Paris; however, this will be my first visit to this restaurant. I've read other eGullet posters' details about Le Bristol (including molto e's amazing photo-document, which thrills me hugely!), and I have some idea of what to expect. However, because I'm only in Paris for a week, and I'm not completely made of money, this is going to be my only "serious" dining experience (good food aplenty I hope, but nothing quite this luxe). So, I want to make the most of it. To this end, I'm trying to figure out what might make my meal better. Some questions for those of you who have been: 1) Is there a quantifiable difference between lunch and dinner? If so, which did you find the superior experience? 2) Is there anything to specifically avoid on the menu? 3) Are the menus the way to go, or does one potentially get a more well-rounded and "truer" experience of the restaurant by ordering a la carte? 4) Is there something specific that MUST be ordered here (accounting for the season, of course)? 5) What with Le Bristol's new sommelier talent infusion, I'm probably covered on this, but regardless, are there any exceptional selections from the cellar that simply must be had? 6) I've heard that the cheese course may be a weakness here. True/false? 7) If I can squeeze in a second two- or three-star, is there another establishment that provides an interesting counterpoint/commentary to Le Bristol? 8) As a corollary, are any of you of the opinion that there's someone out there that does what Le Bristol does, but better, so to speak? Some of these questions probably seem rather asinine (in fact, they do to me as I'm reading them... ) But I'd really love some help! Thanks in advance!
  10. First off: greetings, eGulletteers! Second: Assuming you're still reading this thread (and aren't too late to get reservs somewhere), I might suggest some questions which may enable the esteemed company to provide more defined answers: 1) Where are you from? 2) Is this your first visit to Paris? Second? Twentieth? 3) If you have been to Paris, where have you been before? 4) What places do you like to eat in your home city? 5) Do you eat much French food? 6) When you do, what sorts of dishes do you especially like? 7) What kind of atmosphere most suits you? Stuffy-formal, minimalist, country-ish, luxuriously upholstered? I think it's best to get these things pinned down in order to get a more defined answer, at which point some suggestions easily could be provided. If, on the other hand, you picked either Le Bristol or Jamin based on molto e's descriptions, you did well!
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