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  1. Because I never had very good food at any Ducasse outpost, let alone any culinary emotion, despite countless tries, and I often had very excellent food, if never life-changing, in the Robuchon joints. The way I see it, there is a profound difference of philosophy despite the apparent similarities, with Ducasse focused on industrialisation of a luxury industry and Robuchon focused on the (painful) transmission of know-hows. For instance the Robuchon places, with their respective strengths and weaknesses, and despite the apparent uniformisation, all have strong individual identities determined by the chef who run them. Even if it is basically the same recipe, food at l'Atelier and La Table (in Paris) for example are very different, because Lecerf and Braun are very different chefs from Alès -- I explained that a lot on this and other boards. Felix, I would disagree with the term "perfect" applied to what can be had at the Plaza. The quality of what is served there palishes in comparison to what is served at, say, l'Ami Louis. With the admittedly unclear phrase "pretentious cooking and seasoning", I meant techniques that are more geared towards demonstrating their refinement and exclusivity than determined by the best possible taste. Now, there is nothing wrong with luxury. All I was saying is that this is where Ducasse delivers with excellence, the whole "making you feel rich" part of very high end dining. I just question the idea that the food at Ducasse is anywhere near the best in its style, which is why I don't think the three stars are deserved in Paris. (No opinion on Monaco, never been). Food Snob, I would disagree with you about Gagnaire being present: the best meals I had at Gagnaire was he was not in, and the worst ones when he was in. Actually, I think your comment would apply more to l'Arpège and Passard. As I said at the beginning, I think both places, along with l'Ambroisie, are gambles, where absolutely stellar, unforgettable, life-changing meals can be had, but where the statistical probability tends more toward mediocrity unless you're a friend of the house (and even then...).
  2. Flawless it is sometimes -- but perfect is in my experience an extreme overstatement to describe Ducasse at the plaza. In fact, food I has there was always far from perfect, except in the sense that it was perfectly luxurious. Cooking, seasoning, were more pretentious than successful -- a treat of many in the Ducasse school, Piège chief among them. In fact, the strength of the establishment today is to deliver on luxury. But by no standard on truly great food.
  3. The higher end the restaurant, the more different they are from one another -- that's what a three star restaurant is: unique. So apart from the mere possibility to get a table (might be an issue for l'Astrance in particular), the day you want to go and your budget, the way you chose is by specifying what you like and what you expect and what your tastes are. To check prices and opening days, see www.viamichelin.com Of course, I could also point out that some two star restaurant are worth three (le Cinq) and some three star restaurants are not worth it (Ducasse). L'Arpège, l'Ambroisie and Pierre Gagnaire are the best in town if you judge a restaurant by the best food it can deliver. They're all gambles, as meals are not always good but always very expensive. However, they are unforgettable when they are good. Of the three, Gagnaire is a safer bet because it is still special even when it is bad. Arpège has a minimalistic, vegetable and long cooking oriented cuisine with an almost casual room for a three stars. L'Ambroisie has a godly perfection approach to cooking, and is an austere place. Ledoyen is almost as good as l'Ambroisie when it comes to perfect ingredients and perfect cooking. It is also spectacularly located. But it's an old house with a tired service. Great lunch deal at 88€, but be careful with water, they charge fortunes for it. L'Astrance is the contemporary restaurant of the lot, with a charming approach, very virtuoso cooking. Savoy is wonderful for the show it sets up, the overall experience. Food is good not great, barely two star levels. But an incredible party that makes you feel special. You can find pictures of many of them on my phot gallery -- picasweb.google.fr/zejulot and quite a few blog posts at www.julotlespinceaux.com
  4. Good butchers don't "wet age" then. If you want wet age you can buy some Charal from the supermarket and just let it past the expiration date. As you say then, good butchers normally dry age here in France.
  5. For beef, safe best include Les Boucheries Nivernaises (rue du faubourg Saint Honoré) and of course Desnoyer (rue Boulard). Even with a good French butcher, make sure to say that you want well aged beef as this is an unusual request and you will get 10 days old beef if you're not specific. Speaking of which, can anyone explain to me the difference between dry-aged and the way beef is aged by French butchers?
  6. I would have sent those pasta back. How they dare serving that in a socalled three stars is baffling to me, and yet another part of the Pré Catelan mistery. How was the lièvre itself?
  7. Just like many of us, he's looking for a job and pretending he has secret plans. (Just my guess, not information)
  8. When I lived in Munich, no butcher even knew what Simmenthal was.
  9. I went to Savoy's website and found out that, until tonight, there is a 200€ tasting menu including beverage (champagne for starter, one glass per course) that works not only for lunch but also for dinner at 10pm (Savoy was always one of the few fine dining establishments to serve very late). See there: http://www.guysavoy.com/popup_fr.html Now is this the death of the 100€ lunch? I don't know. In any case, this appears as a pop-up, just like the 100€ deal did. It might be that you have your browser's settings on "don't save me money"
  10. Last we were, we did have it in two services -- cause we asked (insisted?). But instead of bringing the rest of the same pie, they brought a brand new one, arguing that the rest of our first one had waited too long. They would never tell me what they really used it for.
  11. Just to correct that Rostang's "club" menu is 94.50, not 89.50 . You know I'm good at maths -- but not with numbers. Never was.
  12. If three stars are important for you, then the only lunch deal I would recommend under 100 is Ledoyen -- it is exceptional, but be careful with the cost of water. Le Meurice and Le Bristol also have lunch deals but they're subpar, in my opinion. Savoy, Gagnaire, l'Arpège are all very special places but will blow your budget. There are indeed great deals in two star restaurants -- as Olivier mentions, there's of course Le Cinq at 78, Lasserre at 75 (only thu-fri). Even better are the deals including drinks: 85€ at La Grande Cascade (also at night), 89.50 at Rostang (just wonderful), 60€ at La Table de JR, 60€ also at Sormani.
  13. Many thing are, but going ALC adds up pretty quickly. I would not. But since you asked: the white truffle dish, the razor clams, the scallops, the abalone, the pig, the lamb, the raw foie gras, the rognon de veau, anything with puff pastry. Skip desserts.
  14. I'm not sure he'll still do the Pithiviers in January. Best thing is to call them and ask. While I suppose you could order it for one, they might charge you for the full thing (unless you actually get a part from someone's else).
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