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Everything posted by plafield

  1. Dijon it is for sure. Stephan Debord looks worth traveling for, particularly for the special lunch menu, and the town itself interesting and walkable enough to want to spend a day exploring. Thanks for the rec!
  2. Thanks Laidback. Sounds perfect. Other restaurant recs welcome for Dijon from other postres as well.
  3. Is there a fantastic restaurant that you could recommend that one could build a day trip out of Paris around (for lunch)that can be reached without a car? Train and then a reasonable taxi ride would be OK.
  4. Is Pozetto still there? We looked for it last May and could find no sign of it!
  5. Here are some pics: assorted restos: http://picasaweb.google.com/plafield/Paris...feat=directlink Le Cinq: http://picasaweb.google.com/plafield/LeCin...feat=directlink
  6. If I did this right here are some pics http://picasaweb.google.com/plafield/LeCin...MKwh_nI-PbtgQE#
  7. Well I don't know about the tasting menu but the 85E lunch menu a couple of weeks ago was just over the top. The only parts that were less than perfect were some of the sweets and I understand that Briffard himself isn't all that pleased with the pastry chef but has no control over that part of the kitchen. Here's my review: The dining room at Le Cinq is gorgeous! Palatial but warm and inviting. Incredible bright purple orchids everywhere, crystal chandeliers and an army of extremely knowledgeable and friendly wait staff. We were escorted to our table and the parade of amazing food began. Le Cinq has a special lunch menu that Is a steal for 3 courses of this kind of food for 85E. There are many delicious choices and plenty of little extras. I have to say though, we were served a number of things that would not normally be offered for this price because we were lunching with Julot who has a relationship with the chef. To begin, the basket of a cera de crevettes et calamar (little shrimp and squid fritters) were to die for. Light as air, crispy and full of the flavor of the sea. It was difficult not to scarf down the whole basket but I knew there would many treats coming so I had a bit of restraint and ate only two. Next came the amuse which was a trio of tiny treats: Avocado mousse over gazpacho, a ravioli of broccoli and swiss chard, and chunk of octopus with a cap of vegetable puree. Each bite a symphony of flavors, each perfectly delicious. This was followed by bread (choice of 3 kinds) with special olive oil and 2 kinds of butter. I tasted one bite of baguette with seaweed butter and while it was delectable, I resisted eating any more and waited for the real food to begin. Next began the series of special entrees that were not offered as part of the 85E lunch menu but were served to us because the chef wanted us to try them! First came tender green asparagus with gnocchi cooked in chicken broth with Jabugo ham served with sorbet of green tea and sheep’s milk cheese. Absolutely wonderful. Then came another asparagus dish, this time with black caviar and a lemon aioli. This was served with the most amazing piece of brioche, a little tower of bread that melted in the mouth. The next entrée was Foie gras de canard, roasted with black pepper served with rhubarb puree and strawberry juice foam. This dish was ethereal and by far the best foie gras I have ever eaten (and I’ve eaten way more than my fair share of foie!) I would have thought strawberry/rhubarb to be too cloyingly sweet for the foie but it really worked. For plat, I ordered sea Brill in a butter citrus sauce served with tiny shrimp, spring onion raviolis, and early spring vegetables. This was light and rich at the same time, full of flavor and simply delicious. My husband and Julot both had the crispy veal sweetbreads with langoustines, girolles, and artichoke hearts served over saffron risotto. This dish was incredibly rich and flavorful. The intensity of the saffron totally supported the richness of the sweetbreads and there was a fabulous asortment of textures as well as flavors. I loved this dish but could never have eaten the whole plate of it. Especially not with all the other food that was part of this meal! After the entrees they started the parade of desserts. We began with parfait of cassis gelatin and lemon grenata served with a citrus sabayon over tiny strawberries. This wasn't great. But it was followed by a gorgeous tower of fresh strawberries and chantilly cream layered between paper thin crisps of green tea flavored tuilles on a puree of kiwi with a dense raspberry sauce topped with a quenelle of strawberry sorbet. Now this was a sweet I could get on board with. Yum. And those were the pre-desserts! For the “real” dessert, both Julot and I ordered the soufflé, an airy puff of vanilla with a puddle of perfectly melted Ganduja chocolate in the center. This was served with passion fruit sorbet. The sorbet was a miss but the souffle could not be faulted. Hubby had a crispy chocolate biscuit layered with coffee and hazelnut mousse served with rich coffee ice cream. A little too sweet for my taste but he thoroughly enjoyed it. And in case this were not enough, there was the cart of chocolates and tiny pastries that are served with coffee! The cart of after dessert desserts was unimpressive (particularly compared to the one at Guy Savoy!) but it's hard to complain about that after this ridiculously sumptuous meal. And the best part of this meal was that we went in expecting to spend a small fortune (we were going to order the 160E menu of 4 courses with only 2 choices per course) but we were treated to all this fabulous food for the price of the 85E lunch menu. They generously comped us 2 glasses of wine and our coffees (thanks also to our association with Julot I assume) so the bill for the three of us with bottled water and 3 coffees was a perfectly reasonable 321E If you are looking for an over the top experience, both in food and ambiance, this is the place I would recommend over all the other Michelin starred places for a lunch that won't break the bank. The lunch menu is an amazing deal and if you can afford to order off the carte, there are some incredible choices there as well. And if you want that star treatment, invite Julot to lunch! It works out to be a good deal for everyone that way!
  8. We had about 10 days of great meals in Paris. Here's my report: CHRISTOPHE 8, rue Decartes (5th): Fabulous Sunday night choice. Entree of chunks of house smoked salmon served with blinis and chopped egg. Simple and delicious. I had the canard, rare tender breast and a crispy whole chunk of almost boneless confit served with a pear and parsnip compote. Very crisp skin, very moist meat. My husband Paul had echine du basque porc with polenta which was absolutely fabulous. For dessert we shared mousse au chocolate, extrememly dark and intense. With a bottle of water and one glass of wine the bill was 82E. Highly recommend, especially for a Sunday night when the choices are slim, but I'd go any night. CHEZ DENISE 5, rue des Prouvaires (1st) For a very late lunch on a Monday (2:30 PM) the place was mostly empty but we were made most welcome. We went right to the plats and I had the foie de veau, a gigantic slab with a ridiculous amount of bacon, a buttery boiled potato and a little frisee in vinaigrette. Nothing delicate about this liver and the pile of bacon could have been crisper but the dish was quite tasty and and very satisfying. Paul had sole meuniere, a gigantic fish, crisp and delicately tender with the same sides. We finished by sharing a very passable millefuille. With water, 1 glass of wine and 2 coffees the bill was 76E. Not refined food, but good solid food and plenty of it. LA REGALADE 49 Ave Jean Moulin (14th) We had dinner with Julot and his wife and the place was bustling as always. We were seated right away but service was slow and getting drinks posed a bit of a challenge. But the food? Fine as ever. First, pan of house made pate with fresh bread and cornichon. It’s hard not to completely chow down on this delicious treat but I knew what was coming next so I controlled myself! Paul and I had the special house foie gras for 2 as our entrée; 2 huge slabs of sautéed buttery foie, each with a scattering of lima beans and a delicious pan sauce (14E supplement for 2.) This foie ruins one for ever ordering it in the States where you pay $20 for a tiny sliver usually served with a pile of some kind of fruit compote and bread. Both Julot and wife had the morel special (4E supplement) floating in cream sauce with delicate herbs. Everyone shared bites so I can attest to this as being rich and delicious! For plats we both ordered the porc belly, 2 thick slices of rich and fatty meat with a crisp layer of skin running along each piece topped with a fresh greens, lightly dressed and served creamy potatoes mashed with a bit of spicy, grainy mustard. To die for but so rich I could only eat one piece, especially after the foie gras. They had pigeon and dorade, both excellent choices. For dessert, I had the vanilla rice pudding with an intense caramel sauce. Paul had a puree of rhubarb covered with vanilla mouse and topped with fresh strawberries and raspberries. This one didn't impress me. Julot had the Grand Marnier soufflé (excellent) and his wife the chocolate choice: a quenelle of intense dark chocolate mousse on a thin slice of even darker dense chocolate cake. Innse and yummy. With 2 bottles of water, 1 bottle of cote de Rhone and they comped us 4 coffees. the bill was 228E for the 4 of us. Great meal. Even though the service may leave something to be desired, I'll continue to recommend this restaurant for excellent quality food at a great value (32E menu) AU BON ACCUEIL 14, r d Monttessuy (7th) Lovely little space, warm and inviting. The tables are close together but it feels cozy rather than crowded. Totally packed at 9:00 PM out table was ready in less than 5 minutes and they gave us each a glass of good white wine while we waited. Excellent service throughout the meal. 31E menu with many interesting choices as well as a very nice looking carte. We went with the menu and everything we ordered was excellent. I started with a fresh salad of baby lettuces with parmesan cheese, walnuts and raspberry vinaigrette. Paul began with a cold cream of carrot soup with tiny buttery croutons. Plats were Bresse chicken with potato croquette and white tuna with eggplant with olive tapanade and a tomato and red pepper sauce. For dessert I had the best lemon tart I’ve ever had, served with white chocolate glace and Paul had an excellent apple tart with vanilla glace. With a bottle of water and one glass of wine and 2 coffees the bill came to 80 E. An incredible value. I highly recommended this restaurant. It is not the place to go if you are looking for cutting edge, highly inventive cooking but if you enjoy extremely excellent quality ingredients prepared lovingly in a classic, straight-ahead French style at a ridiculously reasonable price, then this is the place. Lunch at LE CINQ: I'll do a separate post with details but here I'll just say: ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! 85E lunch menu is the deal of the century and while we did get special treatment and a few items off menu because we were lunching with Julot, I'm confident that anyone looking for that Michelin starred, very special experience that won't totally break the bank will be thrilled with lunch at Le Cinq. CHEZ L'AMI JEAN 27 R Malar (7th) Lunch with Julot and Adam (A Life Worth Eating) and I'll start right of by saying I was not impressed with CLJ (although I was impressed with the dueling cameras going on between the food bloggers!) They do have a 31 E menu and Paul ordered that and had the best of it I think as far as value is concerned. For entrée both Adam and I ordered what was billed as a cappuccino of crustaceans. We were expecting a frothy creamy sauce over mixed crustaceous seafood. What we got was broth made from the shells of crustaceans that had been thickend with cream. Not a piece of seafood to be found. They did bring it in a pitcher that contained enough soup for all 4 of us, but at 18E a serving, this was not up to standard in my opinion. Nice flavor of the sea but not cool for the price of ordering from the carte. Julot had an octopus entree thatwe all agreed tasted funky. He asl tried a tasty but rather ordinary Lagoustine and macaroni and cheese entree. Adam also doubled up on entrees and orderd razor clams, tasty, but nothing really special. Paul's entree (first course from the menu) was a fairly ordinary but tasty cream of vegetable soup. For plats Paul had a lamb dish that was quite good, I had lemon sole from the carte, (tasty but nothing particularly special for 34E) and Adam and Julot shared the cote de veau for two, which I must admit was impressive and apparently quite delicious. Paul ordered the rice pudding for dessert which was more than enough dessert for all four of us (and I must admit, even better than the same dish at La Regalade and that's saying a lot!) Adam couldn't resist ordering the baby strawberries with creme anglaise but the strawberries weren't quite ready in my opinion so lacked the sweetness of truly ripe ones. This restaurant gets a lot of hype and people seem to love it but honestly, I really wasn’t all that impressed. If the place had been really packed and I had felt crowded and rushed as I understand is often the case here, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it at all. I won’t say not to go because I do think the menu at 31E is a real value and the quality of the food and the cooking is generally high, (and Julot continues to rave about the cote de Veau!) but with the things we all ordered off the carte, the quality was spotty. Also, the chef was not in the kitchen the day we were there. I don’t know if that makes a difference (and in a good restaurant it really shouldn’t) but who knows. LA ROTUND 105 Blvd Montparnasse (6th) Mid afternoon lunch, on the sidewalk on a perfectly gorgeous, sunny day. The steak tartare was fantastic, fresh and flavorful, served with a nose tingling mustard, frites that easily rivaled those we had in Belgium, and a small salad. We also had an order of fat, succulent escargot, definitely the best I’ve had, served in the classic style with garlic butter and herbs. A basket of decent bread for mopping up the butter rounded out the meal and we finished with good coffee. This was one of my favorite meals in Paris! With a bottle of water the bill came to 41E. JOSEPHINE CHEZ DUMONET 117 Rue Cherche-Midi (6th) This classic French Bistro was a lovely choice for our last dinner in Paris. We were treated like royalty, including an aperitif, compliments of the chef and a seemingly bottomless glass of good red wine for Paul. The carte was made of up of all the classics, many offered in half portions, which was a relief because we had heard the portions here were quite generous. We started by sharing a half portion of pate campagne, a thick slab, rich and meaty and rimmed with nice layer of fat and gelee. Served with a small salad it was more than enough for both of us eaten with the excellent baguette. For entrees, I had confit de canard, the duck skin brown and caramelized to a perfect crisp, but the meat just a tad dry. It was served with fried potatoes and frisee in vinaigrette. Paul had the cassoulet: an enormous pot filled with sausages, pork belly, and confit of duck, lots of white beans and rich sauce, with a nice crust over the top. Although we were pretty stuffed at this point, I couldn’t resist ordering the house special millefeuille. Last year, I was on a mission to find the best millefuille and ate one almost very day from numerous patisseries but nothing compared to this one from Chez Dumonet. The pastry was shatteringly crisp and really did seem to be made up of 1,000 layers. The pastry cream was fabulous and fresh as could be. Only a pastry constructed moments before serving could be this delicious and it was well worth the food OD I suffered from eating it after that rich meal. I ordered coffee as DH worked on finishing his wine which came with a lovely plate of petit fours with the coffee, 5 little treats that I just had to taste (5E for coffee!!) Even so, with a demi of bottled water the whole bill came to 88E and rolled out of there fat and happy. I definitely recommend this restaurant for elegant atmosphere and very classic, rich French cooking. We also had a fantastic lunch in Chinatown at a totally nondescript place called Likafo (39, Avenue Choisy) and a great light dinner of crepes at Creperie Josselin (67 rue du Montparnasse.) Add in numerous fabulous sandwiches, pastries, and macarons from various wonderful places plus a couple of late night suppers on our terrace of some excellent cheese and sausage with fresh baquette and we ate very, very well this trip. I thank you all for your input and for sharing your experiences which helped me to choose where we'd eat and it all worked our deliciously!
  9. I'm in Bruges now and still looking for a good, casual place to get waterzooi that isn't a tourist ripoff. I can't believe how little real info (educated reviews) exisits on restaurants in Bruges other than the Michelin places! We had dinner at Den Djiver this evening and were disappointed. It wasn't bad and, in fact, a few things were stellar (service was excellent, dessert was fantastic) but most of it was underwhelming with a few real misses (dry salmon lacking any pizazz, and egg cream with asparagus just a few seconds over cooked but those few seconds count.) I can't recommend it for the price which was 45E for a 3 course menu with limited choice or 22-42E per course from the carte.
  10. Julot, you've been highly recommending La Grande Cascade. Have you had the menu du marche or the tasting menu or ordered off the carte?
  11. Can we get the address for Pasta E Basta? A google search turns up 3 different addresses and not much info about any of them!
  12. For me "starred, reputation, lavish", is not my agenda (hidden or otherwise) at all. And definitely not "trendy" although a place might be any of these things and considered a place really worth going to if you have a limited number of meals and want really good food and excellent, welcoming service. That's my real definiton of "destination" as I think Julot understands. For some (myself included)if a place is right around the corner from "home" the convenience of that, particularly after a long day is sometimes worth settling for or risking the chance of a little lower quality And of course "it depends" and is always subjective. I've been reading this and other boards avidly for a number of years and have a decent sense of many of the regular posters preferences and what they look for so it's interesting and informative for me to read where they (you) would choose to go if you had a limited number of meals. I'm not looking for consensus, which doesn't ever happen because of differences in tastes and experience, but I do look for overlap. Certain names of certain places come up over and over again in various discussions, blogs, articles etc and from that I compile a list and make my choices of where to go. My last time in Paris (last May) my list included among many others: Guy Savoy for lunch and Briehz Cafe as well as Le Regalade, Spring, and Au Gourmand and many in Le Marais where we were staying. This time, we're staying in a different neighborhood and are looking to try places we didn't get to last time or have heard new and good things about since as well as wanting a few places that are relatively close by (we're in the 15th this time, Montparnasse area.) So let me rephrase the question so we can stop debating if there is a such thing as a "destination" place to dine: If you had one week to dine out in Paris; 7-10 meals, where would you go and why? Totally personal, subjective, no right or wrong answers, just opinions and reasons to back them up.
  13. OK. So there's been some discussion on another thread about if a restaurant should be considered a "destination" restaurant and a little bit of back and forth about what that really means. I'd like to hear from folks who dine out in Paris regularly what you would consider/recommend as "destination" places to eat with the definition being based on 1. worth traveling out of one's immediate neighborhood 2. Value (excellent price/quality ratio) 3. with one week to dine out in Paris (so a max of say, 10 available meals)
  14. We had a delicious meal at Craigie on Main on New Years Eve and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. I suggest making a reservation to sit in the bar area which is very lively and offers the bar menu as well as the regular dinner menu for the most food choices. The food is French bistro fare a cut well above. Casual attire, bustling atmosphere, fabulous food. Not fancy, schmancy wear a suit and tie.
  15. We did go to Craigie for New Years Eve and had the 5 course tasting menu. Overall it was a lovely experience and the food was outstanding. I have a few small gripes though, all about value. One being the $20 supplement we paid to add Tennessee Black Perigord truffles to one of our main dishes. While there was quite a generous shaving atop the duck, the truffles were really not very good. They were barely aromatic at all and definitely did not have the intense flavor a good truffle should have. Perhaps we should have known that truffles from Tennesee wouldn't hold a candle to the real truffles we've eaten in France and Italy but these were certainly not worth an ectra $20. Another gripe was the supplement they charged to serve me cheese instead of dessert. I don't eat sugar so had asked when I made the reservation if they could substitute cheese since they do offer a cheese plate on their regular menu. They said they might need to charge a small supplement but thought it would be no problem. We were pretty surprised when the bill came to find they charged a $10 supplement for cheese. To me this implies that the desserts they offered on the tasting menu cost them nothing since on their regular menu they charge $10 for desserts and $9 for cheese. You'd think it would be an even swap but I understood that they might want to charge a little something for the inconvenience of prepping one plate of cheese (so much work to cut 3 small pieces of cheese?) but ten bucks? Oh well. I did enjoy the cheese. The amuses were a delicious taste of pig 4 ways including house cured lardon, pig jowls rolled in panko and deep fried, house made head cheese, and pork skin cracklings. Delicious. First course was oysters with candied lemon mignonette (hubby had) and I had smoked cod and bacon stuffed potato with salmon roe and horseradish. This was a stellar dish with the smooth smokiness of the purred potato and cod contrasted with the brininess and snap of the roe all inside the crispy potato skin. For the next course we both had the coquillage of scallop, sea urchin, clam, mussek, sepia, octopus and shrimp and almond serrano ham broth. Very fresh and very tasty. Mains were Duck 3 ways (roasted breast, neck farci, and confit with black trumpet mushrooms, caramelized endive and orange and the extra, not great truffles) and veal 2 ways (slow roasted short rib and twice cooked sweetbreads with chestnut spaetzle piopini mushrooms and barolo chinato. Both of these dishes were outstanding. Dessert was a choice of poached pear with prune-Armagnac ice cream or mocha mille feuille. My husband chose the mille feuille and said it was delcious. As I said earlier, I had a lovely cheese plate with 3 excellent cheeses, one goat, one sheep and one cow, 2 from Vermont and one from France served with fig and apple slices and fresh french bread. Very nice. My husband did the wine pairing and enjoyed all the organic wines offered but again I'm not so sure about the value. The cost of the wine paring was $55 but the pours were really only 1/2 glasses with each course plus an aperitif sized champagne cocktail with the amuse. That's about $13 bucks per 1/2 glass of wine. I guess it's Ne Years Eve so they can get away with it. We had a bottle of sparkling water and we finished with coffee. Total bill with tip: $400. All in all it was a lovely evening. The service was excellent, friendly and extremely professional with an army of folks making sure everyone had exactly what they needed. The food was superb and it was a very special night out.
  16. Thanks everyone. Craigie it is. We have reservations for the 5 course tasting menu. I'll be sure to report back.
  17. My husband and I are spending New Years Eve in Boson this year. I know these are 2 very different restaurants and I've read great things about both but we have to choose one. Both are offering a 5 course tasting on New Years Eve, Craigie's is $115 pp and Clio's is $125 pp. I don't eat sugar and Craigie offered me a cheese course instead of the dessert course and Clio offered to make me a fruit based sugar free dessert. I know it's only opinion but I'm interested in yours. If it were you, which would you choose and why?
  18. My experience has been that with a little (actually a lot) of research and a willingness to travel out of the city center, there are many places to dine in Paris that are of fabulous value compared to almost anywhere. And yes, it's subjective but on our last trip, every meal we had seemed a tremendous value to us and ran the gamut from totally casual (Breihz cafe) to 3 Michelin stars (100E lunch at Guy Savoy.) "Value" is subjective. For example, I want excellent quality food but don't want to feel rushed. Crowded is OK, but rude service is not. So, for example, while I understand that La Regalade and Chez L'ami Jean both serve "star" quality food in casual settings, we decided to pass (and will again on our next trip) CLJ because I keep reading about being rushed for table turning and less than congenial service. We loved LR even though we were elbow to elbow with other diners. We weren't rushed in the least and the service was quite friendly. They even comped us or coffees when we returned to dine a second time and the food was really outstanding. I'll also take this opportunity to heartily thank all you E-gulleters who do so much of the leg-work for me. When researching for value restaurants I start with what I read here (John's reviews are a great starting point for those mid-priced meals) and research outwards, cross referncing from there. Julot has been a delightfully willing consultant, especially for the higher end places and I'm looking forward to 9 days of glorious, high value meals on my next trip to Paris in May.
  19. Can someone advise me the best way to get to Oud Sluis (for lunch) from Bruges without a car?
  20. Does anyone know if Garance is open for dinner on Sundays or just lunch? And is there a menu for dinner on Sunday or just la carte? What are the ball park prices for dinner these days?
  21. plafield


    Are there any restaurants in Lille that are worth a special stop for? We're traveling from Paris to Bruges by way of Lille and trying to decide if we should spend one night in Lille. Of course, the chance to eat a really amazing meal would help make the decision!
  22. We're seriously considering renting an apartment at 9 Armond Moisant, almost directly across from Montparnasse station. One of the reasons we want an apartment as opposed to returning to the great little hotel we stayed in last May in Le Marias, is so we can have a relaxed breakfast at home (on a gorgeous terrace with a ridiculous view of Paris and the Eiffel tower) but I'm wondering if there is a good boulangerie within a 5-6 minute walk of this area to run out in the morning to buy fresh croissants or a baguette to have with our coffee. I know there are a few markets fairly close by, but we really value an excellent baked good for breakfast!
  23. Julot, Do you have address of Le Paris? I'm already collecting possibilities for our next trip to Paris. We just booked frequent flier tickets for May 2009! Can't wait. We LOVED La Regalade and will definitely get to Chez l'Ami Jean this next time.
  24. I can't wait for the next installment! I'm already making notes for our trip to Belgium next May. I'm counting on you for recent updates!
  25. Michelin says of "Le Regalade" - "Who hasn't heard of [it]..." Apparently relatively cheap and ok (by French standards). Well - after hearing it mentioned maybe 10,000 times - it makes me want to pu**. Robyn ← In my experience, there's usually a reason why a restaurant gets mentioned 10,000 times...particularly on E-gullet. Because it's great. Sometimes, after a place gets really popular the quality slips, but most who have eaten there agree that this is not the case at La Regalade. And personally, I wouldn't use Michelin as my food bible. Too much snobbery and politics involved for my taste. It can inform me, but it's not the end all. I did a lot of research before this last trip to Paris and it paid off. The only mediocre meal we had was one at a restaurant I had never heard of. If I had a month in Paris, I might be more willing to roam around and just choose some unknown place that looked interesting but for a short visit, I'd be looking on E-gullet for recs.
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