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The Food Doc

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  1. The Food Doc


    I have reservations at Cru tomorrow night. I was wondering if anyone has eaten there since the departure of Shea Gallante, and since their purported financial difficulties came to light last year.
  2. I was in Paris for Thanksgiving, and I had a wonderful lunch at L'Ambroisie. Weekdays are usually a good time to try and snag a reservation: I called the day before and was able to get a table. It was expensive, but the meal was unforgettable.
  3. I agree that the dishes served last night were not memorable nor innovative. Kevin clearly did not rise to the occasion: other than his first course, the output from his kitchen was middling at best. Bryan V played it safe, and it showed: technically proficient yet average looking dishes. Michael V also played it safe, but allowed some hints of creativity to creep into his cooking process, and for that, he was named Top Chef. I am not a fan of Michael V (I so wanted Kevin to win) but he was the better of the three last night.
  4. Based on the glowing reviews I read here at egullet, I tried to get into L'Ambroisie for dinner. It turns out that it was only a few minutes away by foot from my apartment in Saint Paul. Although it was booked solid for dinner for the next month or two, I was able to snag a reservation for lunch on a Friday. First off: food really expensive. The cheapest plates were above 80 euro, and most dishes cost 120 euro and up. Staff was a bit stuffy, too, but they eventually warmed up to me. Food was really good: had the langoustines in a bed of spinach, sandwiched between two sesame crisps and plated with a curry-butter cream. Langoustines were plump and juicy, the spinach added a nice bitterness, and the sesame crisps added a nutty note to the dish. The curry sauce did not overpower the langoustines. The entree was a John Dory filet pan-fried, served with a relish of tropical fruits. The sweet and sour flavors from the relish were a perfect foil to the fish, and it was just lovely. I ordered the dessert assortment, which at 42 euro seemed like a steal, and it was: I was served a nice lemon sorbet, three different desserts, and a plate of petit fours consisting of chocolate bonbons, cannelles, pralines and strawberry macaroons. Wine selection was topnotch. Before I left, I received a copy of the menu from the maitre'd, signed by the chef himself: a touching end to a good meal.
  5. I had dinner at Guy Savoy during my stay in Paris last month, and it was a extraordinary dining experience. I also had the good fortune of being attended to by Hubert, who was both professional and warm. The staff was equally professional and attentive, and they were attuned to my every need. Hubert recommended the autumn tasting menu, and offered to switch the chicken in the main course to a medley of pheasant, pigeon and duck, which was more apt for the season. The wine list was almost as heavy as the Guttenberg bible, and with so many choices, one could quickly become overwhelmed. I decided to stay with one region and asked the sommelier to select a bottle for me. Warning: the cheapest wines on the list are still well above 100 euro, so select wisely. The food was unbelievably delicious and presented beautifully, from the lobster three ways served in a haze of evaporating cold ice; to the red mullet split in half with the head still intact, a bed of mushroom slices expertly laid inside the fish's belly. And the desserts! From the sorbets to the cheese course to the puddings, there was enough variety, quantity and quality to sate any sweet tooth. At 560 euro, it was certainly an expensive meal (the most expensive meal I had before then was at Per Se), but it was well worth the hole in the pocket. I even had the chance to tour the kitchen after the meal, and Hubert gave me a copy of that night's menu to take home.
  6. I was in Paris for Thanksgiving, and when my plans for dinner at Le Meurice fell through, I ended up having Thanksgiving dinner at Cafe Constant. Small and rustic dining area, with lots of American couples and families dining. Had the good fortune of being waited on by an English lass, so I was able to forego my miniscule knowledge of the French language for one night. I started with a trio of sea urchins: the meat was scooped out and blended with some butter and seafood broth, and then returned to the shells and topped with croutons and herbs. Lovely dish, and surprisingly light. This was followed by a tartare of salmon, oysters and scallops, served on the oyster half-shells on a bed of seaweed, and topped with croutons and arugula. It had just enough acidity to balance the richness of the seafood, and was a delight to eat. For the main course, I had that night's special: venison cooked medium rare, served with the jus reduced with red wine and berries. Again, the meat was perfectly cooked, and the jus added welcome notes of acidity and sweetness. Dessert were profiteroles served with a dark chocolate syrup; the twist was instead of cream, the profiteroles were stuffed with vanilla ice cream, which in a way lightened up the dish and added a nice clean contrast to the syrup. I really enjoyed the meal, and as a token of appreciation, I bought the chefs a round of beers, which they greatly appreciated. I do intend to go back there when I return to Paris, and may be, even try to get reservations at Chef Constant's other establishments.
  7. Yes, I do. Not much for the glitz; would prefer a hole in the wall with good food than an opulent palace with food that is just "meh". On an unrelated note, Sifton was spotted at Momofuku Ko last night...seemed to be enjoying his meal a lot.
  8. Yeah, I think I was sitting next to you at the bar...you were really enjoying each and every morsel of that hamachi collar! I also love that collar, although the umeboshi plum is not to my liking.
  9. I agree with Chris: Sifton's review of Aureole was his best to date. It was less a display of his encyclopedia of knowledge and more about the food. It was more restrained in terms of language and attitude, and infinitely more readable. I would imagine that Sifton has finally has settled down and gotten out the kinks in his writing style. I actually look forward to his next restaurant review. On a more somber note, I extend my condolences to Sam and his family on the death of his father.
  10. Thank you very much, Taka, for your insight. If what you say is true, then Chef Anello will hopefully still be there when I have dinner at Le Meurice. I am glad that despite some missteps, you enjoyed your meal there, and I do hope that I will be similarly rewarded.
  11. Wow! I did not expect to ruffle any one's feathers by posting about my recent meal at Ko: my only intention was to share the details of my dinner to the public. All I can say is you get what you pay for. I like eating at Ko because of its relaxed and informal atmosphere, and because I have the opportunity to interact with the chefs during the meal. I have nothing against Per Se or EMP -- I also enjoyed my meals at those restaurants -- but if I had the money, I'd rather go to Ko. That's all.
  12. I had dinner at Momofuku Ko this weekend, and there were a few changes in the menu since I last ate there earlier this year. I will try to list down as much as I can remember of the meal: Amuse bouche 1: Potato soup topped with bread crumbs and Benton's bacon bits. Amuse bouche 2: Shrimp-foie gras croquette served with micro-cilantro and yuzu marmalade. Amuse bouche 3: Mirin-soaked black pepper brioche and todarashi-spiced chicharron. Course 1: Slices of scallop topped with chive oil, water chesnuts, Benton's ham bits and pineapple puree. Course 2: Oxtail consomme with oxtail and daikon dumplings, daikon strips, basil and cilantro. Very Michel Bras, and a homage to the oxtail soup once served at Momofuku Noodle Bar. Course 3: Soft-boiled hen's egg with hackleback caviar, fingerling potato chips, sweet potato vinegar, soubise onions, and herbs. Course 4: Dumplings (cannot remember the stuffing) served in a matsutake mushroom broth. This was paired with a matsutake mushroom tea accompanied by a french toast brioche on some maple syrup. Course 5: Pan-roasted monkfish topped with Santa Barbara uni, in a spicy seafood broth. Course 6: Shaved torchon of foie gras with Riesling gelee and pine nut brittle. Course 7: Roasted venison served au jus, with sauteed brussel sprouts and huckleberries. Pre-Dessert: Animal cracker ice cream with peanut butter ganache. Dessert: Blueberries served with ice cream (cannot remember the flavor), black pepper ganache and black pepper crumble. Very interesting and lovely meal. Favorites were the matsutake mushroom dish, the oxtail consomme, the venison and the desserts. Some new staff as well, but service remained smooth and professional. With dinner at $125 and wine pairing at $95, it is not something I can indulge in regularly, but it was a wonderful experience nonetheless.
  13. Has anyone been to Le Meurice in the past few months? I have reservations on Thanksgiving Day, and I want to know if quality has suffered since Yannick Alleno left.
  14. When I had dinner there a few months ago, I asked the chef about that. He claims that SHO is short for Shaun, his first name. Take it for what it's worth.
  15. Thank you very much, John. I decided to purchase "The Complete Robuchon", and I found that your comments and observations are accurate. I certainly look forward to putting the book to good use in the near future. Again, merci!
  16. A chef friend of mine suggested that I try out SHO Shaun Hergatt shortly after it opened, and I must say I enjoyed my dinner immensely. I wrote a review on my blog (link here). Plush surroundings, food expertly prepared if a bit dated, and an attentive wait staff. If it weren't located in FiDi I would certainly visit the place more often. Chef Hergatt also turned out to be a very pleasant and amiable man; he listened to my comments about the food and thanked me for my suggestions.
  17. Yeah, but can you imagine how many chefs used scallops for the Quick Fire challenge? It's like no one could think of anything more original to use for the "Angels and Demons" concept. I love scallops but that just shows a lack of imagination!
  18. I was trying to make reservations for dinner in November at Les Ambassadeurs, but I was informed that their chef had left in August, and that the restaurant is now closed until a new chef is hired. Pity, was looking forward to sampling their dishes on my visit.
  19. I'd like to ask the forum's opinion regarding Joel Robuchon's cookbooks as an appropriate gift to a beginner cook. A chef friend of mine was recommending "The Complete Robuchon".
  20. Since we are on the topic, I am going solo to France in late November, just before Thanksgiving in the United States. I already made reservations at Guy Savoy, and will try to get into either Pierre Gagniere or L'Astrance. Any other recommendations? I am arriving on the 20th and will be in Paris until the 28th. Merci!
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