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vmilor

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  1. I transferred my articles and I will publish my own and friends' only at www.gastromondiale.com There are 2 recent articles: David Katz on Hawai and David Kinch (Manresa) on 4 3 star Tokyo restaurants. I also reviewed Alinea. I will publish more articles on restaurant and wine reviews but recently I have been very busy. I am writing bi-weekly in Milliyet (Turkish daily) on food and wine and have been shooting restaurant visits ( a la Bourdain) for a major channel. I have also completed a book on Italian food (review of 157 restaurants) and wine. I appreciate the interest. It motivates me to be more productive. Vedat Milor
  2. vmilor

    Tokyo Journal

    I am delighted to publish David Kinch’s review of four outstanding restaurants in Tokyo. The Michelin guides awards more three stars to Tokyo than to any other city in the world, but for many of us, including myself, the very best of the Japanese cuisine remains a black box. Kinch, owner and chef of the Manresa restaurant in Los Gatos, where I had some of my best meals in the States, has visited Tokyo with a Japanese friend who helped him navigate some terrain unknown to Westerners. Personally I found his reviews to be very honest in the sense that he makes a very sincere effort to come to terms with a genre of cuisine which is new to him, and he approaches this new realm with an open mind and scientific curiosity. Being a world class chef certainly helps him to delve deeply into some details, but he never loses sight of the greater forest. I hope egullet readers will enjoy and benefit from these reviews as much as I did. Vedat Milor The review is here.
  3. I have been in Alinea about a year ago and ordered the grand menu. My report has been overdue. Written but never posted. (because I started a new blog and it took time to transfer my posts from gastroville to gastromoniale) I thought some of you may be interested in this review. Alinea is a restaurant that I am looking forward to go back. Here is the review.
  4. vmilor

    elBulli 2008 reports

    ← Thanks Rogelio. First I saw the photos and was not aware of your comments and that you had posted it. I quipped to myself "this is more like Adria that I had admired in late 90s". It looks like he is maturing or maybe he is more relaxed.....
  5. vmilor

    Eating My Way Through Paris

    Nice review ajgnet. It is interesting that you almost forgot eating the mache salade with truffle slices. I eat them simultaneoulsy with the tourte. The idea is to contrast what you aptly describes as truffles as texture versus truffles as scent. But there is no right or wrong way.... Pacaud is very picky on his lobster supply. I wonder whether it is the texture that is tough ( a good rock blue lobster from Brittany) or slightly overcooked? Personally I don't like "cottony" texture in lobster. Maine lobster has that texture and then when you cook it sous vide, a la FL the result....well, it is not lobster! This said, if you are in Paris in June go and try Pacaud's lobster with new potatoes. For sequencing: I am amazed that you had lobster after and NOT before truffle. Was your waiter Pascal? Has he said nothing? And, did they really not object when you ordered all desserts on the menu. Especially 2 chocolate based ones? I take my hat off! One question: are you sure the salmon amuse is sous vide? Thanks again for writing a deeply felt report. Makes me feel doubly bad that I am missing the truffe bel humeur this year. Blame it on French "vacances scholaires" which is changing every year.
  6. vmilor

    2008 Gambero Rosso

    Couldn't find anything about this on your blog...or did I miss something? Anyway, could you elaborate on that, please? (Via PM if you prefer) I have been to Il Duomo only once - and I think I might know what you mean... Best kai ← No. Mikael has never written. Basically he found the quality of products questionable and cooking very poor. He was frank when the chef asked him how he liked his meal. But the chef responded to criticisms quite aggressively. Personally I have been staying in Alba in the last few years and there are no shortage of honest restaurants. Da Renzo, Antine, All'Enoteca....... Returning back to the main topic, I think the problem with Gambero Rosso guide is not an insulated case. The restaurateurs, allover the world, found a way to single out and pamper the critics. Very few people can resist VIP treatement, off-menu dishes, special favors, more careful preparation, etc. I don't think it is dishonesty, it is the weakness of human character. The result is that there is a growing disparity between the taste of knowledgeable diners like Mikael or fortedei (who made me inspired to write this post) and the reviewers of major guidebooks like Espresso Guide, Gambero Rosso.
  7. I have found that Joel Robuchon Las Vegas is quite good but it is by no means a dining destination for its own sake. If you happen to be in Las Vegas, it is worth having a meal which ranks on par with the best in France in terms of service and ambience but many dishes utilize average quality luxurious ingredients. When Michelin was Michelin this was perhaps a one star level--in France. For those of you interested in a fuller review here is the link: click here
  8. vmilor

    2008 Gambero Rosso

    Well, at the top of my list is Erba Luna In all seriousness, go to Miramonte L'Alto in Concesio and then Vissani and tell me which has the better food, and which resturant you like best. My bet is that you'll like one and dislike the other. Go to Paolo e Barbara in San Remo and then to Madonnina in Senigallia and tell me which has the better food and which restaurant you like best. Tell me which chef, in those two restaurants, is the more skilled? Go to La Pinetta in Marina di Bibbona and then go a little way along the coast to Gambero Rosso. Tell us which restaurant you think serves the better food, which restaurant has the better service and which restaurant you would rather eat in. Go to Amerigo in Savigno and then Da Caino and tell me which one has the more skilled preparations, the better food and the better service? Go to Cervere in Piemonte and then to Don Alfonso and do the same thing. I'm curious to hear what you think. Best, Fortedei ← Well these are no brainers. Miramonte l'Altro is not perfect but at least 3 notches above Vissani. Paolo and Barbara sometimes overreaches but again no comparison. Paolo is also very good with game. Nobody but GR and Espresso people eat great at Gambero Rosso. I should try La Pinetta. For seafood Lorenzo is heads and shoulders above GR. Amerigo is one of the best in Italy---Da Caino is nowdays a ripoff. Cervere??? You mean Da Renzo. I guess I was the first who had written in egullet that if deserved a star right before Michelin gave one. It is a very solid place, one of the 2 or 3 best in Piemonte. Don Alfonso is passe....excellent couple(Iaccarino) and great wine list. As for food, there are so many better restaurants than Don Alfonso in Camoania. I have also seen Combal Zero and Duomo on the list. Combal Zero = 0! My gastroville partner Mikael tried Duomo and came close to having a fistfight with the chef.
  9. vmilor

    2008 Gambero Rosso

    Well, at the top of my list is Erba Luna In all seriousness, go to Miramonte L'Alto in Concesio and then Vissani and tell me which has the better food, and which resturant you like best. My bet is that you'll like one and dislike the other. Go to Paolo e Barbara in San Remo and then to Madonnina in Senigallia and tell me which has the better food and which restaurant you like best. Tell me which chef, in those two restaurants, is the more skilled? Go to La Pinetta in Marina di Bibbona and then go a little way along the coast to Gambero Rosso. Tell us which restaurant you think serves the better food, which restaurant has the better service and which restaurant you would rather eat in. Go to Amerigo in Savigno and then Da Caino and tell me which one has the more skilled preparations, the better food and the better service? Go to Cervere in Piemonte and then to Don Alfonso and do the same thing. I'm curious to hear what you think. Best, Fortedei ←
  10. vmilor

    Eating My Way Through Paris

    Nice reports ajgnet, please continue and enjoy Paris. My best guess is that the "elderly" lady you described at L'Ambroisie is the lady at the "vestiaire". It is hard not to use adjectives such as "elegant", "refined", "chic" describing Madame Pacaud. She is almost "ageless".... she is not aging. Unlike many other 3 stars in Paris the staff at L'Ambroisie, with the exception of Pascale Vettaux, do not speak English. This creates some misunderstanding at times.... Since I am neither French nor American, I can say that the 2 culture rest at polar opposites among Western-individualist cultures. Selective/elitist/discretionary versus inclusive/populist/anti intellectual. Conflicts arise, esp. in case of an institution like L'Ambroisie which embodies some French values to the dismay of even some younger and/or more "liberal" French people (who don't want to be or behave like their parents). There is also a good number of Americans who feel more at home at L'Ambroisie than anywhere else in America. I respectfully disagree with the comment that the "young and the foreigners" are discriminated against in l'Ambroisie (personally I was 27 when I first ate there). It is all a matter of body language and unconscious conformity to certain norms. I also think that "having fun" is a culturally constructed notion and the "sense of humor" differs widely among countries and social classes. It is almost impossible to explain to a third party why something or someone is "fun' because this very endeavour is meaningless when people do not share a common baseline/experiences.
  11. vmilor

    L'altro Mastai, Rome

    The chef at L'Altro Mastai is a former Heinz Beck sous chef and protege!!! (good restaurant but not on par with La Pergola) Truly Roman and good: Osteria San Cesario...take a cab.
  12. This is an oft-repeated (not just by you) generalization which, when contrasted with reality, isn't really true. Yes, kitchen organization in (a few of the) top French restaurants remains an example for the whole world to admire and to try to duplicate, but that said, the rigor of the culinary effort and the final results of what you get on your plate are not automatically derived from that apparently perfect, professional organization. Is there more rigor at Michel Bras' than at Mugaritz? Not really. ← Actually the day we lunched there Santi was in the kitchen and literally working. We visited the kitchen, chatted with him (in French) but his attention was really focused on what was going on in the kitchen. I agree with Victor that there is never a perfect match between abstract concepts and factual reality. One can take jabs at all generalizations with some fairness. What I meant by 'rigor" in Santi's cooking is that, he does show remarkable understanding of ingredients, what he has to work with, how to combine distinct tastes in the same dish, how much to transform a given product, and, most importantly, WHEN to stop transforming and WHEN to stop adding an extra element or taste component to a dish. His dishes have extraordinary focus and clarity. So do some Roca or Aduriz dishes. Perhaps the reason I am calling Santi the best is because the sheer percentage of "really successful" dishes is higher there. Conversely, the less good dishes are still pretty good at Can Fabes whereas the other 2 chefs occassionally turn out dishes which are misconceived or conceptually interesting but not delicious. Since I have never worked in a professional kitchen I can not say anything conclusive about it but Victor's point strike me as entirely plausible. It may be that, up to a certain point, the differentiation of tasks in the kitchen, I mean an increase in the division of labor, does help improve the overall quality. But, once a certain point or level of differentiation has been reached, further division imparts rigidity and a decline in quality (coordination becomes difficult. Dishes wait too long. Sauces get over reduced). The other thing I never understand well is the following. Many celebrity chefs follow the Ducasse model but it seems that only Ducasse really pulling it off. I mean I ate there so many times when he was at the helm (early 90s) and sometimes we had 17/20 level meals but also 19/20 level. Cerrutti at Louis Quinze and Piege (when he was in paris) are also reaching similar levels. Worse meals are 3 stars level, but good ones are really upper end of 3 stars. Even the now defunct New York rest. of Ducasse was, in my opinion, the best Haute Cuisine rest. in the States. So why is it that Ducasse is succeeding in this model but others are not. Is he an organizational genius? Does he work twice as hard as others? I simply don't know. As for Can Roca, I had liked him very much and sang praises for him in the past. I am crossing my fingers that what I have seen lately (and some others who may not want to say it publicly) is a temporary blip. After his visit, if Victor, whose taste and knowledge I admire, tells me so, I certainly will revisit them.
  13. Actually there is a 110 Euro menu for lunch at Arpege which is good value. Since you are not going to l'Astrance I thought it may be interesting. Barbot is a student of Passard. Presently. I still prefer Arpege. My blog partner Mikael Johnson wrote a review of Ambassadeurs. The chef is a Ducasse protege and presently you may eat there even better than Ducasse (which is not in your program). Lunch at 80 Euro or so is a great value there and may give you and idea. If i may say, at L'Ambroisie, since it is your first visit, it may be wise to ask Monsieur Pascal for advice and sequencing. They do not have menu degustations there.
  14. Hope you are not eating both lunch and dinner at these restaurants. Then dinner will be shortshrifted. If it were me, and if the number remains the same, I would give a try to Arpege (go menu deg) and Les Ambassadeurs (dinner, lunch menu is good but his best is reserved for dinner). I would take out Taillevent and L'Atelier. The room at l'Ambroisie is fit for dinner more but cooking should be the same. Please write your overall impression and have a great time.
  15. I have been at Can Roca and Can Fabes 4 times. Presently Joan Roca seems ovewwhelmed. The new restaurant project, combined with catering business, combined with his teaching schedule and cook book projects seem to be taking a toll. The dishes are simply not well conceived or hastily conceived. He is also letting his youngest brother Jordi cook main dishes. He may learn in time but the only dish by Jordi was a disaster. Santi, on the other hand, has been better than ever. He has a certain rigor which in general is missing in top end Spanish restaurants.
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