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Eating a 31-Year-Old Time Capsule Auberge de L'Ill


AdamLawrence
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Adam-About three years ago. Lovely place. True Michelin  3 star environment and cooking is at that level too. I would describe the food as your basic modern day take on classical French cuisine with all the expected Alstatian inspirations. My meal was very enjoyable though not what I would describe as cutting edge. I ate a "Pot de Foie Gras avec Truffe" which was my own individual terrine of foie gras that was studded with truffe. It was of the consistancy where they served it to me in scoops like one would get a scoop of chocolate mousse by hand using a soup spoon. My wife had a prawn dish with Thai spices that she loved. We then split a roast chicken with truffe under the skin. I remember we had a great bottle of some Zind-Humbrecht Gewurztraminer V.T., I believe a 1990 but I can't recall specifically as I write this. But it was an education in how Alsatian sweet wines can be drunk throughout the meal, even with the main course.

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Adam, have you considered going to the latest Michelin three-star L'Arnsbourg in Alsace instead of, or in addition to, L'Auberge de L'Ill? You'd be hot stuff and have a great conversation piece. Furthermore, we need a report.

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Adam, you're hot stuff anyway.

Plotnicki, were the Thai spices sprinkled?

Sorry I can't report on Auberge de l'Ill. We had reservations three years ago but the wife fell ill in Strasbourg so we cancelled our reservation in order to focus exclusively on navigating the French medical system, which turned out to be easy enough once we displayed a present intention to pay cash, which is kind of odd since it ultimately wound up costing about a tenth of what a doctor's visit costs here in New York.

Where else are you thinking to eat in the 'hood? For a non-three-star meal, Cerf in Marlenheim was terrific when we were there.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Auberge de l'Ill: I haven't eaten there recently, just once in 1986. It was one of the best meals in my life. The food: I can't quite remember what I ate, except for their famous quenelles. I do remember vividly the wonderful atmosphere, relaxed, not stuffy, and the great service, nothing hurried, nothing slow. We started at 1 pm and ended at 5 pm, coffee and armagnac in the garden next to the river. The Auberge has had 3 stars since ages and is so well known in the Alsace that everyone just refers to it as the Auberge.

Frieda

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Steves S&P - thanks for the info. I haven't really thought about where else we might eat as yet, as I've never been to Alsace and I'm more focused on the wine touring. Did find a nice-looking little hotel in Illhaeusern on the Logis de France web site though. Any more info on Cerf?

Robert - must confess I know nothing at all L'Arnsbourg. I'll have to investigate. But we won't be going till summer anyway, so I'm afraid any information will be a while coming ;-)

Thanks all

Adam

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Adam, do you have the Patricia Wells book? That's where I got Cerf. I don't have the book handy right now but will post the info when I dig it up if you don't have the book (which you should get even though it's a bit out of date).

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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While I still consider the lastest version of Wells' Food Lover's Guides a must, it should be noted that the guide to Paris has been revised recently, but the one to France has not, to my knowledge, been revised since 1987. It is wonderful for the flavor of the regions and for a list of market days, but restaurants have come and gone, in the meantime. In terms of dining, it's a history book more than a guide book.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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  • 3 months later...

I had lunch at Auberge de L’Ill for the first time recently. I ordered the menu at 106 euros, which was a relatively reasonable price for a three-star restaurant. It included two appetizers, one main course, the cheese course and dessert (coffee not included).

La Terrine de Foie d’Oie Truffee (Goose Liver Terrine, with Truffles)

Le Saumon Souffle “Auberge de L’Ill” (Salmon Souffle named after the restaurant)

[Veal with Morel Sauce, White Asparagus]

La Peche “Haeberlin” (The “Haeberlin” Peach)

Aperitif Maison (Champagne with Griottes syrup) (11 euros)

½ Chassagne Montrachet, Les Caillerets, Jean-Noel Gagnard 1996 (50 euros)

The amuses were (1) a large serving (for an amuse) of smoked salmon wrapped in Vietnamese-style rice paper, with Vietnamese-style rice vermicelli and julienne, crunchy carrots inside the package, (2) cheese crisps, and (3) a terrine with a smoked salmon outer enclosure and smoked trout mousse and smoked trout pieces in the inside (served with a nicely intense, white-colored sauce also flavored with, among other things, trout), with a quail’s egg matched with salmon roe. The amuses were average.

A very large portion of the foie terrine is shown to the diner in a blue and white ceramic-like jar that sat in a large bowl of crushed ice. The dining room team member scooped out two large curled sections of the terrine for placement on my plate next to blush-colored port-flavored, crushed gelee. There were small amounts of truffle in the middle of the foie sections. A warm piece of bread was offered with the dish. When I tasted the foie terrine, I could not believe the sour notes in it. Previously, I had experienced the same taste when dining companions returned foie gras acknowledged by Michel Rostang’s restaurant in Paris to have been spoiled. While I could not be certain the goose liver at Auberge de L’Ill was spoiled, I would say I was 80% convinced. Leaving aside the sourness, there was nothing special about the liver terrine. (Note Alsace, like Gascony and certain other areas in France, is known for the production of foie gras) It would be surprising that other clients would not have complained, but perhaps one doesn’t register such displeasure at three-star restaurants unless one is absolutely sure. I looked up the recipe for the terrine after the meal in one of the Haeberlins’ cookbooks available from the restaurant, and there was no verjus or other ingredient which might have contributed to the sourness. (For example, Guerard at Pres d’Eugenie sometimes utilizes verjus with foie gras, and that would have explained the sourness in the absence of spoilage.)

The salmon souffle did not resemble a traditional souffle in presentation. It was sausage-like, but a bit flatter than most sausages. It was the length of an outstretched hand. Like the other dishes, the serving size was significant. The salmon was on the bottom of the sausage-like item, and light egg-related souffle components were on top of it. The souffle part had pike (brochet) mixed into it, and the skin of the souffle had an elasticity that reminded me of the skin of the quenelles de brochet taken at La Mere Brazier in Lyons. The skin was also slightly browned in certain places. The salmon souffle disappointed me because (1) it was too “traditional” tasting, and (2) the accompanying Riesling-reduction sauce was nothing special. The small puff pastry shaped to resemble a leaf and the appropriate crushed tomatoes accompanying the dish could not lift the dish out of mediocrity.

The edges of the veal pieces in my main course were darkened, and the flesh was appropriate cooked and somewhat tender. However, the mushroom sauce for this dish was too traditional. The morels were relatively soggy. The white asparagus with greyish tips were from Alsace, and were good. One was slightly bitter, and the restaurant explained that it was due to the weather conditions this year. Nonetheless, the taste was flavorful and yet “clear”. There were also two pieces of gnocchi, which were alright.

The cheese trolley had significant local representation, and was not particularly appealing to me. The only blues available were Roquefort and Fourme d’Ambert, and I chose Roquefort and epoisse taken with green apple slices. The mignardises were appropriate, and included (1) an orange-flavored macaron, (2) a raspberry cream mini tart with a piece of strawberry perched atop, and (3) a cream puff dusted with nuts and filled with coffee cream.

The dessert was a white peach poached (?) in vanilla syrup, and covered with a sabayon flavored with champagne. The peach was nicely done, and rather delicate. The accompanying pistachio ice cream was nice too, and had a bit of Chantilly cream on top of it and a little chocolate decoration that was non-functional. The ice cream had a nice graininess. Well-executed, with the only weakness being an unduly traditional “feel” to this dessert, like the other parts of the meal.

Overall, a very traditional meal that was not close to meeting my expectations. Of all the dishes I ordered, only the veal was not a signature dish of the Haeberlins. It was particularly disappointing that the restaurant’s well-known dishes were so “ordinary”. If it were up to me, I would demote Auberge de L’Ill from three-star status in short order.

Service

The service was excellent. My dining room team member was knowledgeable, friendly in a polished manner and offered the appropriate balance between helpfulness/involvement and “laissez faire”. There were several female dining room team members – many more than the average three-star restaurant in France. The sommelier team was strong, and the wine list was relatively reasonably priced in several categories. There was, as expected, a strong representation of Alsatian wines, although I adhered to my usual White Burgundy.

There was strong presence from the Haeberlin family in the restaurant. The wife of Marc Haeberlin (the youngest member of the dynasty and the current chef), Jean-Pierre Haeberlin (who assists in greeting and provides the watercolors that adorn the restaurant’s menu) and Paul Haeberlin (the former chef) were all seen at different points in the meal. Paul Haeberlin appeared quite old, and was greeting primarily the clients he knew. I did not receive much attention from him, as he was chatting happily with a German couple.

Access, Decor & Clientele

Strasbourg is the closest major French city to Illhaeusern. From Paris, Strasbourg is a 4 hour train ride (from Gare de L’Est), as no TGV is available to this destination. At Strasbourg, the train to Selestat can be taken (approximately 20 minutes); Colmar is another nearby town. From Selestat’s train station, the restaurant is an approx. 15 minute by taxi (charge approx. 20 euros). There is not always taxi availability at the station, and the restaurant can be contacted to have a taxi waiting at the appropriate time.

The restaurant is located next to the L’Ill river, which had relatively fast water flows. The day I visited, it was raining, and the river had a certain poetic feel to it. The restaurant is somewhat close to the river, with a large overarching tree not unlike that at Waterside Inn in Bray (UK). The “feel” of the scenery has certain similarities to Waterside Inn as well, although the restaurant is larger here. There appeared to be two principal rooms, with the “main” dining room (not necessarily by size) being decorated in white and a pale evergreen hue. The decor of the restaurant was not as antiquated as I expected, and it had a comfortable, arguably quasi-elegant, aspect to it. It was somewhat more tasteful than, for example, the dining room at L’Esperance, although it was clearly not among the more modern dining rooms. Upon walking into the restaurant, this main dining room is on the right hand side. It has a quasi-semi-circular (with edges, so that the shapes were not round) section that was slightly closer to the river. I sat facing the river, next to an appealing painting roughly depicting the forms of one of the Haeberlins in his kitchen. I saw a painting of Jean and Pierre Troisgros at Roanne by the same artist, and had liked it there as well (one accesses it by walking past the gastronomic library). The same artist has works displayed in the greeting area at Auberge de L’Ill. The chairs had wood carvings of swans’ heads along their backs, and the muted evergreen carpet in the main dining room had subtle designs with a swirly representation of the letter “H” in a salmon tone. The draperies were appropriately white, and there were expanses of window areas through which the bend in the river could be seen and which exposed wooden deck chairs and tables, cheerful flowerbeds and much greenery.

In the main dining room, the clientele at lunch was more than 50% German. A taxi driver confirmed to me that that was not unusual (with a smaller Swiss contingent). For example, the restaurant is approximately 50 km from the German city of Freiburg, according to the driver. The capacity of the restaurant is significant.

Other Notes

The menu lists various specialties of the restaurant, which are indicated to have contributed to the fame of the restaurant. Those were (1) the goose liver terrine and salmon souffle I ordered, (2) La truffe sous la cendre (a whole truffle in pastry, cooked under embers(?) and served with a large pool of dark sauce; it was 100 euros a serving, (3) La mousseline de grenouilles “Paul Haeberlin” (a mousseline of frogs named after the current chef’s father), and (4) Le homard Prince Vladimir (lobster “Prince Vladimir” style, with the flesh removed from the shell and served with a champagne sauce).

The 106 euro menu I had offered 2-3 choices for each course. There was a more expansive menu (dubbed the Haeberlin Menu) that was under 150 euros. The Haeberlin menu does not offer a choice.

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Le Saumon Souffle “Auberge de L’Ill” (Salmon Souffle named after the restaurant) . . .

The salmon souffle did not resemble a traditional souffle in presentation. It was sausage-like, but a bit flatter than most sausages. It was the length of an outstretched hand. Like the other dishes, the serving size was significant. The salmon was on the bottom of the sausage-like item, and light egg-related souffle components were on top of it. The souffle part had pike (brochet) mixed into it, and the skin of the souffle had an elasticity that reminded me of the skin of the quenelles de brochet taken at La Mere Brazier in Lyons. The skin was also slightly browned in certain places.  The salmon souffle disappointed me because (1) it was too “traditional” tasting, and (2) the accompanying Riesling-reduction sauce was nothing special.  The small puff pastry shaped to resemble a leaf and the appropriate crushed tomatoes accompanying the dish could not lift the dish out of mediocrity.

The following is additional information on the Haeberlin salmon souffle, as described in Michael Buller's "French Chefs Cooking" book.

-- The souffle mousse is made of white fish or yellow pike, eggs, egg yolks, egg whites, nutmeg, creme fraiche and salt and pepper to taste. The other ingredients are fish stock, Riesling wine, shallots and salmon fillets. The sauce is made from creme fraiche, cold butter, lemon and salt and pepper.

-- "The Alsace Riesling is Jean-Pierre's [Haeberlin] recommendation [for wine to accompany the dish]. A salmon souffle is worth the search for its ideal partner, the exquisite Trimbach family's Riseling St Hune. . . ."

-- "At Christmas time in Alsace, the great treat of the Haeberlin family is to open a bottle of Chateau Yquem and enjoy this greatest of Sauternes wines with their homemade fresh Alsace foie gras, followed by Paul Haeberlin's salmon souffle."

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The Auberge de L'ill has always been one of my favorite restaurants since first eating there in 1967 shortly after it received its 3d star. This was prior to several remodelings, the dining room was quite simple and all of the servers were women. I remember clearly the terrine de foie gras, the salmon souffle (a fish course not an appetizer), the cannard sauvage au sang and the poire sidi-brahim for desert. It was the finest meal that I had ever eaten at the time. The salmon souffle had won the award for best new dish created in France a year or two prior. The restaurant has moved on since then, but the dish remains on the menu not because the Haeberlins really want to serve it, but because of the demands of old customers such as myself. I had it again the last time that I visited the restaurant about 3 years ago and it was just as I remembered it which was exactly what I wanted. Admittedly this is not any longer a modern dish and I can understand that in a context free evaluation it might not get a top score, but I would maintain that such a context free approach is not really appropriate in this case. The salmon souffle along with the salmon a L'oseilles from the Troisgros and the loup en croute and the poulet de bresse en vessie from Paul Bocuse and the fillet of sole Ferdinand Point, which I've only tasted in replica, are the seminal dishes of post war French cooking, and although there have been evolutions of style since, there have been very few new examples of such giants.

I would suggest that someone wishing to comparatively evaluate this restaurant based on a single lunch should order from the newer dishes. The veal with morels is also very much an older signature dish, although not one of the originals, and also old fashioned. With regard to the off-tasting foie gras, this should definitely have been brought to the attention of the staff. Auberge de L'ille produces one of the very best if not the best goose foie gras and one should know whether there was really a problem or whether this is a question of individual palette. If this was judged to be up to normal standard, then I would wonder.

I know that this is controversial, but I have come to believe after long experience that one obtains the best of most restaurants in France by ordering from the carte not the menu. I have observed that the French do this to a much greater extent than visitors. This is true not only in restaurants like Michel Guerard where the dishes are different and clearly more elaborate, but also in restaurants like the Auberge de L'Ill and many others where the meny is a selection from the carte. The dishes on the carte are typically 60%+ more than on the menu and there are a number of reasons. Most significantly, knowing that they will sell more instances of a dish from the menu allows for advance preparation and establishing mini-assembly line processes which take away from the ultimate perfection of the dish. One does need to make sure that the dishes that one orders from the carte are not ones selected for that day's meniu.

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Hey Cab! You been away? Have not seen you posting for a few days...

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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I would suggest that someone wishing to comparatively evaluate this restaurant based on a single lunch should order from the newer dishes.

Marcus,

I couldn't agree with you more. I think that is why people find Georges Blanc's food tired. They insist on ordering the old stand-bys and then judge the restaurant against today's cuisine. To quote myself in another thread:

"Georges Blanc has changed greatly, particularly last year. Frederic, his son, is now in the kitchen and the menu, even the cover, has been updated. We had two excellent meals last year that were far from stodgy. I might be a minority of one about Georges Blanc, but hate to see him dismissed since his son has taken over.

On the first night our menu, called "De Mer et D'Eau Douce" was as follows.

Daurade Legerement Fumee, Beignet d'Oignon Mauve et Caviar - this was an extraordinary dish of lightly smoked, thinly sliced Daurade that was topped by a yolk quenelle (chopped yolk with a light touch of creme fraiche and chives) with a spoonful of caviar and an onion beignet.

Soupe Sauvage "Velours Vert" aux Grenouilles et Marriage d'Herbes - this was a green soup, not carrot as velours suggest with slivers of frog leg meat. I honestly do not know what the main ingredient of the soup was, just that it was green.

Des filet de Rouget, des Champignons et une royale d'oseille dans une nage au vin jaune- the crispy rouget was "swimming" in the vin jaune, the amber-yellow wine from the Jura area -

Meli Melo de Homard Eclate et Legumes Tendres a l'Huile Parfumee- a "hodge-podge" of lobster-

Aile de Pigeon Roti Servie dans in Bouillon Corse, Tartine de Halicot de Cuisse, Gnocchi d'Aubergines et Pata Negra - roasted pigeon served in strong bouillon with the thigh of the pigeon minced and served on toast

The next night, we had La Poularde de Bresse Cuite en Croute de Gros Sel "Selon Alexandre" for our main course. This must be ordered at least 24 hours in advance. It is not the dish that Georges Blanc is famous for and which everyone seems to order in the dining room - the Poulet de Bresse comme au G7. The latter dish is not a favorite of mine and does in fact "taste tired." The chicken we had is cooked in a pastry shell covered with salt (the pastry is not eaten). It is served in two courses - the first the Bresse chicken breast with the leg attached was absolutely perfect, the essence of chicken with the jus being the sauce. The second course is the cracklings and other remaining parts of the chicken with a salad. I am definitely not describing this very accurately and I know Cabrales would probably describe this perfectly.

Also, that is why we make a point of eating at least 2 and hopefully three meals in a destination restaurant - try the standards, try the new, get to know the staff etc.

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I would suggest that someone wishing to comparatively evaluate this restaurant based on a single lunch should order from the newer dishes.

. . . .I couldn't agree with you more. Also, that is why we make a point of eating at least 2 and hopefully three meals in a destination restaurant - try the standards, try the new, get to know the staff etc.

Marcus & lizziee -- As discussed iin another thread, I too attempt to sample a Michelin three-star restaurant several times before furnishing an assessment. However, for some Strasbourg restaurants and a very few other such restaurants, that has not been practicable to date. If a first visit is miserable, I would say one could say the restaurant is likely to be poor. It was not only that the food at Auberge de l'Ill was "tired" (in the old-fashioned sense); it was poor regardless of modernity considerations. I reviewed the remainder of the menu, and it did not strike me as being particularly novel (not that food at a restaurant needs to be -- see my review of Buerehiesel). Spoiled foie gras (very likely ) should not be served as a signature dish (even one dating from some time ago) at a three-star restaurant. :sad: Perhaps a visit by lizziee would yield a different assessment. :smile:

Beachfan -- While I may not signal satisfaction with a dish, I do not always express dissatisfaction (particularly if the restaurant does not ask). With my strong suspicions that the foie gras was stale, I would not convey that to a three-star restaurant unless I had other diners with me to verify my conclusion. It seems such a serious charge with which to directly confront a restaurant. I'd have to say that I was quite confident of my assessment, however. :sad:

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With my strong suspicions that the foie gras was stale, I would not convey that to a three-star restaurant unless I had other diners with me to verify my conclusion. It seems such a serious charge with which to directly confront a restaurant. I'd have to say that I was quite confident of my assessment, however.  :sad:

An interesting point and one upon which I'd like to reflect. I'm not sure when I convey my displeasure and when I chose to suppress it. There's the issue of being sure I'm right and then there's the issue of not caring to make a scene (especially if I have doubts about my own opinion). This doesn't even apply to those restaurants where, in spite of the solicitations of the staff, I don't expect they really care much about what I think.

Cabrales, I'm curious to know if you finished your portion of foie gras. It doesn't sound as if it was a large portion and I suppose you could have finished it in the few bites it would have taken to ascertain your reaction. Had you not finished a dish so early in the dinner, I'd have been very surprised if no one asked if it pleased you or not. I agree that it's an odd situation. If the restaurant agrees it was off, you're going to get excellent attention from that point on, but it they don't agree, it may work against you in subtle ways even if they're unintentional ways. I think you'd agree that the restaurant would prefer to have a diner confront them with the opportunity to explain, defend themselves and otherwise please the diner rather than avoid the direct confrontation and suffer the ill effects of bad word of mouth later. Nevertheless, many, if not most, of us would find it easier to avoid the confrontation and feel free to speak our minds later--so understand that I'm not being too critical of your actions.

Cabrales and Lizziee have both written well and frequently here and I read their posts with some picture of the individual and their background. Marcus, you write knowledgeably and convincingly about fine dining in France here. I hope we see more of your posts and I look forward to the time when I can appreciate your perspective better. I noticed your comment that "one obtains the best of most restaurants in France by ordering from the carte not the menu." I seem to recall that Lizzee recently suggested the opposite was true at three star restaurants and you indicate that your position on this is controversial. Steven Shaw has said that he avoids degustation menus on a first visit unless they feature the chef's signature dishes. I rather felt he was speaking about North American restaurants when he said that however. I don't know if I have a strong position on this. I'm inclined to play it be ear and my mood may have more to do with how I order than a set philosophy, but it's an interesting question. We might start a separate thread on this issue if anyone has more to say or good reasons to offer in support of either position, or even good questions to raise on the issue.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Bux -- I have confronted a restaurant for stale foie gras (Michel Rostang), but there one had three assessments (myself and two persons who are clearly more knowledgeable about food). I would have confronted the restaurant had either one of those other persons mentioned the problem, let alone all three of us. Obviously, the restaurant confirmed that the problem was there after taking the dishes back.

I think staleness of food products is a more serious allegation than mere indications of dissatisfaction on other grounds with a dish. It is an allegation not based on one's subjective preferences, in whole or in part, but based on an item having gone back in an objective manner and in a manner that would be insulting to any decent restaurant (let alone a three-star). I of course did not take in all of the foie gras that I thought was stale. I took in enough to determine that the sourness was not, in my assessment and before having reviewed the recipe for the dish, attributable to verjus, citrus fruit enhancements, etc.

I do not think it is incumbent upon a diner to tell a restaurant what needs to be improved with respect to its cuisine or any other part of it. If I wanted to have a dish changed or clarified, I would be more inclined to say something. And I do not give compliments when they are not due. However, when one is dissatisfied, I do not feel obligated to come forth with criticism for the benefit of the restaurant. If a restaurant that needs improvement does not know it, that is its problem. Furthermore, a single diner has subjective preferences (leaving aside spoilage issue) that do not necessarily represent the bulk of diners' opinions. :blink:

Marcus -- Like Bux, I welcome your having a different take on Auberge de L'Ill, including specifics

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"Steven Shaw has said that he avoids degustation menus on a first visit unless they feature the chef's signature dishes."

I don't understand this as you can always ask the chef to substitute one or two of his signature dishes into the degustation menu. I don't know a chef in France who wouldn't be happy to do so.

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hmm.. computer problems continue, including with respeect to capitalization button. marcus' points raise indirectly an interesting issue in the context of the france forum. it would be nice to receive input on a restaurant from a wider group of members -- not only on auberge de l'ill, but also on other restaurants in france. :smile: As for how one orders, I am subjectively not of the viewpoint that there is a "best" way common for all (or even most diners). Obviously, the dishes of a restaurant included in a prix fixe menu varies in scope and quantity. Anybody going to Veyrat for the first time is much better off ordering one of the tasting menus, given the pricing of individual plates. Similarly, I think at Bras, a first-time diner would do well with a tasting menu.

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Beachfan -- While I may not signal satisfaction with a dish, I do not always express dissatisfaction (particularly if the restaurant does not ask).

I understand your point. But I think it's hard to give a mark of excellent to the service if they didn't recognize something is off. You should not have had to say anything unilaterally.

As Bux points out, it seems that there would likely be some cues to the waitstaff from the fois gras being mostly unconsumed. They should have followed up on those cues.

beachfan

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