Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
Gavin Convery

Le Cinq in the George Cinq

Recommended Posts

Thanks for the preliminary report. I think we will eat there more than once :smile: . Robyn


Edited by robyn (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

O.K. Julot, you have done it now with your beautiful pictures and commentary...my wife has decided we are going as soon as we can get reservations...perhaps you could mail me a small check as partial compensation because she will never settle for the lunch menu. Will you please refrain from further gustatory erotica until we leave in November?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
O.K. Julot, you have done it now with your beautiful pictures and commentary...my wife has decided we are going as soon as we can get reservations...perhaps you could mail me a small check as partial compensation because she will never settle for the lunch menu. Will you please refrain from further gustatory erotica until we leave in November?

Why not do lunch and dinner? Robyn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Six months ago (shortly before Christmas 2008), I returned to le Cinq for dinner. You can read the full review at the the ulterior epicure.

Here's the upshot:

The last time I ate at le Cinq, this prince of Parisian dining rooms was under the command of Philippe Legendre. And though it was lauded and esteemed as one of the best Michelin three-star restaurants, I found the food tired and service haughty. I was not surprised to learn that it lost its third star a few months later.

Three years later, Legendre is gone and Eric Briffard is in, straight from the Michelin two-starred les Elysées du Vernet, where he made inroads among the more refined appetites in Paris. His following has tailed him to the Four Seasons.

Urged by a friend (and Briffard fanatique) to reconsider le Cinq, I returned with Houston and my college roommate, Hue (with whom I had lunch the day before at l'Ambroisie), in December of 2008.

At restaurants of a certain caliber, I think that there shouldn’t be any “wrong choices” on the menu. A diner may not like certain food, or style of cuisine. But, certainly, a diner should have an equally enjoyable experience however they order. Even as I am typing this, I realize I’m painting myself into a corner. You’ll see in a moment how this is the case.

I’m convinced now that ordering the tasting menu at le Cinq was a mistake.

Why did we order the tasting menu?

There was foie gras with smoked eel. There were purple Breton sea urchins. There were scallops with green apple-wasabi rémoulade.

There was abalone.

It was a hit parade of my favorite foods and food combinations. Moreover, it seemed to nail that sweet spot between freakish experimentation and stodgy classicism.

I was right. And wrong.

...

Indeed, donning a thick coat of warm fuzzies, the service at le Cinq seemed to have rounded out the edges from my previous visit. Top to bottom, the staff was professional, extremely attentive, and quite amiable – even playful at times. We were having such a wonderful ride that time seemed suspended. Indeed, we were the last party to leave the restaurant, at nearly two o’clock in the morning.

Verdict?

I’ve certainly had worse meals in my life – but not many at this price (the tasting menu was 230 €, not including wine). The one real stinker (abalone) stank pretty badly. The rest of the dishes waffled between good and confused.

Despite the generosity [copious amounts of butter - salted and seaweed varieties - carved in towering pine cones; high quality extra virgin olive oil (I found this odd at my first experience too), and a bottomless bread to basket], execution was sloppy (there really was no excuse for the inedible abalone or the string left tied around Houston’s lamb loin). And flavors failed to harmonize.

Together our tasting progressed in awkward syncopation, a series of hiccups smoothed over only by spotless service and our own good cheer.

For an aspiring Michelin three-star (if that is what Briffard is trying to do), le Cinq fell far short. Having been very hopeful for redemption, this meal was deflating. I’m hoping the third try will be a charm.


Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't tell whether there's any sort of clear consensus yet about the best way to try Chef Briffard's cooking? 85 lunch menu, in-between menu, expensive dinner menu, a la carte? I generally prefer lunch, at least in dining rooms with nice natural light. Is Le Cinq good in that regard?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I can't tell whether there's any sort of clear consensus yet about the best way to try Chef Briffard's cooking?  85 lunch menu, in-between menu, expensive dinner menu, a la carte?  I generally prefer lunch, at least in dining rooms with nice natural light.  Is Le Cinq good in that regard?

I had lunch at Le Cinq in its early years under Legendre as the chef. Very poor food but at that time they had a matching wine option; that was magnificent. The sommelier at that time is now the manager of the restaurant. Lunch improved under Briffard ( I dined there in December) but it wasn't as good as his previous stint at L'Elysees or before that at the Relais Plaza. Wine list is still exceptional and it would be the only attraction for me to return. A lunch a few days later at Le Bristol was excellent and superior to Le Cinq. I'm not surprised by their promotion to 3 rosettes. Le Cinq was more than half empty; Le Bristol was full. Natural light on one side facing a courtyard.


Edited by pirate (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I had lunch at L'Elysees in April 08 and it was awesome. I would like to check Le Cinq out, even though I understand that it may suffer in some ways in comparison to L'Elysees. Glad I at least made it to L'Elysees before Briffard left. Pirate, did you have one of the menus at Le Cinq or order a la carte?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yeah, I had lunch at L'Elysees in April 08 and it was awesome.  I would like to check Le Cinq out, even though I understand that it may suffer in some ways in comparison to L'Elysees.  Glad I at least made it to L'Elysees before Briffard left.  Pirate, did you have one of the menus at Le Cinq or order a la carte?

I had the lowest priced lunch menu. I can only report my isolated experiences which one cannot claim are representative.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Le Cinq and Le Bristol both have similar sounding prices at lunch at 85e. Can anyone let me know what the cost of a couple of glasses of house wine, some water and coffee adds to the total. Also, can anyone compare Michel Rostangs 95e menu with wine etc included to Le Cinq and Le Bristol for lunch? Or more simply where should I try to get a reservation this Friday..

Martin


Edited by MaLO (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Le Cinq and Le Bristol both have similar sounding prices at lunch at 85e.  Can anyone let me know what the cost of a couple of glasses of house wine, some water and coffee adds to the total.  Also, can anyone compare Michel Rostangs 95e menu with wine etc included to Le Cinq and Le Bristol for lunch? Or more simply where should I try to get a reservation this Friday.. 

Martin

I ate at both Le Cinq and Le Bristol in June and can recommend both highly, though I had the full menus. Some on this site have complained that there is too much variation in quality between the lunch menu and full menu at Le Bristol. If I had to choose, I would recommend Le Cinq. Le Bristol has the menu on the hotel website.

If I remember, the wines by the glass prices at Le Cinq run between 15 and 40 Euros.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Le Cinq and Le Bristol both have similar sounding prices at lunch at 85e.  Can anyone let me know what the cost of a couple of glasses of house wine, some water and coffee adds to the total.  Also, can anyone compare Michel Rostangs 95e menu with wine etc included to Le Cinq and Le Bristol for lunch? Or more simply where should I try to get a reservation this Friday.. 

Martin

I've been to all three within the past year, though none of them for lunch, so I'm not sure I can be of much help except to say that:

If the dinner can be indicative of lunches, then I can draw the following conclusions:

1. Michel Rostang will be on the heavy side, and much more traditional than the other two. It will have the darkest dining room of the three.

2. le Bristol will probably offer the most creative, yet approachable food, overall. If they are still serving in the summer pavillion, the lighting will be splendid. If not, the lighting in the "Winter Garden" will be substantially less, though perhaps not quite as dark as Rostang.

3. le Cinq will probably offer the most creative and strange food overall. Of all of my meals in Paris on my last trip, it was the least successful one for me. But, I explained it further on my blog, if you care to read the details. Lighting will be very good, increasing with intensity the closer you get to the windows that look out into the courtyard of Georges V.

Service at le Cinq was stellar. le Bristol's service was good, but nothing memorable. Michel Rostang's staff is very warm, but perhaps not as sharp as the staff at the other two.

Again, based on one visit each for dinner, I'm sure you can't count me as the most reliable source out there (or here).

As an aside: This is really neither here nor there, but I had lunch at le Cinq many moons ago under Legendre. Service was stiff and the food was mediocre at best. Though I did not have a great meal at le Cinq this past December, I'm inclined to believe (based on reports from those I trust and believe) that an excellent meal can be had at the hands of Briffard. If I may, I suggest sticking with his homier dishes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks,

Your info is most helpful. I may give Le Cinq a try. I still have so many ideas in my head (La table Joel Robouchon, Grande Cascade). Thankfully the holidays are on - I would have a meltdown given all the choice. Any other info glady received.

Martin.


Edited by MaLO (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know quite well the cuisine of Le Cinq. For me, the best way to enjoy it would be to take the 85 dinner and add on a plate from the carte (or two) to share with a friend. One of my favorite dishes on the menu right now is the: Fresh Duck Foie Gras from the Landes Region, Roasted with Black Sarawak Pepper, Braised Rhubarb, Gariguette Strawberries with Elderberry Juice. Cooked in a water bath and then caramelized at the last second it has a great soft poached foie gras texture with some nice caramelized taste on the outside and the accompaniments are great, the acidity of the rhubarb and sweetness/floral notes of the strawberry.

Also just about anything on the 'meat and poultry' section of the cart is a homerun. Special mention on the whole veal kidney and bresse chicken in cocotte that are wonderful.

One last tip, skip dessert and buy yourself another entree, like the Young Sprouts and baby Veg dish that comes from Paris posh farmer Joel Thiebault.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh good, I was hoping you'd show up, Le Peche! :smile:

I know quite well the cuisine of Le Cinq. For me, the best way to enjoy it would be to take the 85 dinner and add on a plate from the carte (or two) to share with a friend. One of my favorite dishes on the menu right now is the: Fresh Duck Foie Gras from the Landes Region, Roasted with Black Sarawak Pepper, Braised Rhubarb, Gariguette Strawberries with Elderberry Juice. Cooked in a water bath and then caramelized at the last second it has a great soft poached foie gras texture with some nice caramelized taste on the outside and the accompaniments are great, the acidity of the rhubarb and sweetness/floral notes of the strawberry.

Also just about anything on the 'meat and poultry' section of the cart is a homerun. Special mention on the whole veal kidney and bresse chicken in cocotte that are wonderful.

Like I said, "If I may, I suggest sticking with his homier dishes."

One last tip, skip dessert and buy yourself another entree, like the Young Sprouts and baby Veg dish that comes from Paris posh farmer Joel Thiebault.

You're such a good salesperson and ambassador of the restaurant -- entrees having a higher price tag than desserts. :raz:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd be careful soon, lots of people are leaving the kitchen..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd be careful soon, lots of people are leaving the kitchen..

Interesting piece of news!

"Leaving" as in "on their own"?

I read somewhere that Briffard was not totally happy with some of the staff in the kitchen (could be mistaken, though), so maybe it'll be a good opportunity for him to get things working as he like... provided that he has a real influence on the recruitement process. I don't know how these hotel restaurants work...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

leaving, as in, moving on to work for others..

I'd be careful soon, lots of people are leaving the kitchen..

Interesting piece of news!

"Leaving" as in "on their own"?

I read somewhere that Briffard was not totally happy with some of the staff in the kitchen (could be mistaken, though), so maybe it'll be a good opportunity for him to get things working as he like... provided that he has a real influence on the recruitement process. I don't know how these hotel restaurants work...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
leaving, as in, moving on to work for others..

My sentence probably wasn't clear enough. I was just wondering if when you said "leaving" it was some kind of understatement for "being laid off", more or less, or just that: "leaving". But I guess it's the latter then.


Edited by olivier (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot of people in the kitchen at Le Cinq have been around since before Brifard was there. When he came in I am not sure how many cooks he brought in from Les Elysees but definitely a lot of the kitchen staff was the one that Legendre was comanding previously. Briffard rearranged a lot of the kitchen. not only his menus/preparations but also how the brigade is divided, how orders come in and how food goes out of the kitchen for all of the areas, the room service, the bar gallerie restaurant and Le Cinq. Some people didn't like the changes, they left.

I don't think this has hurt the quality of the food at all. Right now all of the chef de parties (people who do the actual cooking) for Le Cinq have been there for several years except for one who just came from the Plaza Athenee that has more then 5 years of experience too.

That said from my impressions of the food at Le Cinq one worry that I have is consistency. I feel product is superior, the flavor combinations are clever and work well but one problem is that there are lot of components for one plate, and when the restaurant is packed it is easy to let standards slip a bit. a pan of girolles will overcook in seconds, shellfish can go rubbery and fish can go dry easily.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×