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Jun 08 Itineraires 6 Odeon Ducoté Grenelle Gaigne


John Talbott
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I don't think I have seen this mentioned here, but it seems that Itinéraires had some problem with their staff, which could explain why the quality hasn't been on par with what it was a few weeks ago. Their problems will be dealt with and everything should be back to normal after their holidays.

This is second-hand information, but it apparently comes from a reliable source.

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I don't think I have seen this mentioned here, but it seems that Itinéraires had some problem with their staff, which could explain why the quality hasn't been on par with what it was a few weeks ago. Their problems will be dealt with and everything should be back to normal after their holidays.

This is second-hand information, but it apparently comes from a reliable source.

But it wasn't the staff, it was the food that was wildly inconsistent; even the same dishes (fish cocotte, gaspacho & tongue). And enough folks have experienced it that I am not returning til I hear some very good new reports.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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I don't think I have seen this mentioned here, but it seems that Itinéraires had some problem with their staff, which could explain why the quality hasn't been on par with what it was a few weeks ago. Their problems will be dealt with and everything should be back to normal after their holidays.

This is second-hand information, but it apparently comes from a reliable source.

But it wasn't the staff, it was the food that was wildly inconsistent; even the same dishes (fish cocotte, gaspacho & tongue). And enough folks have experienced it that I am not returning til I hear some very good new reports.

But if they have less or less-experienced people working in the kitchen, isn't it somehow predictable that the food will be inconsistent at best?

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I don't think I have seen this mentioned here, but it seems that Itinéraires had some problem with their staff, which could explain why the quality hasn't been on par with what it was a few weeks ago. Their problems will be dealt with and everything should be back to normal after their holidays.

This is second-hand information, but it apparently comes from a reliable source.

But it wasn't the staff, it was the food that was wildly inconsistent; even the same dishes (fish cocotte, gaspacho & tongue). And enough folks have experienced it that I am not returning til I hear some very good new reports.

But if they have less or less-experienced people working in the kitchen, isn't it somehow predictable that the food will be inconsistent at best?

Based on our recent visit I fear that there is a more fundamental problem in the kitchen rather than poor execution. We found the underlying concept of some dishes and the combinations of flavours in other dishes simply did not work. Less experience in junior staff will account for patchy execution, but I fear lack of experience in the head chef is resulting in the odd structure of some dishes.

I don't know his history but I suspect his training/early years were spent in quite a traditional environment and he hasn't staged in innovative restaurants so hasn't had the apprenticeship needed to execute this style of food well.

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I have been following this thread as had planned on dining there in October. Very close to where we will be staying and the first report sounded very interesting. I certainly hope someone has a better experience there in the following months!

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I don't know his history but I suspect his training/early years were spent in quite a traditional environment and he hasn't staged in innovative restaurants so hasn't had the apprenticeship needed to execute this style of food well.

Well, of course he ran the Mom and Pop sized Temps au Temps and before that a tapas place Le Gusto that should with his Grand Prix for the Ile de France of the Trophée Champagne Jacquart de l'Etoile Montante de la Gastronomie, indicate some talent.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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I don't know his history but I suspect his training/early years were spent in quite a traditional environment and he hasn't staged in innovative restaurants so hasn't had the apprenticeship needed to execute this style of food well.

Well, of course he ran the Mom and Pop sized Temps au Temps and before that a tapas place Le Gusto that should with his Grand Prix for the Ile de France of the Trophée Champagne Jacquart de l'Etoile Montante de la Gastronomie, indicate some talent.

John - I wasn't doubting his talent or skill. It was more a comment on his breadth of experience. I would expect that chefs who are adept at combining different ingredients and flavours will have had a broad range of culinary experiences and/or worked in kitchens with chefs who have the talent to do this well. From our experience of the dishes we ate we found that many of the combinations didn't work. The deconstruction of the lemon tart is an example. I have eaten quite a number of deconstructed dishes and they usually have wit combined with wonderful flavours. This version simply missed the mark and became a pointless dish. The flaw was in the conception rather than the execution.

Is he a product of Paris schools and kitchens or has he traveled far and wide to gain experience in kitchens across the world? My guess is the former rather than the latter and I believe this shows in the design of his food. IMO Paris has great restaurants, but few that successfully push the boundaries.

There clearly are some execution problems although these seemed minor in comparison to the structure of the dishes. Maybe some staff replacements are needed, but also why is a talented chef letting poorly executed dishes out of his kitchen. Is he struggling with the larger brigade and bigger restaurant?

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I

Maybe some staff replacements are needed, but also why is a talented chef letting poorly executed dishes out of his kitchen.

I have not been to Itineraires, but in my experience there are very few restaurant kitchens who are not at times victims of circumstance-- staffing problems, over-booked dining rooms and the like. Especially a small restaurant. I am sure the chef doesn’t want to send out dishes that are poorly executed, but when there is a full house of hungry diners and the kitchen is in the weeds, it happens. I can only recall one place where I have worked, that seemed to never have a problem with consistency, but it was a very expensive restaurant, with a big line crew.

Perhaps Itineraires is a victim of their own success and got overwhelmed before they were able to work the kinks out. Word was out quickly that they were open and I am sure they were full from the first night.

I liked the Temps au Temps for what it was, a charming neighborhood restaurant, that served good food—perhaps people are looking for more and are judging them too harshly, or perhaps Itineraires is trying to do too much. I am definitely interested in trying it, but may not be able to until the rentrée.

www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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I have not been to Itineraires, but in my experience there are very few restaurant kitchens who are not at times victims of circumstance-- staffing problems, over-booked dining rooms and the like....

I liked the Temps au Temps for what it was, a charming neighborhood restaurant, that served good food—perhaps people are looking for more and are judging them too harshly, or perhaps Itineraires is trying to do too much.  I am definitely interested in trying it, but may not be able to until the rentrée.

Above emphasis mine.

On the night of our visit, the dining room was full, with most diners on the same course. People with no reservations continued to come in and be turned away. Table by table service from the kitchen was very slow. It is my sense that the kitchen staff is small and the dining room large. First seatings should be staggered more to allow the kitchen to establish a pace. No one can serve fifty different covers simultaneously. And in trying to maintain service, there is little time for reflection on either plates leaving or returning to the kitchen.

eGullet member #80.

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  • 8 months later...
A little gem, barely found, but for how long?

5.5 Le Gaigne, 12, rue Pecquay in the 4th, 01.44.59.86.72, closed Tuesday – thus open Saturday, Sunday, Mondays, hooray!  Let me start with the young chef – Mickael Gaignon – who’s passed through the shops of the Pre Catalan, Gagnaire and Gaya; he may be young but he’s got it.  And his wife Aurelie is terrific in the front room.  When I entered (coming off this dingy street in nowheresville to find tables decorated with young live herbs) and realized it was just the two of them (plus a kitchen aide/plongeur) for 20 covers, I worried that they could never get the food out promptly, but they did, meanwhile turning away people who drifted by and saw the reviews by E Rubin et al in the window.  I was worried about the “brunch on Sunday” note in Figaroscope, but the chef insisted that they served the full weekly menu too.  And they did with no cancellations or substitutions.  For this tiny and new a place, they served an amuse-bouche - of real vichyssoise – I haven’t had it so good in years.  Then I had terrific small cromesquis morsels of morue, thankfully not called brandade, that were crisp outside and melting inside, with forceful watercress sprigs and puree.  The bread is worth commenting on, not crusty, but dense with a moist wheaty flavor, quite, quite good. My main was/were a divine farm chicken served two ways; a sliced breast with a delicious herb/cream sauce and rollatine bits atop young green stuffed cabbage.  I had no dessert but a terrific Molongo coffee with fine marshmallows.  Coda: there’s a funky pink light in the bathroom and a funky tin milk pail instead of a wash basin (someone has a good sense of humor.)  The bill = 42 € with two glasses of wine – but other days, the menus are 16 and 22 and wines begin at 14 €.

Go?  Yes, this guy knows what he’s doing.  He’ll be moving into bigger space eventually for sure, with higher prices, so go soon.

We took a very important food-obsessed New York couple to lunch here Saturday because Garance doesn't answer their phone - and all we're most pleased. Why it hasn't gotten the acclaim it deserves, I am baffled by (I think that's unSafire-ish but...) We had great winter veggies (hot), incredible pintades and veal and desserts (which Colette was not enthusiastic about) and fab cheese. With 2 bottles of wine and coffee and no bottled water the bill = 190 E/4.

John Talbott

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