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les elysees at hotel vernet


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Hi all,

Thank you for your suggestions last week about where to eat in Paris. I had a great time. The best meal I had though, was at Les Elysees at the Hotel Vernet. We ate early - 7.30 - because we had a train to catch. It has, I believe, 2 Michelin stars. The dining room was empty, predictably. But the service was fantastic and the meal, even more so.

My first course were white and green asparagus tips with a soft-poached egg (chef's suggestion) - classic, but gorgeous. The flavour of the white asparagus especially was beautiful. I then had lamb chops and beans in a tomato sauce, again very simple, and while my lamb was a little over-cooked, it was so good that I ended up unconsciously soaking up every bit of the sauce with bread. Finally, a peach melba, which was endearingly child-like, whoever had made it had obviously delighted in cream swirls and chocolate sauce all over the place, but the peaches again were allowed to shine through, in a very uncomplicated way. Everything about this restaurant was at once typically 'fancy' but the staff and chef all seemed to be serving their food with a simple, uncomplicated kind of enthuasiam, betraying themselves through homely or childish touches here and there. It was a fantastically lovely meal and I can't wait to go back.

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I read in another thread that Les Elyees lost both its stars due to the chef change. Is that common, that BOTH stars are taken away? The previous post has a very positive review, which is good to read. Does anyone who has eaten there before the chef change and also after have any comments?

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It's not that the restaurant has lost both stars, it's that the restaurant is now a different restaurant, that does not have any star. Captains and sommelier are the same, and indeed they are brilliant. The overall room is kind of the same, though it's been modernized and gentrified. I think the kitchen is run by a guy that Briffard left here, maybe not his souschef but the guy under. Those guys have been well trained and my meal at les Elysées post-Briffard, though it required some more fine tuning, was quite good, but it was nothing memorable. In particular, it was no match for the room, which is unique and special.

I would argue that les Elysées now is the opposite of a bistronomique, in a sense: a place that serves uncomplicated (if well made) food in a very luxurious setting with lots of space and a high-end service.

As to before/after, let me be clear: les Elysées under Briffard was one of the best restaurants I ever ate at -- it was better than le Cinq is right now (food wise at least) because 1/ Briffard supervised each plate himself and 2/ he was designing the pastry department as well. I don't think the current Elysées are anywhere near competition for the old Elysées, but it nevertheless is a pleasant, less expensive (but much less good value) place.

See some pictures of the three of them on my Picasa gallery -- picasaweb.google.com/zejulot

Edited by julot-les-pinceaux (log)
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