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Ronaldoebt

Three Stars to Lunch in Paris...

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Hi guys, i will be in Paris between 17/01--27/01. I can just go in one 3 stars...To lunch! But i don´t know which one to choose...!

I was Thinking in Astrance (Pascal Barbot), Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Guy Savoy...

Do you guys have any indication for me ??

Really Thanks !!!


Rio de Janeiro,Brasil.

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The higher end the restaurant, the more different they are from one another -- that's what a three star restaurant is: unique. So apart from the mere possibility to get a table (might be an issue for l'Astrance in particular), the day you want to go and your budget, the way you chose is by specifying what you like and what you expect and what your tastes are.

To check prices and opening days, see www.viamichelin.com

Of course, I could also point out that some two star restaurant are worth three (le Cinq) and some three star restaurants are not worth it (Ducasse).

L'Arpège, l'Ambroisie and Pierre Gagnaire are the best in town if you judge a restaurant by the best food it can deliver. They're all gambles, as meals are not always good but always very expensive. However, they are unforgettable when they are good. Of the three, Gagnaire is a safer bet because it is still special even when it is bad. Arpège has a minimalistic, vegetable and long cooking oriented cuisine with an almost casual room for a three stars. L'Ambroisie has a godly perfection approach to cooking, and is an austere place.

Ledoyen is almost as good as l'Ambroisie when it comes to perfect ingredients and perfect cooking. It is also spectacularly located. But it's an old house with a tired service. Great lunch deal at 88€, but be careful with water, they charge fortunes for it.

L'Astrance is the contemporary restaurant of the lot, with a charming approach, very virtuoso cooking.

Savoy is wonderful for the show it sets up, the overall experience. Food is good not great, barely two star levels. But an incredible party that makes you feel special.

You can find pictures of many of them on my phot gallery -- picasweb.google.fr/zejulot and quite a few blog posts at www.julotlespinceaux.com


Edited by julot-les-pinceaux (log)

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Of those mentioned, I have only been to Astrance. There doesn't seem to be any bargain at lunch, but you can get the same meal that one might have at dinner.

Pictures from our meal are here with comments on the courses. My overall comments are over in the L'Astrance thread.


True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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I was in Paris for Thanksgiving, and I had a wonderful lunch at L'Ambroisie. Weekdays are usually a good time to try and snag a reservation: I called the day before and was able to get a table. It was expensive, but the meal was unforgettable.

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Really Thanks for the replys guys!

I am between L´Anstrance and Pierre Gagnaire... I am tending go to Pierre, because i have already eaten Pascal food... He made a dinner here im Rio de Janiero in Claude Troigros Restaurant... It was perfect! KD1191, i ate the Raw Foie marinated in Lemon and the LemonGrass/Pepper sorbet!

julot-les-pinceaux, i will lunch on friday... Is a good day ?

l'Ambroisie seems to be a wonderfull place, but i read that they do not have a degustation menu...

Can you guys give me more information about Pierre ?


Rio de Janeiro,Brasil.

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My choice would be between L'Ambroisie and Le Bristol, which now has 3 Michelin stars. L'Ambroisie is excellent but cool and austere if you're not known. Wine list is weak compared to Le Bristol. Service and welcome at Le Bristol are first class and the oval winter dining room is beautiful.

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I have read in the internet a lot of good and bad comments about Pierre G. What is the consistent of the food they serve there ? Because going in to a 3 Stars in a Bad day is like a tragedy...! L'Astrance win points serving the same food at dinner/lunch... so i don´t know what to do!


Rio de Janeiro,Brasil.

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Julot, to say that Ducasse does not deserve three stars might be a little harsh. You might not like the approach of it, or the fact that it is part of a group, or even the fact that the food revolves around some more or less beaten tracks, but what is on the plate is without doubt perfect in every sense. WIth the great room and service, this is without doubt a very fine three star.

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I am a bit confused know, because i have read in Astrance topic that in the lunch i can just eat the 3 dishes menu (Menu Dejeunerr) Is this right ? And the prices for lunch/dinner are the same ? Because if they are i prefer going on Gagnaire to lunch and dining in Pascal... I try to find the restaurant's e-mail but i had no success...

Thanks!


Rio de Janeiro,Brasil.

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I am a bit confused know, because i have read in Astrance topic that in the lunch i can just eat the 3 dishes menu (Menu Dejeunerr) Is this right ? And the prices for lunch/dinner are the same ? Because if they are i prefer going on Gagnaire to lunch and dining in Pascal... I try to find the restaurant's e-mail but i had no success...

Thanks!

Unless they've changed it recently, you can have 3, 5 or 7 courses for lunch at Astrance. My understanding is that the "menu" (the number of courses you may select, there is no actual menu) and prices are the same for lunch or dinner.


True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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Thanks KD ! Since there is no diference between lunch/dinner i will call tomorow to L Astrance to try a diner reservation there...

But for lunch i am now in doubt between Alain Passard an Pierre G.

I really apreciate the syle from Alain...taking a ingredient to it´s best. Pierre´s foods seesms to be a litle complicated, with a lot os elements... And i am reading a lot o bad reviews from it...

What do you guys think ??


Rio de Janeiro,Brasil.

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Julot, to say that Ducasse does not deserve three stars might be a little harsh. You might not like the approach of it, or the fact that it is part of a group, or even the fact that the food revolves around some more or less beaten tracks, but what is on the plate is without doubt perfect in every sense. WIth the great room and service, this is without doubt a very fine three star.

Flawless it is sometimes -- but perfect is in my experience an extreme overstatement to describe Ducasse at the plaza. In fact, food I has there was always far from perfect, except in the sense that it was perfectly luxurious. Cooking, seasoning, were more pretentious than successful -- a treat of many in the Ducasse school, Piège chief among them. In fact, the strength of the establishment today is to deliver on luxury. But by no standard on truly great food.

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Possibly, but since Moret has come there, the style has changed, for the better as far as I can tell. He started introducing more citrus fruits into dishes, using less posh cuts of meat, and doing dishes that just deliver in terms of stunning product quality, and all that needs to be there.

It is quite bizarre, because a number of chefs all say that the restaurant, that continuously wows them is this place, whilst lots of bloggers seem to despise anything remotely attached to Ducasse.

I don't see why luxury is a problem, at least if you are to pay such prices. After all, if you're paying 70+ euro for a starter, you might at least expect to get more than a beetroot (depending on where you are obviously).

I don't know what is pretentious about perfect ingredients, perfectly conceived, executed and presented dishes, great services (more relaxed than in any other high-end place in Paris I've been to) and a great room. Although, the latter is obviously very posh, but so are the others.

I can't figure out what pretentious seasoning means, so if you can explain that, it would be great.

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Julien, I have read your posts with great interest and enjoyment over the years. It seems that you consistently praise Robuchon and his restaurants in Paris but, you are not at all shy about your disdain for M. Ducasse. Why?

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But for lunch i am now in doubt between Alain Passard an Pierre G.

What do you guys think ??

I would go to l'Arpege.

Unless Gagnaire happened to be in the kitchen (and ideally cooking for me :P ), I would find it difficult to even consider visiting one of his restaurants. (Not necessarily intended as a criticism of his chefs, it is just that I believe completely that the meal would be better were he there).

P.S. I have never had a great meal at a Ducasse or Robuchon restaurant (or one run by a former pupil of either).


Food Snob

foodsnob@hotmail.co.uk

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Julien, I have read your posts with great interest and enjoyment over the years. It seems that you consistently praise Robuchon and his restaurants in Paris but, you are not at all shy about your disdain for M. Ducasse. Why?

Because I never had very good food at any Ducasse outpost, let alone any culinary emotion, despite countless tries, and I often had very excellent food, if never life-changing, in the Robuchon joints. The way I see it, there is a profound difference of philosophy despite the apparent similarities, with Ducasse focused on industrialisation of a luxury industry and Robuchon focused on the (painful) transmission of know-hows. For instance the Robuchon places, with their respective strengths and weaknesses, and despite the apparent uniformisation, all have strong individual identities determined by the chef who run them. Even if it is basically the same recipe, food at l'Atelier and La Table (in Paris) for example are very different, because Lecerf and Braun are very different chefs from Alès -- I explained that a lot on this and other boards.

Felix, I would disagree with the term "perfect" applied to what can be had at the Plaza. The quality of what is served there palishes in comparison to what is served at, say, l'Ami Louis.

With the admittedly unclear phrase "pretentious cooking and seasoning", I meant techniques that are more geared towards demonstrating their refinement and exclusivity than determined by the best possible taste.

Now, there is nothing wrong with luxury. All I was saying is that this is where Ducasse delivers with excellence, the whole "making you feel rich" part of very high end dining. I just question the idea that the food at Ducasse is anywhere near the best in its style, which is why I don't think the three stars are deserved in Paris. (No opinion on Monaco, never been).

Food Snob, I would disagree with you about Gagnaire being present: the best meals I had at Gagnaire was he was not in, and the worst ones when he was in. Actually, I think your comment would apply more to l'Arpège and Passard. As I said at the beginning, I think both places, along with l'Ambroisie, are gambles, where absolutely stellar, unforgettable, life-changing meals can be had, but where the statistical probability tends more toward mediocrity unless you're a friend of the house (and even then...).


Edited by julot-les-pinceaux (log)

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Agree on the choice between Gagnaire or Arpege. Gagnaire was amazing with the number of dishes that got sent out and the quality of each dish. Sure, there were some (near) misses but overall amazing. Playful, whimsical and a lot of fun. If you are there be sure to order the Grand Desserts of the a la carte menu!

Arpege was extraodinary. I just got goosebumps thinking about it. I know some people think it's a rip off but I disagree. Each dish was in the 9.5-9.9 level. The egg may well have been perfect. The food was better (but not by much) than Gagnaire although the service wasn't quite as good. The epitome of using fresh seasonal produce. Extraordinary.

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I can see why you might not like Ducasse that much Julien, but to put the job of Christophe MOret's brigade on the same level as what is served at Ami Louis goes a little too far, to be even remotely close to a somewhat objective appreciation of the food.

In terms of techniques you would be surprised how straightforward the kitchen there runs. Few are the restaurants using as little sous vide, texturas, or other gimmicky things as ADPA. Everything (except for example something like a tendron) is cooked in the old school way. To say that roasting a sea bass and serving it with citrus fruit and oronges (no mistake, it's a kind of mushroom also called amanite des cesars) is not really making you feel rich. UNless you know what mushrooms you are eating, which 95% of the guests there don't, as goes with a number of other dishes. But even there, it is not anymore pretentious than, say Ledoyen, or all of the other grand restaurants.

In the end these discussions will always stay where they are, as some will continue to loathe this cooking, whilst others, if they seem to be a minority in this forum, will still love that food.

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Julien, it's funny how different our own experiences have been.

As mentioned, I have had the most amazing meals at Gagnaire's restaurants when he has been present and forgettable ones whilst he was absent.

Conversely, at l'Arpège, I have had just two relatively disappointing meals (not necessarily bad, but just below average) – both of which when Passard was in...although my best meals were cooked by him of course.

‘My’ average here has been tremendous - and that's why I return.

That said, I have a friend who feels the opposite = it is always better when Passard is home. (this may be a psychological issue though :P)

Regarding service, I have had different experiences this time to Roosterchef21.

I was actually a little uncomfortable at Gagnaire's.

On the hand, I love the staff and service at l'Arpège (I may be biased...). I think Hélène is the best maître(sse) d'hôtel that I have seen, although she probably has the hardest job to do!

However, I concede that whilst I find it friendly, easy and intimate, others may think it less polished compared to say l'Ambroisie.

Regarding price, I have felt neither overly expensive. I have paid all sorts of prices at l'Arpège, but always thought, whatever the cost, they always made sure it was value for money.


Food Snob

foodsnob@hotmail.co.uk

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Hey Guys! I made a sucessful reservation at L´Arpege(lunch) and Astrance(dinner) !!

I was reading that the wine list from L`Arpege is overpriced. How much a regular Champagne Botle costs there ? And the wine glass ?


Rio de Janeiro,Brasil.

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The wine list is expensive.

I cannot recall the price of a bottle of champagne, but by the glass it runs from E30-40.

I believe wine by the glass is more like E20-25.


Food Snob

foodsnob@hotmail.co.uk

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Julien, it's funny how different our own experiences have been.

As mentioned, I have had the most amazing meals at Gagnaire's restaurants when he has been present and forgettable ones whilst he was absent.

Conversely, at l'Arpège, I have had just two relatively disappointing meals (not necessarily bad, but just below average) – both of which when Passard was in...although my best meals were cooked by him of course.

‘My’ average here has been tremendous - and that's why I return.

That said, I have a friend who feels the opposite = it is always better when Passard is home. (this may be a psychological issue though :P)

Regarding service, I have had different experiences this time to Roosterchef21.

I was actually a little uncomfortable at Gagnaire's.

On the hand, I love the staff and service at l'Arpège (I may be biased...). I think Hélène is the best maître(sse) d'hôtel that I have seen, although she probably has the hardest job to do!

However, I concede that whilst I find it friendly, easy and intimate, others may think it less polished compared to say l'Ambroisie.

Regarding price, I have felt neither overly expensive. I have paid all sorts of prices at l'Arpège, but always thought, whatever the cost, they always made sure it was value for money.

Firstly, Ronaldoebt I am insanely jealous that you are going to Arpege. It is by far my favourite restaurant atm.

Actually, now that you mention it, Gagnaire did make me feel a little uncomfortable as well at times. Not by much though. There were a couple of waitstaff that were a bit... touchy... Younger guys though. I agree about Helene being an amazing maitre'd. She seems so comfortable yet switched on. And she genuinely seems to enjoy her job. Sometimes in this industry that can be hard to find. My favourite waiter/waitress was one of the guys from Ledoyen. Not the older guy, there is another one. He had shorter hair as I recall, seemed to be fairly high up in the rankings there (may well have being second in charge actually) with slightly squinty/narrow eyes. Quite pale skin, definitely French but could speak fluent English and seemed to want to work for the customer. Not sure if anyone knows the one I am talking about.

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Re: Ledoyen waiter.

I think I see who you're talking about. Well, maybe. Do you know if he worked at Le Cinq circa Legendre before?

He was very helpful and really passionate.

I really loved the service at l'Arpège, but maybe it was too much a well-oiled machine, with the same jokes being told to - apparently - every other tables, etc.

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