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L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon


John Whiting
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Readers of English may want to visit Gayot.com to read the complete article.

Bux, I just went to Gayot.com to see if I could pick up news for the Paris Digest and it struck me the the news was very old. Do you know how often they post it? Thanks.

No, I don't. I'm not a regular user of the site. It doesn't look as if there's anything been posted in June. If there has, I couldn't find it. They have a list of Hot 10 Restaurants. I don't think it coincides with Fresh_a's list. :biggrin:

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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  • 2 weeks later...

You can reserve for lunch at 11:30 and dinner at 18:30. The menus are the same. They do offer a Menu Degustation for about 90 euros. If you choose not to take that then by all means do order their most important dishes. They are the egg, the lamb chops with the puree, and the souffle.

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  • 4 weeks later...

So my friends and I ate at AJR on July6th. We went to dinner early but were only able to get the table that faces away from the open kitchen/counter seating. To wait to sit at the counter was another hour and 1/2.

We started with glasses of champagne and started pouring over the menu. Let me just say that the interior design, decor and place settings are fantastic. However our service SUCKED! It was really bad. And 90% of the diners in the restaurant were English/American. Hmmmm...I think the Parisians know something we don't.

Well we weren't impressed. The food portions were amazingly small, much small than a tasting portion or even a tapas portion! The menu is way overpriced for the the serving size. The food was very good but it's just not worth it. You can get the same wonderful cuisine at a number of Paris' best for better prices and service.

I'm glad we tried it but we won't be back. It really seems a tourist destination, not that that is always bad but when the locals are dining there you know it's for a reason!

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So my friends and I ate at AJR on July6th. We went to dinner early but were only able to get the table that faces away from the open kitchen/counter seating. To wait to sit at the counter was another hour and 1/2.

. And 90% of the diners in the restaurant were English/American. Hmmmm...I think the Parisians know something we don't.

Don't forget that if you went before 8 or 8.30pm, chances are it will always be all tourists. In the restaurant where I worked in Paris, we had two seatings: those who arrived between 7-8pm were almost 100% tourists, then at 8:30-9:00pm it was mostly French. So, if you were there early that could explain why it was only Americans and British, perhaps the French arrive later.

Edited by Felice (log)

www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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John Whiting, you are bad! We had no wait at 10pm last summer. The Israeli diamond merchant with his trophy wife and 6-year old son (who he kept calling "the kid") sitting next to us must have ordered 25 dishes...we loved the ris de veau, lamb chops w/pureed potatoes, and the chartreuse souffle, though our budget limited us to about 3 little plates, desserts and wine by the glass.

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  • 10 months later...

I promised to post the details of our lunch at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon. This was the one place where I kept a piece of paper and pen in my lap to scribble notes, as I knew there was no way I'd remember the names and details of 10 courses.

We dressed up a bit and took a cab there, arriving just after noon on Saturday, June 11. Expecting to wait, I was surprised to find the restaurant only half-full and most people dressed much more casually than we were. Oh well, I'd much rather be overdressed than underdressed! We hopped onto our bartstools and settled in for quite an afternoon. There are no tables here, just 2 rooms with a big bar and high stools to sit on, much like a sushi bar. The kitchen is open for all to see. Very Asian in decor, with lots of black and red.

Here is the Menu Decouverte we experienced:

1. L'Amuse Bouche -- gazpacho. But unlike any gazpacho we'd had. It was pureed, smooth, not too spicy-hot (good thing, as Glenn is a wimp), creamy, with little buttery crouton floating on top. We loved it...got us very excited about what was to come.

2. Le Tourteau -- THE dish of the meal. It looks like avocado soup with blanched almonds floating on top. But it's thicker than soup, totally silky and creamy and there is a surprise creamy crab concotion underneath. The textures and flavors are to die for. I don't think I saw Glenn's eyes light up over a food all week like it did when he tasted this. And for me, this was very much another "this makes me want to sing!" moment. WOW. There were little drops of chile oil floating between the almonds, and my chile-phobic husband ate it all up and said those chile droplets "balanced the dish" and I about fell off my barstool. :) We wanted to skip all the courses and have 8 more of this. Really amazing. Go here just for this if you have to. Seriously. (They do serve everything a la carte as well.)

3. Les Palurdes -- 3 little clams, served hot in open shells on a bed of rock salt. Much like traditional escargots -- a garlic-butter-parsley sauce with very finely minced mushrooms. Quite lovely.

4. Le Volaille -- a deep-fried chicken wing drummette with the bone whittled down to a twig. And the meat part was so round and plump and juicy. Because of the odd shape, we couldn't figure out what kind of bird we were eating, so we asked. (The staff was so friendly and gracious to us.) Served with a sweet-and-sour sauce on a razor-thin slice of pineapple. Nice.

5. La Morue -- a cube of codfish, draped in a wonton, with a beautiful herb leaf peeking through. Art on a place. This artful cube was set in a light broth, with parsley oil and veggies floating about. Very very delicate flavors; in contrast to the first 4 dishes, it seemed a bit bland. But in saying that, the bland flavors were really fresh, odd as that sounds. I think this dish served to cleanse the palate for what was to come.

6. L'Oeuf -- Another WOW for me. Served in a martini glass, the top layer was some kind of froth/foam with sauteed girolles floating in it. Dig deeper, and you break into a warm egg in butter. Dig even deeper, and there is a parsley puree. Scoop a bit of all the layers into your mouth at once and die happy. I was really tempted to ask for another one of these. Another "I need to sing" dish! Glenn liked it, but he was still wanting more of #2. :)

7a. Glenn's meat choice -- L'Agneau de Lait -- 2 little lamb choplettes with a smidge of their buttery mashed potatoes. He was happy. I had a taste of the lamb and it was pretty good.

7b. My meat choice -- Le Ris de Veau -- my biggest food adventure of the trip....sweetbreads! I was impressed. Delicate flavor, texture just fine. Not sure I'll order them again, but I'm glad I tried them; enjoyed them enough and ate the whole little mound.

8. La Framboise -- 1st dessert...fresh raspberries in a thin sauce with lychee and vanilla, with both grapefruilt and raspberry sorbets. A paper-thin lemon-lime tuile cookie on top with a twig of chocolate. Another artistic presentation, bursting with flavor. I loved the combo of grapefruit and rapsberry. Glenn thought they competed too much (since they are 2 of his favorite flavors, and he's a simple guy, he would have preferred to have them separately). This dish dfeinitely cleansed the palate for the intensity of the next dessert which was...

9. Le Chocolat Sensation -- one of the top dishes of the entire week. A large serving of a layered masterpiece. Dark chocolate on the bottom -- really thick and smoooth, almost like a fondant, layered with chocolate cookie crumbs, with white chocolate ice cream and a milk chocolate mousse layered on top. This chocoholic was swooning.

10. Our surprise gift from the restaurant. I'd whispered to the hostess that we were celebrating our 20th anniversary (why not milk the occasion all week if we can?!), and I asked if they could put a candle in my husband's dessert. When that didn't happen, I wasn't disappointed. The meal had been so fabulous, and the restaurant had gotten busy, so I figured they had more important things to do. The next thing I know, the staff has all turned toward us, singing "Joyeux Anniversaire" and one of the many servers was coming to us with a lovely platter that had a small cake/tarte with a candle on it and "Joyeux Anniversaire" written in chocolate sauce on the platter. I am still kicking myself that I didn't ask him to wait a minute so we could take a picture. He said he'd be right back with some slices for us. We were presented with little plates with 2 wedges of this wonderful dark chocolate-caramel-nut tarte, with squiggles of chocolate sauce. I was already so full, but had to eat every molecule, of course. It was heaven, and just so kind of them to give us something extra, and to make another memory for our already amazing week.

We did manage to have coffee and the couple of little treats that came with it (which I failed to write down what they were). We rolled out of there a bit after 3 p.m. totally thrilled with our experience. So glad I'd read the review in the NY Times that said a 98e lunch could really be worth it. It was.

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L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon has many critics as well as fans. I am among its fans. For sure it's not the three star dining experience, nor may it quite match the very best of what's served in the multistarred restaurants of Paris, but I found the tasting menu thrilling and it allows a diner to focus his expense on the food, rather than on service, decor or ambience, not that I found anything wrong with any of those. It's just not the pampering one might get elsewhere with that kind of food at twice the price or more.

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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  • 1 month later...
I promised to post the details of our lunch at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon. This was the one place where I kept a piece of paper and pen in my lap to scribble notes, as I knew there was no way I'd remember the names and details of 10 courses.

We dressed up a bit and took a cab there, arriving just after noon on Saturday, June 11. Expecting to wait, I was surprised to find the restaurant only half-full and most people dressed much more casually than we were. Oh well, I'd much rather be overdressed than underdressed! We hopped onto our bartstools and settled in for quite an afternoon. There are no tables here, just 2 rooms with a big bar and high stools to sit on, much like a sushi bar. The kitchen is open for all to see. Very Asian in decor, with lots of black and red.

Here is the Menu Decouverte we experienced:

1. L'Amuse Bouche -- gazpacho. But unlike any gazpacho we'd had. It was pureed, smooth, not too spicy-hot (good thing, as Glenn is a wimp), creamy, with little buttery crouton floating on top. We loved it...got us very excited about what was to come.

We did manage to have coffee and the couple of little treats that came with it (which I failed to write down what they were). We rolled out of there a bit after 3 p.m. totally thrilled with our experience. So glad I'd read the review in the NY Times that said a 98e lunch could really be worth it. It was.

Just found this.

Thanks so much for posting this, it has just brought the memories back of yesterdays meal, which despite the circumstances was fantastic

The circumstances were that it was sunday morning of a stag do, who's drinking had started at 10am on Friday morning on the Euro star and finished (bar a few hours sleep) at 6am on sunday morning.

I've wanted to go to this restaurant for so long so when i found out the stag do was going to Paris i knew i had to try the opportunity to sneak away from the group and indulge my foodie needs.

At noon with the lads sat outside a cafe trying to piece together the previous night I told them I had something i needed to do (none of the others had the desire to spend €100+ on their lunch)

On arrival i was delighted to find it was actually open (as it was August) and only half full.

I took a seat with a great view of the kitchen and after drinking two oringina in 60 seconds followed my a litre of water set about the tasting menu.

It was great, I had the same menu as you mentioned but I went for the lamb.

The staff were very friendly for someone sat on their own and realised I was in much pain.

After the mushroom martini glass foam course I thought there was a very real chance that I was going to die but eventually I finished the meal and with the help of an lovely glass of white then red I left the restaurant believing everything in the world might just be OK.

I met up with the rest of the chaps at the eurostar lounge at Garde Norde to find them taking full advatage of the free beer.

As we pulled away from the station I had a big smile on my face at the treat I'd enjoyed, that and I'd helped myself to a few of the free stellas (there was no way i was getting on that train sober)

I'd highly recommend it

Edited by Jamsie (log)
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Jamsie,

Since you ate this meal more recently than I did, can you tell me everything you remember about the avocado-crab concoction? I want to try to re-create it for my husband's birthday next month. Do you remember if there was lemon or lime in either of both of the layers? Anything you can tell me would be great.

Thanks...and glad you enjoyed the meal, too! It continues to be a wonderful memory for us.

Nina

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Jamsie,

Since you ate this meal more recently than I did, can you tell me everything you remember about the avocado-crab concoction? I want to try to re-create it for my husband's birthday next month. Do you remember if there was lemon or lime in either of both of the layers? Anything you can tell me would be great.

Thanks...and glad you enjoyed the meal, too! It continues to be a wonderful memory for us.

Nina

I've absolutely no idea how they made it so amazingly green, only the 1/2cm between the flesh and the skin in an avocado is that green, it was such a stange and brilliant dish, the top layer was definitely "set" kind of like a mousse and there seemed to be a hint of lime in the crab but then to be fair the avocado could have had it too, i think that would be the only way of keeping the avocado from turning in contact with air.

Good luck recreating it though, it's probably the toughest one to recreate off that menu and you're far braver than I.

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I've absolutely no idea how they made it so amazingly green,  . . . .

I would not accuse of them of using food coloring, but I would not rule it out either.

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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I've absolutely no idea how they made it so amazingly green,  . . . .

I would not accuse of them of using food coloring, but I would not rule it out either.

yeah the thought did occur to me but i would hope at that level they wouldn't be stooping to that

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Jamsie,

Glenn and I remember the avocado layer being really thick, like a very thick, smooth pea soup. But I didn't think it was set like a mousse. However, that makes some sense, esp. with how creamy it was, if they used cream, they'd need to use gelatin or something to make it that thick. Hmm...

I've posted an appeal for cold avocado soup recipes in the cooking section. Hoping to get some ideas to springboard from.

Thanks again,

Nina

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I ate at the "Table" last November, and loved it. As far as I know, the food is largely the same as at Atelier, but eaten at a more comfortable table, which you have reserved beforehand. After a life changing meal at Jamin about 20 years ago, I stayed away as Robouchon's places became fancier. I wasn't ready to mess with the memory. Now the rules have changed, and Robouchon rules.

The Atelier and Table reflect a chef who has changed (in what I find to be all the best ways) as the world has changed. Certain luxurious excesses are no longer imaginable, but artistry and inventiveness have triumphed. The simple things, such as the potato puree and a spectacular cheese course, are done at the highest level. The Spanish influence is a breath of fresh air. The aesthetic position is not in your face (like El Bulli, Commerc 24 in Barcelona, or my favorite NYC hometown restaurant, WD-50). This is a quiet restaurant, in a quiet, wealthy neighborhood. The staff buys into the concept, and it would be hard to walk away less than excited.

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I've absolutely no idea how they made it so amazingly green,  . . . .

I would not accuse of them of using food coloring, but I would not rule it out either.

yeah the thought did occur to me but i would hope at that level they wouldn't be stooping to that

I've said things like that and cooks I know who have worked in French (Michelin) three star restaurants and NY (Times) four star restaurants just roll their eyes when I do.

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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I've absolutely no idea how they made it so amazingly green,  . . . .

I would not accuse of them of using food coloring, but I would not rule it out either.

yeah the thought did occur to me but i would hope at that level they wouldn't be stooping to that

could be parsley juice.

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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  • 11 months later...

Just incase eGullet members in the France forum didn't know, Joel Robuchon's latest venture has opened in NYC...

Here's an article in today's NY Times (registration required)

New York: Joël Robuchon Strides In

It will be interesting to hear how it compares to his restaurant in Paris.

Edited to add: Discussion in the New York Forum

Edited by Felice (log)

www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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As a New Yorker who's been to L'Atelier in Paris twice (the second time just this past weekend for lunch) I'm both thrilled and skeptical about the New York restaurant although I think it's a good sign that Robuchon is in NY at least for a little while, and that members of his team there have worked with him for years. Don't mean to be pessimistic, I just question whether standards can be kept high in this age of restaurant globalization.

My recent L'Atelier Paris visit was excellent, just as good as my last two years ago. My server guided me well in making a selection but instead of his recommended 5-6 small dishes I stuck with 4 and still couldn't finish it all - but I was glad to have a variety of things to taste: the pied de cochon sur une tartine was a rich, beautiful dice studded with pearls of fat, so garlicky and salty; oeuf cocotte with chanterelles and creme de persil was creamy and divine. Loved la langoustine en papillote, a tender morsel of langoustine tucked inside a delicate crust with basil, yum. L'agneau de lait and Robuchon's signature pommes puree were fantastic. Wanted chartreuse souffle but couldn't do it, had to go back to hotel for a nap. Hope NY is just as good, am looking forward to braving the crowds to get a seat. It's the most exciting NY restaurant opening in recent memory.

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Hope NY is just as good, am looking forward to braving the crowds to get a seat.  It's the most exciting NY restaurant opening in recent memory.

Daisy, please let us know how it compares when you go...

www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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The food portions were amazingly small, much small than a tasting portion or even a tapas portion! The menu is way overpriced for the the serving size
I stuck with 4 and still couldn't finish it all -

I don't get it??? Difference in expectations? Different nights?

Guess I'll just have to find out for myself.

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I stuck with 4 and still couldn't finish it all -

I don't get it??? Difference in expectations? Different nights?

Guess I'll just have to find out for myself.

I was there alone, for lunch, and hadn't been planning on eating a big lunch but decided on a whim to go to L'Atelier. I'm not saying that the food was inexpensive - with a glass of wine I spent about 80 euros on lunch - but the quality of the food was absolutely excellent and the amount of the check didn't bother me. (In comparison to London, where I've been for two weeks, it was almost a good deal. Food in London is astoundingly expensive.) I'd say portion size depended on what you ordered. The pied de cochon was a generous portion, the langoustine was not.

Both times I've been there I've met people from a variety of places, definitely more americans/japanese than french, but I chatted with a french couple this time. It wouldn't surprise me if fewer parisians went there; it seems like sort of destination dining to me. The restaurant was not full from about 12:30 to 2, but I chalked that up to it being August. I always thought people were kidding when they said everyone left for the month. There were four people in Paris this weekend, and I was one of them. Happily so.

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