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snoopy64

Taillevent vs. Grand Vefour

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I've known my share of women who had no interest in men without principle.

And I've known debtors who had neither the principle to pay the interest nor the interest to pay the principal.

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And in my elementary school days, I knew a principal without principles...

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The food at ADNY most closely resembles that of Le Cinq (IMHO) - very good but no fireworks. At ADNY I couldn't afford the wine (like Sketch) but they had the hotel wine list ready just in case (unlike Sketch - no alternative).

Gagnaire is pure fireworks & theatre - so don't be put off if a first time experience - just sit back & enjoy the show (also - don't eat the bread - you'll be full 1/2 way through the meal).

As for Grand V & Tallevent - I'm going to both this week :biggrin: - dinner at T & lunch a GF. First time for both. I've also booked lunch at Gagnaire but I'm not sure even I can handle 3 3-stars in one week so I may cancel.

btw - Astrance is the unbookable place just now - I got in everywhere else without trouble (mind you i did book a month ago)

So - to come back to the question of the thread - I'll happily answer you next week :wink:

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Taillevent will cocoon you in its graceful reception

and service. The cuisine will be very good.

Le Grand Vefour is a grand experience. The room

is exquisite. The service polished and enthusiastic.

The food is far more interesting than Taillevent's

and the plate presentations are sensual. You will

drop a bundle here...but have a memorable experience.

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I will be dining at Taillevent and a few others in early April... I find all the information posted in this thread to be useful and I will post my thoughts when I return... Thanks for the info!

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I will be dining at Taillevent in April and have read that the restaurant has two separate dining rooms. From what I understand, one room is wood paneled and has square tables and banquettes while the other has round tables and armchairs. Can anyone who has dined there comment on the ambiance in one room versus the other.

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I will be dining at Taillevent in April and have read that the restaurant has two separate dining rooms. From what I understand, one room is wood paneled and has square tables and banquettes while the other has round tables and armchairs. Can anyone who has dined there comment on the ambiance in one room versus the other.

I've eaten in the wood paneled room which I thought was very nice. I think most foreigners were in this room.

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When you enter the restaurant there is a long hall where you are greeted and outerwear is taken from you. You then approach a desk where there is usually a hostess and depending on how crowded they are M. Vrinat greets customers. You then enter medium sized room with 2 story ceiling and a sweeping spiral staircase. This is the room with the round tables and armchairs. My description of the room would be a more feminine decor, chintz etc. On the right as you enter is the entrance to the wood paneled room with square tables and banquettes. Again without being sexist I would say that this room has a more masculine clubby feel than the first room. Because of the location of the main waiters station I prefer the paneled room as you can see more of the action of the service (wine decanting, plating dishes etc.). But in the final analysis I have had lovely meals and great service in both rooms.

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This thread, which started out as a "head scratcher", ie, "is this question answerable?", has been IMHO one of the most interesting and revealing of our many 3-star threads, pointing to the factors that make up a single 3-star experience, as well as the variety among different dining rooms. I don't think enough diners really ask themselves, "What do I want and/or expect from this experience?", the answer to which should dictate the reservation.

Margeret made a very good point here. Which restaurant you pick should depend entirely on what exactly do you want with the experience. I doubt that people who’ve never been to a three-star place before would be able to tell a difference between the quality of the food chez Gagnaire or, say, L’Arpège. I’m not trying to be a snob here (though it tends to come out anyway), I am just stating my opinion.

So, you should ask yourself what you want exactly.

The kind of three star experience with all the pomp and circumstances?

(One of your original choice, Le Grand Véfour with the fantastic room will be great for this. In fact, I think that room was a star in one of the scenes in the latest Merchant/Ivory’s project Le Divorce.)

A fantastic setting that screams, Only in Paris?

(For this you cannot beat La Tour d’Argent, with the fantastic and expansive view of the river and the Notre-Dame.)

An understated elegance that focuses on the purity of ingredients and seasonality?

(My vote is for L’Arpège.)

A culinary joy ride, the likes of which you’ve never experience befre?

(Pierre Gagnaire, but of course.)

At any of these places, you will spend about the same amount of money, except perhaps at L’Arpège which is the most expensive normally.

At every three star restaurants I’ve been to, unless you act completely like If-it’s-Tuesday-it-must-be-Belgium type of tourists, you will be treated very well and with respect.

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Pim,

Can you please explain what you mean by your term 'If-it’s-Tuesday-it-must-be-Belgium- tourist"

As an Aussie making his first foray into 3 star territory next month (Taillevent & Lameloise), any advice appreciated. I am a cork dork and keen foodie, but will probably spend more time perusing teh wine list than the menu.

TIA,

Kenny

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I beleive hands down the best of the two is Grand Vefour. It is my favorite. Everytime I have been so impressed with the service, food, and the other diners. I have never been in there that there was another American. It is a littla loud, just because the food seems to bring that out. The smiles and lips are just too sexy from the food tasting that is done at the tables. I took my daughter that has worked for Spago's for 9 years. They made us feel so welcome and other diners were happy that we were there sharing a mutal joy. Guy Martin came out of the kitchen to meet us. When we left they had a copy of his cookbook waiting for me. My daughter still thinks it's the best restaurant ever. Taillevent is stuffy, the food is very good, the wait staff a little removed. Please try to sit in Victor Hugo's spot, you can see the garden and all the diners in the main (small) dining room. Lunch is also a wonderful experience, take four hours on a raining afternoon, then make love.

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You can do that in the Grand Vefour! Wow, it's changed since I last lunched there...

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Talievent, March 2004

My table was situated at the bottom of the staircase which although afforded me a reasonable view of what was going on in the room, there was way too much traffic at times – particularly as there was a party going on upstairs. There was a room next door but I was whisked past before I could get a good enough look.

Amuse – little plate of cheesy balls. I had two thinking there was so much more to be had – sadly no.

Anyway, I went for the tasting menu

1 – vegetable stew. They called is legumes maraiches mijotes – but it was really only place of admittedly beautifully cut vegetables. The nage had good truffly depth but my notes say “a bit ‘so what’”.

2nd dish arrives & I’ve been here less that 1/2 hour – I’m a bit worried that they’re turning tables which I don’t mind if they tell me before hand but I’m feeling a bit rushed. This was a plate of crawfish tails, gnocchi & sautéed artichokes – great sauce, very classical if a little underwhelming.

Next came scallops with braised chicory, chicory leaves & its flowers (I guess). Very good orange & lemon sauce to accompany. Fine, not great

At last – a dish truly worthy of this place – roast foie gras with fruits. The skin was perfectly caramelised with the softest fluffiest flesh inside & no trace of oil slick. This came with a beautifully arrange selection of roasted fruits & vegetables: grape; orange; apple; chestnut (not so good ); salsify & a few others I didn’t record. Very very good.

Then another great dish – brie de meaux (sp) which had be split in two and stuffed with a celery & walnut filling – served with salad of granny smith apples & celery shreds – the apple batons were arranged like a little fence. Superbly creamy brie with a great refreshing salad

Two desserts served together – passion fruit soufflé served in a passion fruit half shell – came with PF ice cream and PF syrup all arranged pleasingly – great ice cream & soufflé.

The other was a chocolate concoction not dissimilar to a mini NY Guggenheim – very dark thin chocolate disks with ½ moon removed from one side mounted in a tower with a deep satisfying chocolate mousse keeping the thing together. Three must have been about half dozen of these with each disk “bite” rotated slightly. Very pleasing. I had a glass of “maurie” to accompany this – pretty good.

Overall – I was fairly disappointed with this. The food just didn’t sparkle of excite until half way through he meal – and even then only marginally so. There was a lot of faffing around with the wine – passing it over a flame & so forth which seemed pretty pointless to me given it was just about the cheapest ½ bottle that wasn’t a Beaujolais that I could find. The location didn’t help although was I was the closest table to the kitchen & heard an awful lot of shouting when the doors were open – not a happy place, I thought.

A missable experience.

btw – this has the biggest napkins I’ve ever seen anyway – small tablecloths may be a better description.

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Grand Vefour March 2004

I had been looking forward this meal the whole trip & even though of cancelling a few others so I didn’t feel restricted budget wise.

The place is smaller than I expected but oh so beautifully formed. Its short walk from the Louvre through the wonderful palace gardens which I hope to return to when the leaves & flowers bloom. After spend a morning gazing at the raft of the medusa & its neighbouring painting I was in the perfect mood to be swept off my feet (having put the awful tailevent meal behind me).

When I got there Guy Martin was standing at the door greeting everyone. I was shown to my table & just sat there looking up the joyous understated ceiling.

The menu arrived as did the daily market menu – well – what the hell – lets go for it. Completely unable to decide the maitre’d kindly suggested splitting two starters.

Amuse – small cup of exquisite lobster bullion – deep rich with good burnt undertones; couple of lobster claw tips and a mouse of foie gras. Fabulous & varied.

Pre-starter of coco bean soup – quite a substantial plate of froth white soup covered in truffle flakes. In the soup were little cubes of delicious ham. Very good texture to the soup although I did note that the finish wasn’t particularly long – indeed – a wee bit lacking in taste.

First starter – half portion of lobster salad - which was today’s special. A large place wit some green salad leaves at one end and a lobster claw at the other accompanied with a couple of small pieces from the tail. All this was covered in truffle vinaigrette. The lobster tasted pretty good & the salad was fresh & crisp but I’ll be buggered if I could detect an single molecule of flavour or aroma from the truffle vinaigrette. There was no skimping on the truffles – but they were complete devoid of anything except colour. This was a simple dish depending on the freshness & quality if the ingredients - failed miserably to please me. (btw – this costs 90 euro full price – felling only slightly pleased that I was only paying half – but not that pleased)

Next was their signature dish: foie gras ravioli. A plate with three substantial ravioli was presented with the purest of white sauces and lots and lots of truffle bits. The truly wonderful thing about this was that the FG had not dissolved or in any way rendered into to oil but the cooking – that was impressive, What wasn’t was the complete lack of taste to any part of this dish – there was a little saltiness detectable to the FG but that was it – not the pasta, not the sauce & not the truffle. I didn’t not finish this which invoked raised eyebrows from the waiter when the plate was removed.

The main course was the lamb – I hadn’t had any yet on this trip & it sounded so inviting on the menu. ½ saddle of lamb encrusted with a delicate powder of nutmeg. Accompanied with 3 little chops (pure gristle) on a bed of green diced vegetables and little cubes of lambs kidney – great sauce to that part. There were a couple of green sauce dashes on the plate which looked great but I could eat as they had dried onto the plate – poor show. There was a side dish of aubergine caviar – pointless. OK but nothing a good home cook couldn’t produce.

By now I’m pretty hacked off with this place. They asked for my dessert choice up front but I said I’d rather choose later as don’t often make it that far. But I still fairly hungry at this stage. Anyway, menu arrives & all but one is chocolate based. The non chocolate is so extreme that I can’t help but choose it. Pierre G could pull this off – I am totally convinced this place can’t – so as a bit fat joke I order the artichoke brulee. And you just know its going to be really really bad. For once I was not disappointed – it was terrible! A slab of burlee: sautéed artichoke layer on the bottom with custard & brulee on top – I only managed a few mouthfuls of this. It was damp, clinging, clawing taste of left over vegetables and sweetened cream. Not even a hungry pig would eat this. To accompany this was candied vegetables – a small carrot was, in fact OK, but there was a celery jelly – to slimy to be believed and a green splodge of some substance a second tasting of which I hope I never have. The only saving part of this dish was a small helping of almond ice cream. A truly remarkable dish.

This place sucked – big time. It wasn’t even that I had raised it to such high levels that it couldn’t possibly meet expectations – the food was plain & simply bad. I know others on this board rate this pace very highly (which is partly why I came here) but on a Friday in march of 2004 – it was really fucking awful. I did something I haven’t done for a long time – I left without tipping.

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BLH, I'm kind of shocked that you had such bad experiences in two 3-stars, one of which I loved. I will be quite interested in anyplace you really enjoy on your trip.

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I went to Le Meurice (not the Maurice!) and Pierre Gagnaire- PG bieng as stunning and as wonderful as always. Le M was quite someting too (see post also on this thread).

Additionally - I also ate at the Benoit & Le Dome du Marais which i really enjoyed but as i had company I didn't take notes - and as I've been to benoit so often there's really very little different to report.

Looking back at my notes at Grand Vefour I found a very curious entry. On this trip I was trying to get through "The Dante Club" and mid way through the GF meal I got to page 106 of the book in which the quote from dante is "all hope abandon, ye who enter" - how appropriate (my note have three !'s - oh how i laughed at the time but i just know the amex bill will arrive soon :scared: )

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...shocked that you had such bad experiences in two 3-stars, one of which I loved.

btw - which is the one you love?

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I did something I haven’t done for a long time – I left without tipping.

I'll assume you're correct that the food sucked. But you didn't say that the service was bad. In my opinion - you don't punish the servers for the sins of the chef.

On the other hand - I would assume that service would be added in any restaurant in France - so are you talking about just not adding a little extra? Robyn

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Allow me to change the formula.  Would one expect a similar experience at a Parisian 2-3 star for dinner as one would recieve at ADNY?  That would really help my decision making process.

I've eaten at ADNY and 3 star restaurants in France. In all of these places - the service and atmosphere were impeccable. So it just comes down to what you like to eat. E.g., I could have the best steak in the world - and it wouldn't excite me as much as the best chocolate dessert in the world. Or the best dover sole with the best beurre blanc sauce. Or the best roasted Bresse chicken for that matter. In fact - the thing I liked best about ADNY was the dessert trolley. I'd kill to have that trolley at every restaurant I ate at :smile:.

On the other other - you may be a steak person - or a pork person. You may care more about wines than I do (they're not important to me). Different restaurants - not to mention different regions in different countries - are noted for different things. So read a bit about what particular restaurants or regions are known for - and pick ones that specialize in what you like to eat. Robyn

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...shocked that you had such bad experiences in two 3-stars, one of which I loved.

btw - which is the one you love?

Loved, in one visit: Grand Vefour. I don't know whether the fact that it's so far the only Michelin 3-star I've been to is relevant, but it might be.

I will say that my mother got that lobster salad, and it was good, but the lobster salad she got in our first visit to 1-star Michel Vignaud in Chablis was better. (Unfortunately, the 2nd time at Vignaud was a big disappointment.)

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I'll assume you're correct that the food sucked. But you didn't say that the service was bad. In my opinion - you don't punish the servers for the sins of the chef.

I've haven't yet found a way of tipping good service but withholding part payment for miserable food. I'll let them fight it out between them.

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I'll assume you're correct that the food sucked.  But you didn't say that the service was bad.  In my opinion - you don't punish the servers for the sins of the chef.

I've haven't yet found a way of tipping good service but withholding part payment for miserable food. I'll let them fight it out between them.

I have never worked as a server - but I don't think most restaurants give the servers anything extra over the pool of tips. And at least here in the United States - the server has imputed income of X% of gross sales for federal income tax purposes. So if you stiff a server in the United States - that person will have to pay taxes on income he or she didn't receive!

And - to ask the question I asked again - didn't the restaurant add something like 15-18% for service as part of the bill? Robyn

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In France, tax and service are included as part of the price of the dish as listed on the menu, so service is not added on at the end, but it is built in to the prices. I know of both locals and tavelers who leave nothing, those who leave two to five percent and those who leave more like ten percent at most restaurants.

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First let me say that I am not knocking waiters in the US and I tend to tip well when in the US if the service is reasonable, very good for good service and very poorly for bad service. Most do a great job and work hard, as many people do in many other industries, including jobs in food service with no tipping and very low wages (dish washers, fast food employees...) But I have heard this argument before that servers are paying the tax on the turnover whether they get the tip or not. And I do not buy this argument. Tipping should be based on the service (not the quality of the food) in my opinion. This includes the complete service of the restaurant from the cleanliness of bathrooms, to the waiter/waitress, to the speed in which the food is served. In other words, everything beyond the quality of the food is part of the service in my opinion. Taxes should not come into question, and if you feel they should then you should make the same arguement for tipping more than 15% which I and many others often do. You could say that tipping more than 15% contributes to tax evasaion because pretty much no waiter or waitress would even tell the IRS they got more tips than the estimate the IRS sets. In fact, my guess is that over the course of a year 99% of the service staff in the USA gets more in tips than the IRS estimates and in other words gets a tax break (if I am wrong let me know). I have no problem with this, but please do not use the tax argument when discussing how much you should tip.

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This includes the complete service of the restaurant from the cleanliness of bathrooms, to the waiter/waitress, to the speed in which the food is served. In other words, everything beyond the quality of the food is part of the service in my opinion.

I know this is off topic, but I have to comment on this :smile:

It's been a number of years since I was a server at a higher-end restaurant in a popular Florida golf resort (I'm not specifying how many years, but it's well into double digits :laugh: ) but I guarantee you that I did not have time to check the cleanliness of the bathrooms on an hourly basis. Tips for servers, in my opinion, should be based on things within the purview of the server. Complaints about the facility itself should be directed to management.

I waited tables before mandatory deductions were put into place, but for every lucrative dinner service, I worked a Sunday brunch where I often got Bible tracts in lieu of tips. I doubt that I averaged 15% overall.

:smile:

Jamie

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