Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
snoopy64

Taillevent vs. Grand Vefour

Recommended Posts

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

no idea - i didn't look - just the awful total.

on the subject of tipping - in more down market places I will always tip well good service as I know the staff depend on it. However, for top end places i see absolutely no distinction between food and service - they are one in the same. after all, i've never returned to a place where i know the service is really really good but has bad food - but I'll put up with shit service for heavenliness on a plate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My husband and I ate at Taillevent 2 years ago. It was the most amazing dining experience ever. I can't say enough about M. Vrinat and his staff. The food was nothing short of a parade of masterpieces, the wine list and sommelier Nicolas are the best I've seen, the desserts......holy cow, don't get me started!

The service is so good that you feel like you know them by the time you leave. We not only have a menu from the restaurant in our kitchen but I emailed them to find out what the white burgandy may have been (a year later) as I couldn't remember. They had kept detailed notes of our dinner and told us exactly what we had!

Also as a side note there is a book out right now that you should absolutely read called "A Meal Observed". It happens to be about a meal at Taillevent but also discusses a lot of interesting things about food, cuisine, chefs, etc.

Also when I ate there Michael Del Brugo was the chef, is he still?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh and to blind lemon higgins the 'cheesy balls' you ate for your amuse where Gougres, I love them! They are a tradition at Taillevent and have been served for years. The candle/flame thing is also a very traditional way for a sommelier to smell/taste/serve wine. It helps them to clear their palate and make sure the wine is up to par. It actually speaks miles of the restaurant to do that even with a lesser priced wine.

Too bad you had such a bad table, that certainly sounds off putting. Were you dining alone? The side by side booths in the main room, surrounded by dark wood and beautiful original art (we sat across from the Miro) are really an experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

no idea - i didn't look - just the awful total.

on the subject of tipping - in more down market places I will always tip well good service as I know the staff depend on it. However, for top end places i see absolutely no distinction between food and service - they are one in the same. after all, i've never returned to a place where i know the service is really really good but has bad food - but I'll put up with shit service for heavenliness on a plate.

Unless Paris in particular and Europe in general has changed drastically since the last time I was there - service is "compris" - in other words - added to the check automatically. As are taxes. I'd assume the tip was about 18% or so. Who knows what the taxes are??? If we get really good service in Europe - we might add a few dollars and round up the tip to 20% or so (which is our normal tip for good service) - but it is absolutely not expected. And I don't think I want to add 20% to an 18% tip.

By the way - restaurants in the US that cater to a large number of European tourists sometimes do add the tip as a matter of course (because otherwise the staff doesn't get tipped) - but it is an unusual practice here. Robyn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On another point - I have never had a som. sample wine for us - except to verify or question our (infrequent) opinion that the wine is bad. On the other hand - if the som. picks out a really terrific wine for us - we'll offer him/her a taste as a form of compliment. Robyn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Also when I ate there Michael Del Brugo was the chef, is he still?

sorry, no idea

as to your experiecne - that what I was hoping for :sad:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Michel del Burgo left Taillevant more than a year ago and is now at the Chantecler in Nice. Taillevant is an owner run, rather than a chef run restaurant, but even so, del Burgo was not considered quite good enough, or perhaps the chemistry was wrong. The new chef at Taillevant is the highly regarded Alain Soliveres who had been the chef at the 2 star Les Elysees. Taillevant is generally considered to have improved with Soliveres, but there have been numerous complaints as well. I can't speak from experience as I haven't been there since the latest change.

With regard to sommeliers sampling wine, In many visits, I have never ever had a sommelier not taste the wine prior to serving in a top French 2-3 star restaurant, it's part of the standard procedure. I wonder what others have experienced or observed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Michel del Burgo left Taillevant more than a year ago and is now at the Chantecler in Nice.

With regard to sommeliers sampling wine, In many visits, I have never ever had a sommelier not taste the wine prior to serving in a top French 2-3 star restaurant, it's part of the standard procedure.  I wonder what others have experienced or observed.

Thank you marcus. Good to know. Michel del Burno also does some things for O & Co. I just had a wonderful tapenade last night that he created for them.

And indeed you are also right about the wine tasting/serving. It is a time honored tradition in fine restaurants.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The candle/flame thing is also a very traditional way for a sommelier to smell/taste/serve wine. It helps them to clear their palate and make sure the wine is up to par. It actually speaks miles of the restaurant to do that even with a lesser priced wine.

I'm quite confused here. I'm totally at sea in regard to a candle having a role in in clearing a sommelier's palate. I'm not familiar with the use of a candle in regard to a bottle of wine in the dining room except as a light behind the wine bottle to see if the wine itself is clear and to see if sediment is going to enter the decanter when the wine is decanted.

Then again I really have no idea of what went on in Taillevent. "There was a lot of faffing around with the wine – passing it over a flame & so forth," just seems so subjective that I don't know what to make of the statement. One would not expect an inexpensive half bottle of wine to be subject to decanting, but it's conceivable that there are no inexpensive half bottles of wine at Taillevent. I've been in restaurants where there are no inexpensive wines, at least not to my pocketbook.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
With regard to sommeliers sampling wine, In many visits, I have never ever had a sommelier not taste the wine prior to serving in a top French 2-3 star restaurant, it's part of the standard procedure.  I wonder what others have experienced or observed.

I'm trying to recall if a sommelier has ever tasted my wine prior to serving it to me and I'm not absolutely sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's never happened. Have I observed this phenomenon? Yes, many times. It's far more likely to be a service performed with a very expensive bottle than with a relatively inexpensive bottle of wine.

For some people, all wine ritual is pure ritual and meaningless. That however, is rarely the case in a truly fine restaurant in France. I should say never the case in such a restaurant in France, by definition. It's a crass joint if the service becomes a meaningless ritual for tourists.

I had a wonderful lesson in wine service, among other things, at one of my first dinners in a fine French restaurant. It was at la Pyramid in Vienne in the late sixties. M. Point had passed on, but his wife and second in command were still running a fine show, albeit two stars, not three, by Michelin standards. It was off season and there were only three tables occupied. Mrs. B and myself were on our second trip to France, in our twenties and not very flush. We ordered a bottle of beaujolais which was brought open and unlabeled. I rather assume it was drawn from a cask in the cellar and it was good beaujolais, by the way. The glasses already at our table were righted and the wine poured without ceremony. I don't believe I was even asked to taste the wine. Why should I have been? The staff was probably drinking from the same cask.

Across the room from us, was a three top. I recognized one of the fashion designers at the table because of his involvement in the art world. They apparently ordered a nice burgundy. The glasses on the table were changed and one gentleman at the table was given a taste before the wine was poured.

At the end of the room, was a large--at least a dozen or more people--table. At the head of the table sat an older man in blue denim overalls. He was clearly the host. A group of men and women in various outfits sat around the table, at least some of the men were in coats and ties. There was also a young girl, of perhaps four or five years of age, who spent much of her time running around the table. I assumed they were locals and I strongly began to suspect the patriarch probably owned one of the most valuable plots of land in burgundy. Their wine was brought rather ceremoniously to the table for visual inspection, than removed to a corner of the room where it sat upright for a short period. It was opened in the corner and a small amount poured into a very large glass by the sommelier who took a sniff of the wine before setting it down. He returned in a few minutes to take a sip of the wine. It may then have been decanted, but I honestly don't recall. In due time the table was served and the host then took a sip before approving the wine which was poured into glasses that were a bit larger than the others used so far that evening.

I know I've told this story before. My aplogies to those who have read it before, but this set my expectations for life. When I see a fuss made over a young Beaujolais, I am amused--although less so when the cork is all but shoved up my nose. Likewise, I am sad when a truly fine bottle doesn't get the attention it deserves. When the diner is paying a large sum for a fine wine, I think it's a service for the sommelier to taste the wine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm trying to recall if a sommelier has ever tasted my wine prior to serving it to me and I'm not absolutely sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's never happened. Have I observed this phenomenon? Yes, many times. It's far more likely to be a service performed with a very expensive bottle than with a relatively inexpensive bottle of wine.

Bux, when was the last time that you had dinner in a 3 star restaurant. In my experience the sommelier always pours off a small quantity of wine to taste, no matter the cost of the bottle. I can agree that if the restaurant is filling its bottles from casks, they wouldn't do this either, but this form of wine service is not typical of luxury restaurants. With regard to candles, these are sometimes used in decanting bottles with heavy sediment in order to determine when to stop pouring, it has nothing to do with the tasting process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When we ate at Pierre Gagnaire a fortnight ago, the assistant sommelier tasted my modest bottle of Saint-Aubin, was clearly unsure about it, tasted it again and summoned the sommelier, who tasted it and at once rejected it. A new bottle was brought, tasted and served to me.

As it should be, I think.

clb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
With regard to sommeliers sampling wine, In many visits, I have never ever had a sommelier not taste the wine prior to serving in a top French 2-3 star restaurant, it's part of the standard procedure. I wonder what others have experienced or observed.

Hmm, never had any sommelier try the wine I ordered in any 2/3 stars in France.

It happened once in the UK (Chez Nico, some years ago) and I noticed it because

it was unusual to me.

Wine is usually the biggest part of my bills in these places, and I have *always* been

asked/proposed to try the wine. It was pretty much all the time the same procedure,

no ridiculous rituals, like use of a candle to stop decanting when hitting the sediments.

No fuss. You're presented the bottle to ensure it's the one you ordered. Opened in

front of you, decanted if necessary and you then try it before all the guests are served.

If I have a doubt about the wine (happened once or twice), I ask the sommelier to taste

it to confirm the problem. If "corked" it's always been replaced ... of course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It doesn't happen all the time -- but maybe half the time in 2/3 stars in France, in my experience, the wine gets tasted before you try it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bux, when was the last time that you had dinner in a 3 star restaurant. In my experience the sommelier always pours off a small quantity of wine to taste, no matter the cost of the bottle. I can agree that if the restaurant is filling its bottles from casks, they wouldn't do this either, but this form of wine service is not typical of luxury restaurants. With regard to candles, these are sometimes used in decanting bottles with heavy sediment in order to determine when to stop pouring, it has nothing to do with the tasting process.

I doubt anyone is filling bottles from casks anymore. I don't recall if it was Waverly Root or AJ Liebling who wrote about a little bistro across the street from the Ecole des Beaux Arts where they offered a number of AOC wines in carafe from casks in the basement. It was still there in the sixties, and still had decent food and offered a selection of wines in carafes. By the eighties, the food had gone to hell and I doubt they now have casks in the basement. Few enough starred restaurants serve wine in carafe and I doubt any have casks.

My last three star meal was last fall in Paris. It was at Arpège. Arpège can be very pricey, but it doesn't seem to have all the trappings of a luxury restaurant. I don't recall anyone tasting the wine before, or after, I did. Then again, I should probably ask my wife. I believe the bottle was opened behind my back. We had a Sancerre that ran about 80-90 euros.

It's a rare year that I get to have more than a pair of three star meals in France and lately we've been spending more time in Spain than France. On the whole, I'd say wine service is more casual in Spain, even in three star places and there are few Michelin three star restaurants in Spain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is certain, is that many places do not taste the wine in front of you. Often this will happen as they prepare the bottle, opening it, maybe decanting etc.

of course this doesn;t happen everywhere, but perhaps more often that observed.

when they present the bottle to you, they are not asking if you like it, but if you agree it is good condition and is what you ordered.

I was actually at Restaurant Petrus the night of the Barclay's bankers wine spree, and even that night the sommeliers tried every bottle before it was brought to the table.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
when they present the bottle to you, they are not asking if you like it

Unless you drink the label ! :laugh:

Happens more than you'd think .... !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As it should be, I think.

That's what I think too. And I have the impression that the sommeliers mostly taste the wine in the top restaurants, at least when I am there :-).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of my best friends is a master sommelier and when I put this question to him he said that in his experience a small amount of wine would always be poured into a glass and then swirled and sniffed for either a corked bottle or an off odor. Depending on the wine and the demands of service he may or maynot taste the wine. Most of the time he was able to catch bad bottles just by sniffing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The candle/flame thing is also a very traditional way for a sommelier to smell/taste/serve wine. It helps them to clear their palate and make sure the wine is up to par. It actually speaks miles of the restaurant to do that even with a lesser priced wine.

I'm quite confused here. I'm totally at sea in regard to a candle having a role in in clearing a sommelier's palate. I'm not familiar with the use of a candle in regard to a bottle of wine in the dining room except as a light behind the wine bottle to see if the wine itself is clear and to see if sediment is going to enter the decanter when the wine is decanted.

Sorry that I was mistaken about the candle here. of course it is to look for sediment, I apologize!

I think this has been a very interesting thread.

Bux- My husband and I will be traveling thru Northern Spain this July. Where can I find some of your dining reports/ winery reports on this area?

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bux- My husband and I will be traveling thru Northern Spain this July. Where can I find some of your dining reports/ winery reports on this area?

In the Spain forum. Where exactly are you going, but please answer in the Spain forum and we can pick up there. There are a few really knowledgeable posters in that forum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Similar question, but different spin, so I thought I'd post in this thread: as someone who has been to ADNY before (and thoroughly enjoyed it) but has not been to any of the 3 stars in Paris, if it were between ADPA and Grand Vefour, what would you suggest? At first, I was leaning towards Grand Vefour because I've had an Alain Ducasse experience, and I have seen so many positive comments about GV (plus, it looks simply gorgeous). But then I was swaying back towards ADPA because the food sounds tastier (GV sounds a little weird-for-weird's-sake -- eg, I have no need for an artichoke dessert -- I want something where the food is absolutely delicious). (...And is it me, or does ADPA's Spring menu look to be a lot smaller than previous ones?)

Wine is important (I'd have gone with Lucas Carton since by the glass pairings sounded great, except I got the impression it was a little more "La Grenouille-esque in terms of the crowd, and I haven't seen many people impressed by the food), along with service - but I know both places will be fantastic from these standpoints.

So? Where's my best meal to be had?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So? Where's my best meal to be had?

easy: pierre gagnaire

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I visited 6 michelin restaurants while in Paris over the past 2 weeks (just got back sunday night). I will post reviews as soon as I have the time... For now, I'll tell you that Pierre G. does indeed rock, it's a great place (and Pierre is a great guy) and that you won't go wrong with it. The places I visited were Pierre G., Guy Savoy, Grand V., Taillevent, ADPA, and L'Astrance.

ADPA and Grand V. are two totally different places... The Plaza Athenee hotel is a modern trendy place, while Grand V. has a booth where Napoleon and Josephine sat and is located in the Palais Royal Gardens... I went to both places and had two totally different experiences... If you want modern luxury, go to ADPA, if you want old traditional luxury, go to Grand V. I can tell you that the staff at Grand V. are VERY friendly and relaxing while the staff at ADPA are very snobby and uptight... Personally, I prefer the snobby and uptight staff, but it's all personal preference...

ADPA will cost you more than Grand V. as well, it's one of the most expensive restaurants in Paris, and I think a bit overpriced for what it is (as is the rest of the Plaza Athenee)...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×