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On the general topics board Simon tell us that there might be an alternative (ie the restaurant's) version of the events which led Jay Rayner to write such a damning review of Embassy in The Observer.

Restaurant reviewers may not feel themselves to be under an obligation to the principles of 'balanced ' reporting,but a piece like that in a national newspaper can be massively damaging to a restaurant's prospects of success.In such an instance,I think Jay Rayner should at least have attempted to seek out the restaurant's view before issuing such an outright condemnation.

This maybe outside of the reviewer's remit,but maybe The Observer could do a follow up piece in the interests of fairness. I hold no interest in Embassy,or any other restaurant,but I am rather fond of natural justice and ,after reading Simon's post,I'm not sure The Observer has seved it in this case.

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To quote John Lydon, there are two sides to every story.

I agree that there is a certain breed of pasty faced oik who feel the need to compensate for their small blessings in the genetalia department by being unpleasant to wait staff, that being said their is also nothing wrong with asking for something different from a perfectly capable kitchen ( which Embassy's is ) I am not sure if Robin's excellent Daube of beef would have suffered much if he had asked for it not to be served with mash.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Noticed another review on the Independent site. Again, "nice food, shame about the service" Hollihead doesn't seem to have shifted his stance re off-menu:

"Rebecca, my vegetarian niece, doesn't like truffles. So she didn't want the cauliflower and truffle soup. She asked, ever so nicely, could someone please rustle her up a salad or something? No they couldn't. Oh well. Could she please have an extra side order of vegetables. No – and while the waiter was at it, one of the two vegetarian main courses was off. Which left Rebecca with the pea and morrel risotto with deep-fried rocket leaves – whether she liked it or not. When it came, it wasn't just the rocket that left a taste in her mouth."

J

http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/food_and_drink/reviews/story.jsp?story=118166

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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  • 2 months later...

Following discussion between Wilfrid and magnolia regarding Embassy in the "New London Restaurants" thread in this forum, I made my way to Garry Hollihead's Embassy. The food there is good, despite the distraction of arguably bouncers at the entryway and a fashion-conscious crowd (not surprising, given the club downstairs). Diners and persons at the large bar area "dressed to impress".

Embassy is a place Wilfrid could consider, although the prices are not as appealing as La Trompette's. The food was at the level of Corrigan the night before, in my mind, and more consistent (although also heavier -- but that may have been attributable to the dishes I chose at Embassy). As mentioned in certain published reviews, the menu has its idiosyncracies and includes many Escoffier-era or "aged" dishes (e.g., Wellington preparation, albeit offered with venison instead of beef; Rossini style preparations; Lobster thermidor), although I would imagine they would be relatively well-executed. Note that the pork entree I had was fairly thorough in including many different preparations of the item.

Cocotte eggs Chasseur, corn-fed chicken livers, mushrooms, madeira jus (7.75)

Roast and confit pork, boudin, red cabbage choucroute (17.25)

Frosted champagne, pear, blackcurrant sorbet (6.50)

       Glass of Duval-Leroy, Fleur de Champagne Brut (7.00)

       Glass of White Burgundy, Domaine de Brully 2000 (5.50)

The dinner began well with a rich appetizer served in a little white cocotte. The first sensation is one of the medium-consistency, cream-based, rich sauce (Madeira elements are there as well). Replete with diced chives, this sauce was good, and stood beside nice mushrooms (chanterelles and others). Near the bottom of the cocotte container and suspended in the rich sauce were wisps of egg white, cooked but not unduly so. The egg white elements really permitted the taste of the white to be sampled, amidst the sauce. There was a limited amount of yolk, separate from the white. The chicken liver was appropriate to this appetizer too.

The pork entree provided a meaningful sampling of that meat in its different forms. Even though I generally dislike complexity in a dish, this dish was good. First, a tasty stubby small sauage, pan-fried. The body of the sausage was made from chicken (a nice touch), pork, foie gras and little apple elements.  It was bolstered by generous pockets of boudin noir (blood sausage) included inside the white-colored overall sausage. Second, 3 strips of crackling -- a bit dry, but not bad. Third, a small piece of pork belly that was appropriately flavorful. It had somewhat crispy, but emolient, skin and was a helpful part of the overall dish. It sat on top of a circular-shaped bit of potato that was undercooked (deliberately) and a bit salty (helpful, as the dish was slightly sweet due to saucing). Fourth, a small medallion of pork that was appropriately executed and that had pan-fried apple accompaniments. The texture of this part of the pork was a bit "dense" (not in a good way), but that aspect not particularly prominent.

The sauce for all of these pork items was an appropriately intense, slightly sweet, reduction. It contained a slight hint of lemon peel. The choucroute (cabbage) tempered the sweetness.

A small square of walnut chocolate brownie was served before dessert. The dessert was good. A circular-shaped block of crushed champagne ice was surrounded by a gentle pear puree. The alcohol content and refreshing aspects of champagne lent themselves to a light, appealing dessert.  Hidden inside the crushed ice was a small piece of poached pear. Further pear features were the folding of very thin small slices of non-ripe pear into a flower-like structure atop the crushed ice. The spring-green skin along the edges of these slices became curled as the slices were folded one into another. Two long triangular biscuits were unnecessary, but the small round scoop of blackcurrant sorbet on top of the sliced pears was nice. The sorbet was stunning visually -- a dark maroon, that, as it touched the ice and as it melted, created evocative color effects in interacting with the quasi-translucent crevices of the crushed ice. A refreshing, cool-tasting dessert.

The decor in the restaurant area was quite modern. Grey suede for partitions and for the angular chairs, which had rectangular cut-outs on the regular-shaped backs of chairs. Appropriate use of brown in the decor, although I'm not a fan of grey/beige/brown color "washed out" scheme variations. The food service was appropriate, although the wine service left something to be desired and the wine list was overpriced. (There was even a very small "fine wine list", the distinguishing feature of which was even higher prices.)

       

The remainder of the menu:

Appetizers

Lobster thermidor (Pounds 11.95)

Veal ravioli Piedmontese (9.95)

Salad of sauteed pigs' trotter fermiere (8.95)

Roast foie gras and peach toasted brioche (12.95)

Salad of roast sea scallops, orange vinaigrette (11.25)

Boudin blanc, creamed cabbage and bacon (7.95)

Artichoke and salsify soup, fricasse of morels (5.95)

Terrine of foie gras, scallops and leek (14.75)

Salmon tartare, peashoot salad (8.50)

Beluga caviar (98.00)

Main Courses

Fillet of venison Wellington (19.95)

Braised daube of beef Bourguignonne (16.95)

Roast guinea fowl, cabbage and carrots, raisen (?) jus gras (17.95)

Chicken Rossini, foie gras and braised celery (18.75)

Lobster Americaine, tomato butter (24.95)

Lobster Croustillant (in pastry), crustace sauce (24.95)

Fillet of John Dory, Moucalade of mussels (18.25)

Steamed hake, Chorizo sausage, curly kale, cherry vine tomatoes (16.95)

Roast monkfish, Bayonne ham, creamed spinach, oxtail jus (17.95)

Pea and morel risotto, deep fried pea shoots (12.95)

Millefeuille of asparagus and potato, wild mushrooms (12.95)

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I don,t know about anyone else but that's a menu that makes my mouth water and ,caviar apart,cannot be said to be too expensive for a high quality restaurant in Central London.

eg. both lobster dishes are £24.95 whereas when I ate at Green's recently the lobster dish on the menu was £37,similar at J.Sheekeys.

I think embassy is underrated at the moment

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I don,t know about anyone else but that's a menu that makes my mouth water and ,caviar apart,cannot be said to be too expensive for a high quality restaurant in Central London.

eg. both lobster dishes are £24.95 . . .

I think embassy is underrated at the moment

Tony -- You're right that the caviar at Pounds 98 is expensive, but it's beluga and it depends on how much of it one receives. (Not that I would order it, of course) I wonder about the turnover of an item like that, though, at many restaurants.

On lobster, I might have considered ordering the entrees, had the preparation methods been a bit more up to date. I did ask about how much of a lobster was generally utilized in the lobster thermidor appetizer -- 1/4 -- and pondered about ordering it before succumbing to the egg appetizer.

Part of the reason Embassy may be underrated is that one gets the impression many of its customers go there for the atmosphere, the proximity to the club downstairs, the well-dressed people, etc. That tends to detract from a restaurant being viewed as "serious", although in Embassy's case the food that I chose at least was quite good.

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Thank you, Cabrales, I was looking for this on the wrong thread as you rightly spotted.  Those old-fashioned dishes are very appealing to me, and I will seriously consider it.  Looks like you need to be hungry!

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Thank you, Cabrales, I was looking for this on the wrong thread as you rightly spotted.  Those old-fashioned dishes are very appealing to me, and I will seriously consider it.  Looks like you need to be hungry!

Wilfrid -- If you'd like, please consider discussing why old-fashioned dishes appeal to you. On being hungry, the portions were substantial. Even the egg appetizer felt quite substantial, even though it looked relatively small in the cocotte. The entree was filling too. (This could be the most direct example of my assessments potentially affecting another member's choice of restaurant, in the event you do decide to go to Embassy. I'm not sure how I feel about it, given your valuable, limited time in London.)  :confused: I'm off to Viet Hoa for dinner, and will report back in the thread in which Simon and Tony mentioned this restaurant.

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Don't worry, Cabrales, I have a whole bunch of recommendations, and it's up to me to figure out which ones to prioritise.  As to the old-fashioned dishes, let me put it in a nutshell here, as it potentially deserves its own thread.  When I was a kid, I sometimes caught a glimpse of upmarket restaurants, where elegant diners enjoyed formal service .  I read the menus outside such restaurants, and then as time went by I must have read books about people like Escoffier, and meals consisting of a progression of elaborate courses.  I found out about table-side service, chafing dishes, and all the rest of it.  In short, I looked forward to sampling cuisine of this kind when the day came that I could afford it.

Somewhere between my youthful fantasy and my adult liquidity, restaurants stopped being like that.  I'm sad.  There are a few outposts which give an idea of what such meals must have been like - Taillevent, La Tour D'Argent, Le Cirque, La Caravelle, Le Gavroche.  But where can I really go and eat the classics of French haute cuisine today?  (Not a rhetorical question, please feel free to tell me).

So, when I see something like Homard a l'Americaine on a menu, or indeed the poached, truffled poularde which Delouvrier is offering at Lespinasse, my dreams are re-kindled.

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Tony,

We'll be in touch when I arrive--the other thing you can do for me while I'm in London is direct me to a couple of really top-notch restaurants.  I'm getting tired of eating jacket potatoes in pubs--and my husband wants to eat at Waggamammas every night but COME ON, already.  We have a per diem that we end up frittering away while I'd rather cook simple meals in the flat and then have a couple of amazing & perhaps pricey meals out each week.  So I'm also interested in finding some good markets [like the Borough Market but that's a bit of a haul from UCL] for picking up easy to prepare foods in a very poorly equipped kitchen.  As much time as I've already spent in London when I read the UK threads I am clueless.  Thanks to Simon I found my way to the Wenlock, at least.

Sorry if I am getting off topic.   I'm getting EX-CI-TED.

More on this later.

stellab

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There are a few outposts which give an idea of what such meals must have been like - Taillevent, La Tour D'Argent, Le Cirque, La Caravelle, Le Gavroche.  But where can I really go and eat the classics of French haute cuisine today?  (Not a rhetorical question, please feel free to tell me).

Wilfrid -- I put some thought to your question, in the context of London-area restaurants and could not come up with any candidates. I reviewed the indicative online menus for The Connaught (post-M. Bourdain, sic), The Ritz, London (mentioned "classical French", but menu did not have unduly strong Escoffier overtones to me) and Waterside Inn (thinking that the Cecile Rothschild connection to Roux might have left some vestiges of traditional cuisine), but was not satisfied the menus were sufficiently traditional. I have not taken in an Escoffier-type French meal in London or France that I can remember.

If you are interested in Tour d'Argent or Taillevent, I could post menus over the weekend and/or describe the two-service blood duck at the former. Let me know.  :wink:

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Don't worry, Cabrales, I have a whole bunch of recommendations, and it's up to me to figure out which ones to prioritise.  

Wilfrid -- Following up on the explicit or implicit "recommendation" aspect of some board posts on specific restaurants, have there been instances when you have felt bad if you indicated a restaurant was good, but a member taking your post (at least partially) into account visited and had a less-than-wonderful experience?  :confused: If you have not, how do you think you might feel about it?

For example, blind lemon higgins had a mixed meal at St John (see "Son of St John" under UK; not linked), and you appear to have experienced the same sentiment when you were there earlier. While Simon and I did not explicitly recommend that blind lemon higgins and you go to St John, our frequent posts (largely favorable) about the restaurant could be viewed as implicit recommendations. Another example may be in the context of certain of ajay's experiences. I'd be interested in blind lemon higgins and ajay's views on this.

I have thought about these matters in part because I believe restaurant experiences are to a large extent subjective, and there are good or not "fit" issues between a particular diner and a particular restaurant. While certain restaurants may offer food and other aspects of a quality that they would find resonance with a larger number of diners, there are highly personal aspects of a restaurant experience that render potential reliance by other members a sensitive matter. Steve P and I could, I assume, theoretically experience the same dishes at Pierre Gagnaire and come back reporting very differently. Or consider the different assessments Holly and I had of Ferme de Mon Pere recently.

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Are you worried that you are making suggestions or recommendation & feeling slightly responsible or concerned when our experience doesn't live up to yours?

I was delighted to go to St J last night & had a wonderful, silly, drunken evening.  Eating offal is not something I normally do (and despite Simon's protestations - I really I don't think the duck was well cooked) and it takes time to acquire the taste.  I admit that its not a place I would normally have chosen - partly because I got it into my head that it was old fashioned stuffy places where old English gents go to eat (god knows where I got that from) - but part of the whole point of my participating in eGullet is to broaden my horizons.  St J's food disappointed - so what?  (I nicked one of their ashtrays to compensate.)

 

I was intrigued by the reviews & having been to some of the establishments that some of you talk about its fairly easy to pick up on who has similar tastes, experiences and expectations.  And, who you can trust (maybe respect is a better word).  Does eGullet influence where I now eat - a big yes.  And I'm thankful for the change.  London is a cripplingly expensive place to live - and I'd love to eat out more often than I do.  I'm fed up wasting money trying places only to find that they're crap - if eGullet recommendations helps me avoid some of that - great.  In return I feed back my experiences to help others make similar decisions which, of course, they are free to ignore.

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Are you worried that you are making suggestions or recommendation & feeling slightly responsible or concerned when our experience doesn't live up to yours?

....

I was intrigued by the reviews & having been to some of the establishments that some of you talk about its fairly easy to pick up on who has similar tastes, experiences and expectations.  And, who you can trust (maybe respect is a better word).... In return I feed back my experiences to help others make similar decisions which, of course, they are free to ignore.

blind lemon higgins -- Yes, I have started to feel some measure of (shared) responsibility, depending on the circumstances, when I have made direct recommendations (as in ajay's case) or when a favorable post about a restaurant experience could arguably be viewed as an implicit recommendation (as perhaps in your case, with St John).

I appreciate that members collect information from multiple sources, make their own judgments and generally decide whether to take into account or not information gleaned on the board. Also, I appreciate that multiple members typically provide input on a given restaurant, including with respect to meals taken at different points in time. Despite these arguments, I do feel a bit bad when the resulting meal does not pan out ideally for another member. The predominant reason I am concerned is that the other member has had an experience that disappointed him.

Turning to the more "selfish" or egotistical possible explanations for my discomfort, I concede that part of the dynamics is that the member providing the explicit or implicit recommendation does want to "respected" or "trusted", as you mention, by the recipient of the recommendation.  In my case, that dynamic is there, but in a rather muted form, to my knowledge. The reason it's muted is that, as I have mentioned in various threads previously, I see restaurant going as a personal and subjective experience. Not that there aren't some restaurants that most members would not agree are poor. But that, leaving that pool of mediocrity aside, for restaurants that are able to truly potentially please, they may not please every diner.

Perhaps trust and respect are very emotion-replete words, and, like reading professional restaurant critics, it is a matter of seeing, over time, how a member's preferences line up with other members'.  I just don't know how to address any "learning costs" that may come along the way.   :sad:

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Cabrales, I think you worry unduly.  I can't immediately think of an occasion when I have made a recommendation on eGullet that someone has acted on and then didn't like.  Thankfully, my advocacy of Fleur de Sel for the unoffical eGullet NY dinner seemed to result in a good meal for everyone.  But I don't think there's anything special about making recommendations on eGullet - I have been suggesting restaurants to friends and strangers for years; some work out, some don't.  I'm sorry when they don't, but it's not something I lie awake over.  People don't have to (a) ask me or (b) listen to me.

And it is indeed important to remember that eGullet is only one source of information about restaurants.  As far as St John goes, for example, far from being influenced by what I read on eGullet, I have been eating Henderson's food for years - since he was at the French House, and have dined at St John's many times.  You and Simon just put it in my mind by talking about the squirrel.  

As I said, I wouldn't worry.  By the way, thank you for your offers re Taillevent and La Tour.  I have eaten at Taillevent, and while I've not been to La Tour, I have read a lot about it, so please don't go to any trouble for me.  Thanks again.

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I just don't know how to address any "learning costs" that may come along the way.

We are all adults capable of making appropriate decisions based on the facts presented.   No one is being pressurised into going to any of the restaurants mentioned just to fit in.  I also don't believe that we are being manipulated by people who have a stake in discussed establishments (that said, I have no quarrel with anyone defending a mate).

This site is full of discussions that anyone can contribute to and I really don't feel thay anyone looks down on anyone else just becase they don't or can't go to starred restaurants.  Equally no one is impressed by someone who eats expensively just because they can.  If this were merely a vanity site it would have failed by now.  That or the discussions would be a lot less interesting.

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If you are interested in Tour d'Argent or Taillevent, I could post menus over the weekend and/or describe the two-service blood duck at the former. Let me know.  :wink:

While Wilfrid says you need not trouble yourself, if it's only a bit of trouble then I'd have you bear up under it by posting these, please.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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While Wilfrid says you need not trouble yourself, if it's only a bit of trouble then I'd have you bear up under it by posting these, please.

Jinmyo -- Below is the La Tour d'Argent menu of Autumn-Winter 2000-2001. Due to the need for translation of all items, I'm going to hold off on providing the same for Taillevent at this point.  

Appetizers

-- Bisque Cafe Anglais (Bisque, Cafe Anglais style)

-- Saumon fume d'Ecosse, crepe au poivre noir, creme a l'herbe des vikings (Scottish smoked salmon, crepe with black pepper, herbed cream of the vikings?)

-- Brouillade aux truffes Vincent Bollore (scrambled eggs with truffles, Vincent Bollore style)

-- Caviar oscietre, blinis tiede (oscetra caviar, lukewarm blinis)

-- Quenelles de brochet, Andre Terrail (pike quenelles, Andre Terrail style; A Terrail is a former chef at the restaurant and a member of the family that operates it)

-- Salade de Saint-Jacques a la vinaigrette de truffes (Scallops salad with a vinaigrette of truffles)

-- Foie gras d'oie des Trois Empereurs, brioche tiede, gelees de Porto et de Sauternes (Goose foie gras Three Emperor style, lukewarm brioche, gelee of port and Sauternes)

-- Feuillette de champignons et homard aux aromes du Perigord (Feuillette of mushroom and lobster scented with truffles)

-- Huitres chaudes de Belon a la Brolatti (Hot Belon oysters, Brolatti style)

Fish

-- Filets de sole Cardinal, riz blanc de Camargue (Filet of sole, Cardinal style, with a white rice from Camargue)

-- Rouget poeles aux supions, mariniere anisee, sauce a l'encre (Pan-fried red mullet with a relative of squid (?), mariniere with anise, a sauce of [squid] ink)

-- Goujonnettes de sole aux deux sauces (Sole with two sauces)

-- Turbot etuve au Jurancon, pommes Roseval au beurre demi-sel (Turbot with Jurancon, potatoes Roseval style with half-salted butter)

-- Homard a la Winterthur (Lobster, Winterthur style)

Seasonal offerings

-- Sole belle meuniere et pommes grenailles (Sole _)

-- Feuillete d'asperges et de morilles (Feuillete of asparagus and morels)

-- Salade de Saint-Jacques aux truffes (Scallops salad with truffles)

-- Croustade de Barbue Lagrene (Croustade of brill, Lagrene)

Ducklings (all 2 person dishes)

-- Caneton Mazarine a l'orange (Duckling Mazarine with orange)

-- Caneton Tour d'Argent (this is with blood sauce, in two servings)

-- Caneton Claude Foussier

-- Caneton Marco Polo au poivre vert (Duckling Marco Polo with green pepper)

-- Caneton de l'An 2000 au vin de Bourgogne (Duckling of the year 2000 with Burgundy wine)

-- Caneton Elie de Rothschild

Upon Special Request

-- Gigot d'agneau du Grand Seize (2 persons) (Leg of lamb of )

-- Cote de veau de lait, puree truffee (2 persons) (Side of milk-fed veal, puree of truffles potatoes)

-- Filet de boeuf de Salers, a la fondue d'echalotes, pommes aux amandes, flan aux epinards (Filet of Salers beef, with a fondue of shallots, potatoes with almonds, a spinach flan)

-- Vegetables

-- Cheese

Dessert

-- Valse de sorbets, tuile craquante a l'orange (Waltz of sorbets, a crunchy veil of orange)

-- Profiteroles au chocolat chaud (Profiteroles of chocolate)

-- Poires caramelise "Vie Parisienne" (Caramelised pear, Vie Parisienne style)

-- Flambee de peche, a l'esprit de fromboises sauvages, glace vanille et gateau a la fleur d'oranger (Flambeed peaches, with sensations of wild rasberries, vanilla ice cream, and a cake of orange flower blossom)

-- Souffle aux liquers d'orange (20 min) (Souffle with orange liquer)

-- Douceur au carmel et aux noisettes (Caramel and hazelnut dessert)

-- Millefeuille au chocolat (Chocolate millefeuille)

-- Crepes "Belle Epoque" (Crepes, Belle Epoque style)

:wink:

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Below are rough notes on my lunch at La Tour d'Argent a while ago:

Huitres chaudes de Belon a la Brolatti (Hot Belon oysters, Brolatti style)

Caneton Tour d'Argent (Duckling Tour d'Argent style)

Beignets (donut-like desserts)

      Champagne, Tour d'Argent private label (Blanc de

      Blancs; there is also a rose version)

      Grands Echezeux, Gouroux or Garoux 1976

      Verbena Infusion

A glorious day for lunch at this restaurant -- the view is indeed impeccable against the powder blue/grey light, brimming with sunshine and initially muted.  The banks of the river and the buildings down below appealed. While our table was not the closest to the window area, it was still in the lower, main part of the restaurant and was, in fact, subjectively preferable because it was next to the little platformed area where the blood duck was prepared in view of customers. That platformed area is in front of a large mural, which is featured on the numbered postcards (numbered for the duckling eaten at the restaurant) offered to customers (they can be mailed by the restaurant, or received after the meal).  The duck press was, of course, prominent in this area, and apparently only one dining room staff member ever operated the press for any given service. An older duck press can be viewed in the bar/seating area that has a semi-museum function on the entry level.

The oysters were mediocre -- the cheese-like sauce was starchy and mundane. More disturbingly, the temperature of the oysters was less than warm and this significantly diminished the dish. The oysters were also devoid of any iodine flavors.

The duck was quite good, and satisfied my curiosity as one of those famous plates that I'd like to sample at least once. The first serving was in aiguilettes (thin-ish slices). The meat was tender and flavorful, and there was a dark greyish sauce (with only limited hints of maroon) that was granular (fine grains), and that had connotations of blood and inner organs only if one knew blood had been utilized in the dish. The main characteristic of this greyish sauce was its texture and a certain density/consistency. This was a very unusual preparation of duck, and the meat felt different in the mouth (due to having been passed through the duck press).

The second service was nice. Grilled, two pieces of duck -- the upper thigh and another dark meat piece. Tender, flavorful, but with good utilization of the crispiness of the skin and the lusciousness of fat. On the side was a salad with a light vinaigrette and little potato cubes. The meat was simply prepared in this service. Brought to the table was salt (fleur de sel) with parsley bits and dried leeks -- the seasoning was necessary and was put to good use.

The Grand Echezeux recommended by the sommelier was a decent match, although I should have adhered to my choice of an H Jayer Echezeux in hindsight. The bottle we did take had the interesting feature of having the look and color of blood -- a matte maroon that was a nice visual and cerebral play.

The dessert was unfortunate. Although apple, banana and pineapple had been included in the various donuts (different shapes), the execution of the donuts themselves was very poor. Dense, thick batter was used, and an ugly mush of green apple puree was horrible.

Overall, it was worthwhile to have visited La Tour d'Argent for the first time and to have sampled the blood duck made using the duck press there. I'm not eager to return, but there are certain restaurants that have to experienced at least once in view of their history and their reknown dishes.  :confused:

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cabrales, as always, my thanks.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Part of the reason Embassy may be underrated is that one gets the impression many of its customers go there for the atmosphere, the proximity to the club downstairs, the well-dressed people, etc. That tends to detract from a restaurant being viewed as "serious", although in Embassy's case the food that I chose at least was quite good.

Tony -- I thought you might find the below write-up on Embassy in the April 27-May 3, 2002 edition of celebrity magazine "Heat" amusing.  :wink:

"The Ritchies' Hangout. . . . Madonna and Guy Ritchie recently did a turn on the dance floor there [i.e., at Embassy], and Emma Bunton, Chelsea Clinton, Kate Hudson, Tara P-T, Dannii Minogue, and Leah Wood have all been spied languishing on Embassy's banquettes [is that supposed to make us want to go?!] . . . Stealing more and more A-listers from nearby Attica, this is fast becoming the place to party. . . . Embassy plays host to Michelin-starred chef Garry Hollihead whose team will rustle up a selection of canapes for Pounds 19.50 . . . . How much it will cost you: It's guest list only, but if you have a meal in the restaurant, you can go straight down for drinks afterwards."

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I received an e-mail from the Top Table reservations service, with an offer from Embassy (booking through that site required):

"Receive 25% off the food bill available Monday -Wednesday for dinner plus enjoy their set menu for lunch (2 courses £16.95, 3 courses £19.95) Monday - Friday. Offer ends 29th May. For more info and bookings click here:"

http://www.toptable.co.uk/Details.cfm?rcode=B337

I cannot determine whether the above is a good deal with respect to lunch, for example.

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  • 4 weeks later...

go to embasssy they said...so i did, took 2 colleagues and 3 clients (not all of which were huge foodies) and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. food was excellent, had the pigs trotter starter, chicken rossini and a fig pudding. all were immaculate. Only minor irritation was the wine, didn't want to go mad so thought cloudy bay for £32 didn't seem bad, but sold out, so ordered chablis, sold out but offered alternative that wasn't v good, so was then 'forced' onto meursault about £66 which was decent. All were served much too cold for my liking though. Didn't find it overly fashionable, no bouncers or red rope. taxis had no idea where it was though! i would have no qualms about recommending for a night of classic french cuisine.

you don't win friends with salad

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