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Jamin


ann chang
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I have heard the stories about Master Joel Robuchon's excellent cooking in Jamin. Although it's sad that I will never able to eat his cooking. I would still like to the restaurant - Jamin. Is there anyone who have eaten there and can give me some advice? or you think there will be other resurant who I can sample better about Robuchon signal dish? ( the dish I want to try most is Robuchon's mashed patato)

thank you in advance.

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A little background for you, Ann. Jamin was Raymond Jamin, a restaurateur who, before hiring Joel Robuchon whom he discovered, or lured away from the

dining room of the Nikko Hotel (Les Celebrities, which I believe was related to a short-term restaurant at the Essex House that Alain Ducasse now occupies) was equally known for having a trotter named after him by the Champagne magnate that owned the horse. Jamin was  about the most successful trotter of his day and known and adored by the masses for eating artichokes for his principle daily rations. He raced in New York in some championship races, all of which, I believe, he won. In any event, he was a huge deal in the New York City sports pages and the national magazines. Jamin's restaurant was on the small side, but very comfortable. His maitre d'hotel for a while was the son of the cult chef Jean Delavayne, who had a restaurant ( La Camillia) in the Paris suburb of Bougeval and was considered to be a prototype chef of "La Nouvelle Cuisine". When I knew Jamin through writing a story for a horseman's magazine, given the trotting angle, Gerard Besson was the chef. He then opened a restaurant with young Delavayne that still exists in Paris. Following him in M. Jamin's kitchen was Dominique Bouchet, who has been for many years the chef at La Tour d'Argent. Finally, Robuchon took over the cooking and when M. Jamin retired, he sold the restaurant to him. Eventually Robuchon changed the name to "Restaurant Joel Robuchon" and then moved to larger quarters which, upon his retirement, became the first location of Ducasse's Paris restaurant. I only had Robuchon's cooking one time, in 1994. Of the scores of meals I have had in Paris, it was the only one I felt that measured up to the best meals in the provinces. I did have the potatoes. But what sticks most in my mind was the busboy who kept asking us if we wanted a piece of "countryside bread."

Robuchon has several disciples, but the only one whose cooking I have had is Frederic Anton at Le Pre Catalan. It was a really bad meal as was the one taken by another e-Gullet poster. I'm not even sure if there is anyone cooking in a pure Robuchon style, let alone recreating any of his dishes. There is such a premium today to being an "artiste" that his signature dishes may be nothing but a memory. Maybe if he opens up in New York he'll bring the mashed potatoes back at โ. a pop (as a side dish, of course).

Telling you more than you bargained for, your humble food historian,

(Edited by robert brown at 11:15 pm on Jan. 3, 2002)

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In summation, the point is that the current Jamin, whether or not it deserves it's two stars, has nothing to do with Robuchon and is not cooking his food. ;)

What about l'Astor? Was the chef not Robuchon's second in command at one time? Is the food similar to Robuchon's?

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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Dear Robert,

Thank you so much for your such valuable information. I have learnd so much from it. But does it means Robuchon's food can only be memory and I have abousloutely no chance to taste it ? T-T

Even Jamin is not the Jamin I thought, is it still worthwhile to have a go?

Ann

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Ann, in last year's (2001) Guide Gault-Millau, the present Jamin (at the same address as M. Jamin's) gets a respectable 17/20. Now I remember a very nice review by Patricia Wells of the place as taken over by Benoit Guichard, a Robuchon disciple. Maybe you can ask him to at least make you the mashed potatoes. Why not reserve and have a talk about it and maybe another pure Robuchon dish? Has anyone been recently?

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does it means Robuchon's food can only be memory and I have abousloutely no chance to taste it ?
There are several Robuchon cookbooks. ;)

The chefs at both L'Astor and Jamin are Robuchon trained and may be described as "disciples," although I don't know if either of them cook as Robuchon did. As Robert Brown says, "There is such a premium today to being an 'artiste.'" Few would want to be known for reproducing their master's work. Disciples are not what they used to be I'm afraid.

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...

My wife and I had a wonderful lunch there last October, on a two week 10th anniversary trip to Provence, Dordogne and Paris. It was the best meal we had, and we had made it a point to eat at a number of michelin one and two star restaurants. (The one star at Moulin du Roc is also very good and very reasonably priced) We had the prix fixe menus, and everything was exceptional. The potatoes and pigeon were good, but the flan starter, chicken cream soup with foie gras and lentils, the tiny madeleines with a molten chocolate center and pear sorbet were especially memorable. The restaurant was full in spite of it being in the off-season (which was not the case with many other rated places). Service was also excellent and they cheerfully gave me an extra helping of pear sorbet after we had settled the check.

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