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  
Bux

Alain Ducasse -- Plaza Athenee

Recommended Posts

I've been meaning to set a good example and share my post trip thoughts. Let's start at the top--Ducasse. Whatever anyone says about Ducasse at the Plaza Athenée may say more about the writer than the chef or the restaurant. Elsewhere on eGullet.com, I believe Shaw has said this may not be the restaurant he would recommend to everyone, yet it's a must, or something to that effect. I'm inclined to agree as contradictory as that sounds.

An option to order three half dishes, cheese and dessert might have offered a wider view of Ducasse's cooking, but we ordered a simple meal of two courses and dessert. In retrospect, this was so unlike our normal inclination, but I suspect it was very much a reaction to our dissatisfaction with small dishes and tastings earlier in this trip.

In addition to some canapés, we were brought an amuse bouche of what we believe was a sort of warm molded savory soft meringue sitting in a bit of lemony sauce. There was a parmesan tuille on top and some herring roe scattered about. Inside was a warm thick egg yolk. We love a good egg in a fine restaurant. This was about the most exquisite egg we've seen. We were fully prepared to rave about this egg for some time to come had our plan not been upset by our the art and craft of our ordered courses, which were of such a high order as to make us re-evaluate the language with which we, or others, have used to describe fine food in the past.

To share this meal, you will have to imagine Gibiers à plumes de Sologne en chaude et froide.  The froide arrived as five cubes of meat, each about an inch and a half on a side, in the form of a long low slice of terrine. On both flanks of a central block of dark gamy breast meat, there was foie gras "breaded" with minced truffles on four sides. At the ends were white breast cubes--perhaps pheasant or some other less gamy bird. As the meats were all very moist and the dish devoid of all fat save for the foie gras, and as the breast meats all seemed to have been cut from the center of the breast, I have no idea how this was cooked or assembled, except to say it was done with great expertise. Although as often as not, our dishes appeared devoted to the eye, it became clear that taste was the objective in each dish. By the way, as if my cold meats were not enough, the chaude arrived as a bowl of consommé with a julienne of feathered game and a raw egg yolk.

Esilda had a half order of Tartufi de Alba et foie gras de canard en ravioli which was really not so small a portion of a very rich dish. Comfort food for the very self indulgent.

France has many things to offer in the fall, but game is among the real treats and I continued with Chevreuil en noisette, réduction d'une poivrade relevée de genièvre. How very modest not to mention the still life of roots and fruits, and all sort of vegetable, fruit and fungus glowing in autumnal tones under a glaze of that réduction. At first glance I though it all too much to eat and not sure all were appealing, although I have a wider range of taste for fruit with game, but the fruits were deceptively tart and the vegetables deceptively luscious. Each seemed a counterpoint to one chosen before and try as I might, I couldn't make a bad combination of choices. Before I knew it, I had devoured most of the garnish and forgotten about the meat. Surely the cusinière who plated my dish had spent more time arranging the colors and forms than I spent eating them.

My dish was beautiful, but had a rustic woodsy character. Esilda's Agneau du Limousin, façon tian à la "Parisienne was a hard edge construction looking more like a pastry than a savory course. A perfect rectangle of overlapping rosé slices of lamb loin, each offset from the one under it by little more than the eighth inch thickness of the slice, reposed on a bed of finely diced eggplant, tomato, minced black olives, and finally spinach, each in it's own distinct layer. A lamb reduction with black olives and garlic was added at the table. The garlic was pungent and overwhelming if more than a dab of sauce was used for each bite.

We chose dessert at the beginning of the meal. I had a melange of stuffed and spiced exotic fruits with banana-coconut and lime sorbets. It was very much what I wanted at the end of the meal. I found it a balance of sweetness with a bit of crisp acidity and spice. Much like my main course garnish, I found each bite offered a treat. I particularly remember a slice of ripe mango folded over a spiced puree of fruit that might well have passed for a raviole. Esilda found her hazelnut variations--crunchy, mellow and iced, more of a chocolate desert than she expected.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After I wrote an article defending Ducasse's New York restaurant against its detractors (a/k/a everybody), my editor and I went to lunch there. This guy is not exactly a foodie, but he is one of those people who is able to get comfortable quickly in new situations. At the conclusion of the astoundingly good meal, his comment was, "This Ducasse guy, he doesn't f*ck around." I think that pretty much sums it up.

Really makes me wish I had more money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

speaking of money Bux--do you recall how much you paid for your meal?  did you choose any wines?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Euros:

half order of Tartufi de Alba et foie gras de canard en ravioli  60.00

Gibiers à plumes de Sologne en chaude et froide      70.00

Agneau du Limousin, façon tian à la "Parisienne       72.00

Chevreuil en noisette, réduction d'une poivrade       77.00

Desserts     25.00 each

Espresso     12.00 each

Bottle of Chateldon sparkling water   8.00

I splurged on a bottle of Gevry-Chambertin which I did not enjoy in proportion to the price. I should have gone with my first thought of a Rhone. I seem not to be enjoying the Burgundies I've had, or at least not the Cote de Nuits, as much as I think I should lately. This is not to say it was a bad choice, especially with our main courses. We had some conversation with the sommelier about doing two half bottles, choosing a wine that was okay with both courses or just concentrating on  the main courses. We opted for the latter. Part of my reaction to several finicky meals as I noted. The trouble with traveling and eating out every night is that sometimes you bounce between restaurants without a good pause. After several days in Paris, my most successful meal was a simple one in a brasserie and that loomed largely in my mind in keeping it simple at Ducasse.

Anyway that's 320 Euros or under 跌 for three courses without wine, coffee or bottled water. On the other hand, it's quite easy to eat well, very well, in Paris for much less. A hundred dollars can easily buy three courses of tasty food and a good enough bottle of wine with change to spare. Ducasse is not just about eating well. There's something wonderful about experiencing that level of expertise and precision.

I think I prefer the dining room at the Essex House, but I thought the food was "stronger" here. That's a rash judgement and I'll not get a lot of chances to make comparisons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

how would you characterize the service Bux?  how did it compare to your experiences at other elite restaurants in Paris on previous visits?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny, I think I like the Paris room and the Essex House food better. I guess I'm a yokel at heart after all! Actually, it's very subjective on those fronts. The rooms are so different as to make comparison difficult. The food is so similar, the major differences being in ingredients. Most are better there, but some, like lobster, are better here.

The one place where I think it's easy to declare a victor is in the service department. The service at ADNY may be the best in America, but the service at ADP is probably the best in the universe. It is, in a word, scary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steven--why is it the best?  how do you draw the distinction between the two levels of greatness?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, here's the deal: In their respective countries (I speak with relative authority about America and with probably too much induction about France) both restaurants simply do more service-wise than any other restaurant. Half the things you see them do at a Ducasse restaurant, you never see anywhere else. It might be as simple as a utensil nobody else has used for a hundred years, or it might be a level of elaborateness in dish delivery that you can't reproduce without nearly a 1:1 staff/customer ratio. More service isn't always better, but these people really think about service. So when they do something unusual, it's usually because it makes sense to do it that way; it enhances the customer's dining experience. So that's the practical side of it.

Where the two restaurants diverge is in terms of the experience of the waitstaffs. The Paris team has been together for quite some time, and has never quite come under attack to the extent the New York team has (though there were some rough spots). The New Yorker staffers just don't have their confidence 100% back after the opening-day public-relations bloodbath, and they deal with a more difficult and diverse clientele with all sorts of nutty and unpredictable expectations that the customers in France don't seem to have. So sometimes they come across as wary. They're like those Secret Service agents escorting a public official. They wear the same suits and try to blend in with the entourage, but you can tell they're always ready to whip out a submachine gun and defend their charges. In Paris, they're in complete and utter command of the situation. They're precise, they exhibit great confidence and love of their job, their positive attitude is infectious, and the guy leading the team -- Donnie, I think is his name -- is one of the most effortlessly brilliant Maitre d's I've ever encountered.

So it's the same service, but done with a bit more experience, confidence, panache, and customer cooperation in Paris.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steve (Shaw, not Klc) ;)

When did you eat at Ducasse in Paris? The question is whether you ate at the Plaza Athenée or the much more personlized, unique really, rooms of the restaurant left by Joel Robuchon. I'd never been in a more privileged dining environment than the one at Robuchon. At the Plaza Athenée, you enter through the hotel lobby, albeit the lobby of one of Paris' most luxurious and elegant hotels, and into a large hall of a dining room. I found the grey walls gloomier than they were sophisticated. Two tall skinny and very prominent artworks looked more like Calvin Klein ads than anything else. Wrapping the crystal chandeliers in cylinder of mesh, was interesting, but not effective. It's not that I found it unattractive, just that I found flaws. I'm not a big fan of Arman either and have much to overlook at the Essex House as well. Both are really fine enough places in spite of my carping, but I'd adjust the decor, not the food.

With one meal at each location, I'm more comfortable offering a discription of my meal than making judgements. I found the service in Paris more formal. To a great extent this mirrors the interests of Parisian diners. At the same time, my insistance on speaking French while I do not have great fluency, is going to keep waiters at arms length. In NY, some of the waiters do not speak French and those tend to be the ones with the less formal style. And it's just style, this is not a value judgement. A third factor may well have nothing to do with the preferences of either New Yorkers or Parisians, but in Paris, many of the tables had Asian clients. I suspect the staff will meet what they feel are the diner's expectations.

Service is over the top and sometimes more than I want. Is it really a service to have the waiter actually put my sugar cube in my coffee cup? What if after tasting it, I want a bit more, but he's gone with the sugar? On the whole it's hard to complain about being pampered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were at the Plaza Athenee. I don't love what they did with either room, here or there, but at least the Plaza Athenee room is a grand room that has been somewhat diminished by stupid modern decorator touches, whereas the Essex House room is a low-ceilinged ugly room that has been gussied up with some success but not much. I'm definitely willing to assign this to the category of personal preference, though.

I agree about the sugar, though when I pointed this out to one of the waiters, making the same argument you made, he just said, "If you want more, we'll bring you more right away. If you have to wait, you let me know and heads will roll." Hard to argue with that.

You should have ordered tea instead of coffee, though. The coffee is just coffee. The tea, well, it's something else. Having them wheel a live mint plant over to your table, don white gloves, and trim fresh leaves off with silver scissors is a real trip. Also makes amazing tea. Actually they use a combination of the fresh leaves, dried leaves, and black tea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beyond personal preference in decor, I had lunch in NY and dinner in Paris. I believe daylight comes filtered through the shades at lunch in the Essex House and there were wonderful tiny orchids in the windows. I love daylight and favor it over candlelight or any other light. That may have affected my opinion as well. In either case I would go for the food not the room, but then I tend to shy away from restaurants altogether if the room is better than the food. That's not a hard and fast rule either, now that I think of it and L'Huitiere in Lille is a case where I loved the restaurant more than the food, although the food was good.

As for coffee and tea, I shall have to develope a taste for tea. I don't recall any really good coffee in a restaurant and not much in cafes either on this past trip. I'd skip coffee next time, but I really find a meal incomplete without it, even when it's mediocre. Klc's recommendation in another thread on another board at eGullet was the motivation for buying a pump driven espresso machine after all our years of complaining about breakfast coffee at home. Now I'm far less satisfied with coffee in restaurants and France is not the home of good esspresso as I once thought it to be. Travel in Italy and Spain really raises expectations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was the greatest dining experience, though not meal, of my life.   My facial muscles are still recovering from the 4 hour grin. Almost everything was done superbly.  I have never had any particular desire to be king, but the entire experience at Alain Ducasse Plaza Athenee convinces you, at least for the duration of your stay in the room, that you are indeed in control of much of the universe, and that this is your right.   For me it was a tremendously transformative dining event for the simple reason that it was so educational—quite frankly I never knew that superb food, wine, service and “overall great vibe” for lack of a better description could be integrated into a meal that pleased the heart, head and soul.  For me, it simply hadn’t happened before. Call it the loss of virginity if you like.  For the realization what a truly astounding experience a meal can be that I give total credit to ADPA. I will also admit the place has some minor flaws—the bread was only OK and the cheese cart was very good but not superb, and I thought the cooking lacked the astounding sensitivity that I enjoyed at Le Grand Vefour—but its almost a waste of time and energy to dissect the experience of eating at Ducasse, because the whole is so much more than the sum of the pieces.  And the whole is great.  

The list of superlatives related to this meal could go on and on.

The wine that we had was the greatest Chardonnay I have ever had—a 1997 Chassagne-Montrachet Baron Chenard.  It elevated a sublime meal to another level in a way that I have never experienced with wine and food before.  Its color, fragrance, taste and finish were aristocratically confident.   But it was also perfectly mannered and in no way overpowered the meal.  It simply danced in perfect accompaniment with everything we eat, adding and making a great experience much richer.

The use of truffe noir at Arpege and Lucas Carton had been on occasion brutal and heavy handed, however, it was perfectly and delicately handed at Ducasse.  At one point early in the meal they brought around a box of truffles and gave you whiff—some kind of demonstration of confidence that they had the best truffles in town (in my opinion they did). For a while I thought that I was just a bit of a ignorant bumpkin for not fawning over the things, but Ducasse rather abruptly changed my mind, and allowed me to love their fragrant virtues.

Here’s what we eat:

Amuse Bouche 1 -  softly cooked spinach in a flaky pastry crust.

Amuse Bouche 2 – scallop dolloped with caviar in cream sauce.  Balance, poise, wonder.  Everything worked sublimely, though the caviar would have worked brilliantly as a thing in itself too, as it was light and soooo delicate.

Marmalade of Potatoes, Black Truffles & Sea Salt-Now I have been eating mashed potatoes most of my life. And they are good, homey stuff.  The perfect starch launching pad with an accompanying amount of fat or cream for any number of spices—rosemary, cumin, thyme, garlic [insert herb here].  Or if you like insert black truffle chunks and then cover a tiny thin bowl of  the truffle potatoes with black truffle shavings.  Whole thing was a truffle revelation that worked particularly well with the Montrachet.  Our entire table was oohing and ahhing for the better part of 20 minutes.  I mind melded with the truffe noire.

Lobster with Black truffles in buttery sauce-this dropped the meal back to earth a bit but was still excellent.

Chicken breast from Bresse covered with aromatic green herbs and on the side some finally shopped duck liver steamed inside some spinach.  The server then poured some rich black truffle sauce I a self-conscious way around the chicken.  This dish started off too truffly for me and then after a minute or two the juices from the chicken breast began to run off into the truffle sauce; and that’s when the magic happened--everything started yining and yanging together and the great show began.  I don’t think I have ever eaten chickn that was this good before. Again the Montrachet was, of course, perfect with the chicken.  At this point in the meal the whole world felt perfect.

Cheese course

Range of wonderful desserts.

But in way no actual description of what was had or eaten can describe the wonder of the total meal.  This may be the most civilized way to spend 4 hours of earth.  I go to ADNY in 2 weeks.  It will be interesting tosee if it is even comparable.  I pray that it is.  NYC is sorely missing a total dining experience like this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since Mao has described the meals very well already, I will add the following from my own notes without boring you with redundant descriptions.

For the first time the wine complemented the food in a real, sensual manner. This is not your ordinary “acidity of the wine cut perfectly the fat in my dish” that I have been writing for years. This redefined my view of what good wine is and what it can do for food. Further, the cheese plate was good but L’Conti (3 yr old) was superb. What a slice of cheese. I realized that I have never gotten it with cheese. I have never had pieces of cheese stolen by my companions at a reputable establishment before.

Amuse Bouche number two for me was – and aptly named – the black truffle. Paper thin slices of blace truffles almost all perfect round and arranged in overlapping fashion to mimic a two inch dome that looked like a whole black truffle to me until I touched with my fork. The slices gave way to the inside, filled with watercress for texture and dressing. Fooled the eyes; entertained the olfactory and then the palate. After having chewed on quarter inch think slices of black truffles the night before in bewilderment, I was floored by the silky texture and flavor of the same beast as it opened up in a volcano of aroma on my tongue. Note to myself – refusal to share with wife will result in retribution.

My second half portion was sea bass completely cooked with slices of dikon radish (??) and long thin slices of some vegetable with creamy sauce on top with a very mild salsa like sauce surrounding it. Thin, wiry French fries on the side. Pile some on top with the sauce. Place on the tongue. The top inside of the mouth causes the structure to collapse and spread in your mouth that was a controlled release of myriad textures and flavors, all at the same time. What a sensation. I got it right the second time on. This guy is a magician. It was like an elaborate cake but not a production for the sake of it.

Dessert – Melting fresh goat cheese with fresh ground pepper that heightened its sweetness. Vanilla ice cream with impossibly thin drizzle of caramel and a third concoction that I do not remember. “Please eat together” was the advice. Wow!

My wife’s clementine sorbet with fresh clementines with julienne of clementines on top was less subtle but equally effective. Combined with the hint of rose (in the Muscat accompaniment), the desserts took my palate into the delirious zone. My mind was playing my favorite arias by now, I kid you not.

My wife’s mint tea order necessitated a whole cart to be rolled out. Herbs needed to be snipped off potted plants (second shelf), washed, water for the tea heated on a sparkling clean stove to the perfect temp and tea prepared right in front of you. A little over the top but also conveyed the sense that everything has to be done right way.

The service was perfect but not sterile or stuffy. We were completely comfortable in asking any questions we wanted to. Our wishes were honored, without a fuss. We seemed to be in complete control except that they were at the rudder in creating an evening that was a class apart.

There was a fingerbowl with fragrant flowers in it with a separate smaller napkin. They handed us a souvenir menu outside the dining room. With a still warm loaf of bread to take home. A simple yet profound gesture.

The consistency of the meal was astounding. The perfection of the dishes and the service formidable. I pray that ADNY is almost as good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe Mao and you could do the PR for Ducasse.

I wish you a great meal at ADNY.

Look forward to knowing from you what you reallt think of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Neither of you mentioned a dessert cart--the glorious end-of-meal sequence in ADNY is:  plated desserts are served with perfect temperature and textural contrasts, then an assortment of hand-dipped chocolates and tiny macaroons (disitnctly not Laduree-like!), each on a silver stand, are brought to the table, then a trolley--an outdated, often misused haute holdover--is wheeled by with an amazing array of prepared candies, lollipops, caramels and several baked goods, like madeleines.

I see this as yet another example of the Ducasse genius for thoroughness--and I wonder if it played a role in your sense of the meal as a complete experience:  Ducasse looked back and refined the use of a cart in such a way as to be beyond criticism--for nothing on the cart is at an inappropriate temperature.  Of course, at this point of the meal in ADNY you will most likely be choosing an assortment to take home with you.

But you are indeed encouraged to nibble anything--was this the case at ADPA?

Also, were you served a separate dessert menu early in the experience--perhaps before the amuse or first course arrived--and asked to select your dessert?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steve,

That dessert cart was the highlight of my meal at ADNY.. and yes I came home with many wonderful things...a nd they encouraged the greedy child in me to come out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course, Suvir, no encouragement of your greedy child is necessary when it comes to sweets!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That sounds accurate as well.  But it was a feast for the eyes as much as it was a most wonderful journey into sweet sensations that excite the palate for a long time.

They were great.  Even the caramel suckers... lollipops.. wow.. they were the best I have ever had.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The dessert cart indeed came around but we were too full to try anything. Mao had a toffee, I think. Maybe he can describe it. The other thing is that we did not encounter the reported "we will charge you for everything you lay your hands on" approach. There were no extra charges on our bill - dessert cart or other carts.

The whole experience at ADPA was superlative. The food never dipped below excellent. Fat Guy, thanx for recommending it - yours was the only real recommendation among a sea of negative comments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought my comments here about my meal at both NY and Paris were positive. I may hold back on my praise as I believe many will not find the meal worth the money. There is no question in my mind that Ducasse operates above the point of diminishing return. Many people do not find the need to eat at that point and many people will not appreciate the difference between Ducasse and a lesser, but more crowd pleasing meal. Ducasse is not "wow" food. You are not be hit over the head for effect. Many diners also prefer not to try a restaurant they know they cannot afford to dine in on a regular basis. For me, if I can only afford it once in my life, I'd take that pleasure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't take much credit for the recommendation, Vivin. It doesn't take a genius or even good taste to realize that Ducasse's restaurants are great! One does get the bizarre feeling, when hanging around food intelligentsia media types, that everybody with a brain hates Ducasse. But that is in fact the opinion of a small, perverse, increasingly irrelevant minority. And, no doubt, a few real customers who happened to have bad meals. It happens.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One does get the bizarre feeling, when hanging around food intelligentsia media types, that everybody with a brain hates Ducasse. But that is in fact the opinion of a small, perverse, increasingly irrelevant minority. And, no doubt, a few real customers who happened to have bad meals. It happens.

Steven -- With all due respect to everybody, I dislike Ducasse's food and have from the beginning. (Note I also happen to dislike many other chefs' food as well.)  And if it's a "small, perverse, increasingly irrelevant minority", I would be happy to include myself in that minority, for that minority might be one that tastes with full knowledge of its own subjective preferences. My dislike of Ducasse may reflect my according much less weight to aspects of an "overall" restaurant experience other than the cuisine. If a cuisine is gorgeous and other aspects are adequate, that makes the restaurant in my book.  For me, offering different pens for signature, or clipping mint leaves off a little plant (which could have been clipped in the kitchen at the last minute), have no value (or slight negative value, due to their distracting nature).

Mao & vivin -- How would you rate Ducasse, if you were just looking at the food, and disentangling the wine recommendations, etc. (not that that is practicable to do)? :wink:  

On ADNY, all I can say is that I am happy about Bouley's return :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cabrales, my comments were directed at food-media types pursuing an agenda. Your opinion seems more purely motivated by your personal tastes, though I don't agree with your conclusions. I'd happily put Ducasse's food, standing alone, up against that of any chef in the world, because I think he is the world leader in food with introspective subtlety. He is one of a handful of chefs that could lay claim to being the world's leading chef (David Bouley doesn't come near to being on the short list, though he is one of the most talented chefs in America when he isn't in the middle of one of his psychotic episodes). That Ducasse happens to provide overall the best upscale restaurant dining experiences in the world is something I consider an added bonus.

The claim, often made, that people who like Ducasse's restaurants like them because of the pens and knives (which have incidentally been done away with) is in my opinion a straw man. Most people who like most restaurants like them for reasons other than the food, of course, but there are plenty of Ducasse advocates who aren't distracted by non-food issues when they judge food. Mao and Vivin's descriptions of the cuisine at Ducasse, standing alone, seemed utterly compelling to me.

I don't think your opinion necessarily reflects a de-emphasizing of the overall dining experience. It think it may just reflect a lack of preference for Ducasse's cooking style, and a preference for other styles. But within Ducasse's chosen style, he is the best.

To me, if anything, it is Bouley that sweeps the customer away in a sensuous experience that has more to do with service than food. The waiters there, when they decide you're going to have a great meal, are quite seductive, and they convey a spirit of generosity and enthusiasm the likes of which I've seen few other places. But I think this is a distraction from his cuisine which, while excellent, is most often Michelin-one-star. Although, I should add, I see a lot of similarities in the cuisines of Ducasse and Bouley, because I see both as inspired by Robuchon.

Just out of curiosity, since you offered the comparison: How many Michelin stars would you give to Bouley? And how about to Ducasse?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Most people who like most restaurants like them for reasons other than the food, of course, but there are plenty of Ducasse advocates who aren't distracted by non-food issues when they judge food. ...

It think it may just reflect a lack of preference for Ducasse's cooking style, and a preference for other styles. But within Ducasse's chosen style, he is the best.

To me, if anything, it is Bouley that sweeps the customer away in a sensuous experience that has more to do with service than food. ... But I think this is a distraction from his cuisine which, while excellent, is most often Michelin-one-star. Although, I should add, I see a lot of similarities in the cuisines of Ducasse and Bouley, because I see both as inspired by Robuchon.

Just out of curiosity, since you offered the comparison: How many Michelin stars would you give to Bouley? And how about to Ducasse?

Steven -- I would subjectively rate Plaza Athenee a very strong two-star, with the understanding that some people could rate it a three-star based on the overall experience or even based on the food alone if it suited their tastes. However, I would rate many three-star restaurants two-stars (including, among others, Bocuse, Georges Blanc and the Pourcels). For ADNY, while I have not dined there very recently, I would rate it a two star.

For me, if Bouley achieves the level of cuisine he did at Duane Street, he would be a borderline three-star (no worse than Guy Savoy and the best chef in the US in my book, with all due respect to T Keller).  :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting. I'm thinking about two new threads, which I'll start later if I can overcome my laziness and inertia: 1) How many Michelin stars would you award the various "best" USA restaurants; and 2) How many Michelin stars would you award the various three-star restaurants in France were it up to you? Could make for a nice discussion, despite my underlying anti-star disposition.

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.

×