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Trois Etoiles A Paris... Reprise


ulterior epicure
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The 'espoir' designation is a new thing in the most recent Michelin guide.  They awarded these espoirs to restaurants that distinguished themselves from those of the same star level.  It was something of a signal that Michelin were paying particular attention to them, as their 'hope' for the new generation, etc, etc.

I only have the 2005 "Main Cities of Europe" Guide Rouge, is the 'espoir' denoted only in the France Guide?

U.E.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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Seriously, if you want a properly wild-and-wacky experience, it seems like you should go for Pierre Gagnaire, which is at the high end of experimentation and adventurousness for Paris. I haven't been there, but that is its reputation, and it continues to draw rave reviews.

Not from me on my recent trip to Paris. While I love avant-garde cuisine (El Bulli, Arzak, Alinea and WD-50 are amongst my absolute favorite restaurant experiences) Pierre Gagnaire proved to be a major disappointment to me. The dishes all looked marvellous, but there was a preponderance of bitter and off notes that did not appeal to me. Perhaps it was an off-menu or an off-night. I can understand why Gagnaire has developed the reputation that he has, but my dinner struck out.

I did love L'Astrance, though. While not as avant-garde as the restaurants I mentioned above, it certainly wasn't purely traditional. The combinations were beautiful and the flavors and textures worked quite nicely. This was my favorite meal in Paris on this trip. It was a lunch.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

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Not from me on my recent trip to Paris. While I love avant-garde cuisine (El Bulli, Arzak, Alinea and WD-50 are amongst my absolute favorite restaurant experiences) Pierre Gagnaire proved to be a major disappointment to me. The dishes all looked marvellous, but there was a preponderance of bitter and off notes that did not appeal to me. Perhaps it was an off-menu or an off-night. I can understand why Gagnaire has developed the reputation that he has, but my dinner struck out.

Perhaps better suited for another forum - but personally, I wasn't all that impressed with Alinea. I thought it was bit too stilted - even for me (the lover of all things not-seen-before). It was after my meal at Alinea that discovered a personal limited patience for the "let's see how much gaping, gawking and gasping we can get from the diner" experience. At least, that's what my impression was. Food presented on a wire or hanging from odd surgical-looking contraptions don't necesesarily do it for me if the food isn't genuinely good. I found Moto to be much more of a pleasant experience - it was more theatrical in a good way, that is, I felt more involved and invested in the experience. Alinea was more of a sit-back-and-get-ready-to-be-stunned experience...

That being said, I don't think that Gagniere is on for this trip - but still toying with Astrance, Le Meurice, Le Bristol, Pre Catalan and Grand Vefour for this round... geez, I just might have to plan another trip before Christmas rolls around.

U.E.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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Pierre Gagnaire is fabulous. He is a great example of someone who inhabits a difficult middleground, blending the classical and the hyper-modern, and making a cuisine that is intensely personal and emotional AND delicious.

My best meal of the year last year was at Gagnaire. My best meal of the trip in Spring/Summer, when I spent over 2 months in europe eating my way through starred restaurants, was chez Pierre Gagnaire.

I will concede that the place can be inconsistent, but I've heard only fabulous things lately.

chez pim

not an arbiter of taste

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Oh, and a big yes to L'Astrance. Just had a gorgeous lunch there a few days ago. That makes three great meals in a period of just a few months.

And if you go there, let the sommelier choose the wine for you. He is fabulous, and that wine list is full of treasures.

edited for privacy

Edited by pim (log)

chez pim

not an arbiter of taste

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Oh, and a big yes to L'Astrance.  Just had a gorgeous lunch there a few days ago.  That makes three great meals in a period of just a few months.

Right - so add L'Astrance to my list of candidates...

Sigh... :blink:

U.E.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Seriously, if you want a properly wild-and-wacky experience, it seems like you should go for Pierre Gagnaire, which is at the high end of experimentation and adventurousness for Paris. I haven't been there, but that is its reputation, and it continues to draw rave reviews.

Pierre Gagnaire proved to be a major disappointment to me. The dishes all looked marvellous, but there was a preponderance of bitter and off notes that did not appeal to me. Perhaps it was an off-menu or an off-night. I can understand why Gagnaire has developed the reputation that he has, but my dinner struck out.

I had the same menu that Doc had and this was a low-light of my trip. When did you try Alinea?

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Funny, I went to Alinea for the full "Tour" recently as well. Totally underwhelmed -- to paraphrase u.e., it showed me the limits of my tolerance for "wackiness." I absolutely loved El Bulli but not Alinea (except for that pistachio/bison thing -- now THAT was tasty...).

I've never been to Gagnaire, but if avoiding disappointment and getting good value for money are important, it's not the choice. For that kind of money, I think Guy Savoy is a sure-fire pleaser ... but you don't want to spend that kind of money

Fixing pictures...

Pictures fixed! Thanks molto e!

Edited by vinobiondo (log)
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vinobiondo.

thanks for the pics! everything looks great - i'm especially fond of game meats - and lamb is very tempting... did you do the "lunch" menu at both?

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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vinobiondo.

thanks for the pics!  everything looks great - i'm especially fond of game meats - and lamb is very tempting...  did you do the "lunch" menu at both?

u.e.

I don't recall Pre Catalan actually having a "lunch menu" -- I did their seasonal tasting menu of 4 courses + cheese + dessert (as opposed to their full "Menu du Pre" which is 6 courses + cheese + 2 desserts).

If you speak french, here's exactly what we had at Pre Catalan:

(1) La Langoustine -- Croustillante, Feuilles de Romaine en Gazpacho, Creme battue parfumee au Paprika

(2) La Morille -- Juste poelee, Fine puree de Celeri a la Cannelle, Petites Fleurs d'Ail en Tempura

(3) Le Turbot -- Cuit au Plat, Recouvert d'un Pesto "de Cresson", Pennes au Jus

(4) Le Cotes d'Agneau de Lait des Pyrenees -- Cuites a la Plancha, Asperges vertes, Puree de Pommes de terre

(5) Cheese

(6) La Fraise des Bois -- Juste sucree, Creme moelleuse aux Amandes ameres, Croustille glacee au Basilic

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That does sound like a lot of food - especially for lunch...

For a number of reasons, we have a number of our best meals at lunch. They're usually every bit as large as a dinner, and usually as pricey. We then skip dinner altogther, or have a light bite. This works better in Spain than in France for a number of reasons. One is that tapas bars offer the opportunity eat lightly late in the day. Dinner is also so late that a grand gastronomic experience can last long into the wee hours. One of the reasons to do lunch in Paris is that it's often easier to get a lunch reservation than it is to get a dinner reservation. Dining in a restaurant with a view or a terrace (in season) is another reason to consider lunch.

I've also gone on record a number of times in this forum, but not yet on this thread, noting that the prix fixe lunch menu may, or may not, be a bargain. Often, it's well priced but offers no clue as to why a restaurant deserves its stars. More often than not one gets what they paid for, or should I say no more than what they've paid for.

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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I've also gone on record a number of times in this forum, but not yet on this thread, noting that the prix fixe lunch menu may, or may not, be a bargain. Often, it's well priced but offers no clue as to why a restaurant deserves its stars. More often than not one gets what they paid for, or should I say no more than what they've paid for.

In France, I agree... elswhere... not necessarily.

U.E.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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Yes, I was speaking of France and more specifically of Paris. I'm not even sure if the businessman's lunch special exists at provincial, or rather rural, multistarred restaurants even in France.

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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Given that you've broadened your search to not be restricted to 3-star (or 2-star with a bullet) restos, and that you do seem slightly price-sensitive, I'd actually switch my recommendation from Le Bristol to L'Astrance. It's cheaper, the food is VERY exciting, it probably deserves at least two stars anyway if Pascal Bobillot were to care, and it's a nice space, especially at this grey time of year in Paris. I imagine that the chic factor is higher at dinner (I've only been there for dinner, but given the neighborhood, lunch is likely to be all businesspeople), but if your focus is on the food, lunch seems good to me.

Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
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Yes, on this trip, I'd like to keep the budget a little more modest, but really, I don't think that Le Bristol and L'Astrance would be that different? I know Bristol's 3-course lunch is at 75E, unless L'Astrance is below 60E, I don't think it'd be that much of a step...

As for my schedule... there may be a slight "SNAFU" - J. Talbott encouraged me to send this over the forum:

I may only have Sunday lunch... as for the multi-starred Parisian spots - that leaves, to my knowledge, Le Bristol and Le Cinq. We know how I stand on Le Cinq...

1. Any other suggestions?

2. Pros/cons on Sunday dining in fine restaurants?

Thanks everyone.

U.E.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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unless L'Astrance is below 60E, I don't think it'd be that much of a step...

Unfortunately, it most definitely is not! :wink:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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The Gods are telling you to go to Le Bristol.  Besides, I'd like to hear about it since I won't see it until at least next summer, and probably longer.  :smile:

:biggrin: Yeah... it does certainly seem that way! John Talbott did mention (correct me if I'm wrong, John) that Senderens is open on Sundays as well.

U.E.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Yes, on this trip, I'd like to keep the budget a little more modest, but really, I don't think that Le Bristol and L'Astrance would be that different?  I know Bristol's 3-course lunch is at 75E, unless L'Astrance is below 60E, I don't think it'd be that much of a step...

As for my schedule... there may be a slight "SNAFU" - J. Talbott encouraged me to send this over the forum:

I may only have Sunday lunch... as for the multi-starred Parisian spots - that leaves, to my knowledge, Le Bristol and Le Cinq.  We know how I stand on Le Cinq...

1. Any other suggestions?

2. Pros/cons on Sunday dining in fine restaurants?

Thanks everyone.

U.E.

How did Le Meurice fall off the list again? I'm not following this close enough to know.

I had lunch at L'Astrance last week. It was superb, but we did the big menu, and spent about 200 euro per person. I think that's out of your desired range for this trip. L'Astrance does have two stars, got the second one this year. And, the chef's name is Pascal Barbot.

One thing to be mindful of, the set lunch menu is usually not available on weekends. I'd call to check first.

(edited for spelling) ...and now I am off to dinner...

Edited by pim (log)

chez pim

not an arbiter of taste

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Well, it would still be on the list if it weren't for the fact that I may be limited to Sunday dining...

Good suggestion on double checking on the set menu offerings on the weekend. Astrance's lunch menu is listed at 70 Euros... that's well within my budget...

U.E.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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....Mmmmm...

A thought just occurred to me (actually, it happened a while back, but the thought just occurred to me to post it)...

The Sunday dining stipulation aside, what would be wrong with going back to Carre des Feuillants, which was a pretty good experience... but then the thought occurred:

1. I wouldn't get to try another restaurant, AND, MOREOVER...

2. What if the second trip RUINS it?

Has anyone else ever had this experience/fear?

I actually don't really care that much about C.d.F.... really, the thought had occurred to me regarding one of my best European dining experiences - Obauer in Werfen, Austria, where I had a STUNNING eight-course meal. I toyed with the idea of returning to Obauer as my last hurrah on the continent before moving on in my travels... but my hopes were quickly dashed when I was informed that it would be closed during my last days... and then I thought to myself - maybe it's for the better - that way, my STUNNING meal at Obauer would always be STUNNING. I parlayed this thought to my upcoming Paris trip...

...just a thought. Would love to hear yours.

U.E.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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....Mmmmm...

A thought just occurred to me (actually, it happened a while back, but the thought just occurred to me to post it)...

The Sunday dining stipulation aside, what would be wrong with going back to Carre des Feuillants, which was a pretty good experience...  but then the thought occurred:

1. I wouldn't get to try another restaurant, AND, MOREOVER...

2. What if the second trip RUINS it?

Has anyone else ever had this experience/fear?

I actually don't really care that much about C.d.F....  really, the thought had occurred to me regarding one of my best European dining experiences - Obauer in Werfen, Austria, where I had a STUNNING eight-course meal.  I toyed with the idea of returning to Obauer as my last hurrah on the continent before moving on in my travels...  but my hopes were quickly dashed when I was informed that it would be closed during my last days...  and then I thought to myself - maybe it's for the better - that way, my STUNNING meal at Obauer would always be STUNNING.  I parlayed this thought to my upcoming Paris trip...

...just a thought.  Would love to hear yours.

U.E.

I have always been of a different opinion. If I really love a place I want to try to go back and if I keep loving it I want to try to get to be a bit of a regular. That allows me to just sit back and enjoy the food rather than concentrating to much on the "experience".

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I have always been of a different opinion. If I really love a place I want to try to go back and if I keep loving it I want to try to get to be a bit of a regular. That allows me to just sit back and enjoy the food rather than concentrating to much on the "experience".

...ahhhh yes, that would be my hope too. But, it's sort of like taking a swim, no? No matter how brave your body, if your mind has the slightest hesitation about getting in, then it becomes a matter of either "plunge right in" and take the shock for immediate acclimation and enjoy your swim, OR slowly creep your way down the steps, acclimating at each level - in which case, the pent-up breath and fear of "cold shock" precludes any enjoyment of the experience.

I guess the only problem with this analogy is that whereas in swimming, most of us know that you're almos assured a nice swim after your body gets acclimated... whereas at a restaurant, you could just be in for wet, cold and nasty experience on the second go...

Re: second-time visits - I guess the only way to do it is to just to take the plunge... huh? :hmmm: (like most things in life) :wink:

U.E.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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:biggrin: Yeah... it does certainly seem that way!  John Talbott did mention (correct me if I'm wrong, John) that Senderens is open on Sundays as well.

U.E.

Correct - it is open 7 days a week, lunch and dinner.

As for your concern about

2. What if the second trip RUINS it?

Has anyone else ever had this experience/fear?

a while back I started a thread called the Sophomore Jinx about just such a thing. Edited by John Talbott (log)

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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