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stephen wall

L'Ambroisie

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Mike,

On another thread I noticed you mentioned an amazing lunch you had a few years ago at L' Ambroisie and was wondering how this meal compared?

Even though your report sounds positive I get the impression it did not reach the highs of your previous lunch.

Thank you for sharing your report with us.

Robert


Robert R

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Robert,

that's absolutely true. I was not as impressed this time as I was a few years back.

Maybe the choices I've made were not the best possible. The Mrs went for the "Feuillantine de langoustine" and I had a little part of it: this is still an amazing dish.

The wine recommendation was not the best possible, but I'm very picky about wine...

Then I had very high expectations and these were difficult (impossible?) to reach.

Another problem is that only one dish had the "wow" factor I was after. And talking about ingredient quality and cooking, I can _objectively_ name a much cheaper place in Strasbourg that offers similar quality foodwise (of course setting can't compare and it won't be truffle packed but truffle do not make the quality of a meal, imho).

Don't get me wrong, it was still a marvellous dinner. Just that I was not blown away...


"Je préfère le vin d'ici à l'au-delà"

Francis Blanche

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Mike: As someone who's not been to L'Ambroisie but is heading there next month...how would you recommend ordering in order to have the best possible experience. I guess I should mention that I don't speak French, but haven't had any problems in other three-stars in Paris. I'd appreciate any advice you might have. Thanks.

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Well... this is difficult as it's a very personal thing...

Anyway, I'd not miss the "Feuillantine de langoustine, sesame et sauce curry". This is a signature dish and has to be had. It's truly great.

I was quite impressed with the "Escalopine de bar" and on a second thought, would probably have gone for the beef instead of the poultry after the fish.

For dessert, you shoud try their famous "Tarte fine au chocolat, glace vanille". It's wonderful.

But this is all a mood thing. You'll probably be more satisfied if you follow your own instinct/tastes...

Oh, don't worry about not speaking French. They speak perfect English, the table next to us did not speak very good French and the waiters were more than happy serving them in English. The contrary would have been suprising...

Enjoy L'Ambroisie.


"Je préfère le vin d'ici à l'au-delà"

Francis Blanche

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the Escalopine de bar with caviar is an astonishing dish. You'll never have fresher sea bas in your life.


"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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Do they still have a one-month in advance reservation policy?


"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Do they still have a one-month in advance reservation policy?

Yes, they do.


"Je préfère le vin d'ici à l'au-delà"

Francis Blanche

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Hello, all-

I gotta say - coming back to the eG site after a few months is like walking into your favorite bar: Hi, John (neat beard!), hi Bux, hi, Ptipois, whazzup?

I'm headed back to Paris for a long wkend with my daughter to meet some old friends. The routine will be similar to the previous time I queried the eG gang: "Forced marches" through art museums (daughter Molly is an art history grad student at Hahvard) interspersed with food-centered forays. We're staying in an apartment on r. Lacepede near the Jardin des Plantes, around the corner from Mme Herve's boulangerie and a few blocks from Kayser.

BIG question: I've been mooching around the outside of L'Ambroisie for about 30 years, and may finally be ready to try for reservations, BUT Daughter Molly is a vegetarian (not one of those tiresome preachy religious ones - she just doesn't eat things with faces, even shrimp faces). Would a dinner at m. Pacaud's place be wasted? Can his menu accommodate someone who doesn't eat all of the things for which that this master is famous? I would very much appreciate guidance here, and thanks in advance

BTW: I've read the Ambroisie/"Ambrosie" threads on eG, and have enjoyed them immensely (especially the one re "fun vs. reverence" at fancy restos - I'll have to relate sometime our meal at Recamier when we reduced our very serious waiter to gales of helpless, shrieking laughter).

Many thanks,

Bartow

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Hello, all-

I gotta say - coming back to the eG site after a few months is like walking into your favorite bar: Hi, John (neat beard!), hi Bux, hi, Ptipois, whazzup?

I'm headed back to Paris for a long wkend with my daughter to meet some old friends. The routine will be similar to the previous time I queried the eG gang: "Forced marches" through art museums (daughter Molly is an art history grad student at Hahvard) interspersed with food-centered forays. We're staying in an apartment on r. Lacepede near the Jardin des Plantes, around the corner from Mme Herve's boulangerie and a few blocks from Kayser.

BIG question: I've been mooching around the outside of L'Ambroisie for about 30 years, and may finally be ready to try for reservations, BUT Daughter Molly is a vegetarian (not one of those tiresome preachy religious ones - she just doesn't eat things with faces, even shrimp faces). Would a dinner at m. Pacaud's place be wasted? Can his menu accommodate someone who doesn't eat all of the things for which that this master is famous? I would very much appreciate guidance here, and thanks in advance

BTW: I've read the Ambroisie/"Ambrosie" threads on eG, and have enjoyed them immensely (especially the one re "fun vs. reverence" at fancy restos - I'll have to relate sometime our meal at Recamier when we reduced our very serious waiter to gales of helpless, shrieking laughter).

Many thanks,

Bartow

Well, welcome back Bartow. Have you also read the vegetarian threads? - what I glean from them is that you can get good vegetarian food anywhere good food is served (I recuse myself from such discussions for obvious reasons). I wonder if you can cross-ref the Ambroisie threads with the veggie threads and send a PM to the expert at the intersection or better yet post your findings. And, by the way, not all of us consider Hahvahd infradig. Also, Recamier has been converted to a souffle place, but it's not bad at all, especially on a warm evening.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Bartow, as one of Pacaud's serious fans, I just couldn't imagine that any vegetarian menu he could produce would be on the same level as your non-veg meal.

There is Arpege, obviously. And Barbot at Astrance might be worth a thought.


"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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BIG question: I've been mooching around the outside of L'Ambroisie for about 30 years, and may finally be ready to try for reservations, BUT Daughter Molly is a vegetarian (not one of those tiresome preachy religious ones - she just doesn't eat things with faces, even shrimp faces). Would a dinner at m. Pacaud's place be wasted? Can his menu accommodate someone who doesn't eat all of the things for which that this master is famous? I would very much appreciate guidance here, and thanks in advance

A quick lesson: I once innocently invited a vegetarian friend to join a group of foodies at a Michelin star resto-- recipe for disaster? What resulted was that we ALL had a most memorable meal. This creative chef whipped out, course by course, a vegetarian equivalent of our 10 course degustation dinner. It was a wonderful lesson for us all. The meat eaters envy and favorite Veggie course was a whisky and cream cappuccino! Only thing I would have changed, I would have asked in advance! We had just shown up expecting there was something our veggie friend would eat while we degusted! :rolleyes:

What a memorable meal I had at L'Amboisie a few years ago. I still talk about that perfectly prepared 'scotch egg' starter; does caviar have a face? So why not call and ask if the chef will accommodate your daughter's preferences? Often in France, as elsewhere, a simple request in advance gets you a long way. Good luck!

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Some nice photos on the below link and I'm interested in knowing what the meat dish is the server appears to be saucing? Pork, Veal and maybe cherries?

White truffles seem to show up at the same meal which may rule out cherries in regards to cooking seasonal in the eyes of Pacaud.

Would appreciate any suggestions as the language barrier has me stumped. :wink:

http://diary.jp.aol.com/applet/ysruwm/msgcate7/archive


Robert R

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Hi,

I might go to Paris next summer and plan to eat at L'Ambroisie should I'm able to secure a reservation. I see many wonderful reviews about this place, but one thing I realize is that most (if not all) of the reviews are from people eating around winter time when the truffle season is still there. I could not help but to ask, what should one expect to eat at L'Ambroisie in the summer? Is it a good idea or better to go there around Nov - Feb only? Thanks

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Hi,

I might go to Paris next summer and plan to eat at L'Ambroisie should I'm able to secure a reservation. I see many wonderful reviews about this place, but one thing I realize is that most (if not all) of the reviews are from people eating around winter time when the truffle season is still there. I could not help but to ask, what should one expect to eat at L'Ambroisie in the summer? Is it a good idea or better to go there around Nov - Feb only? Thanks

In general, summer is the least interesting season ingredient wise. Esp. when a restaurant is season conscious (all pay lip service but few mean it).

This said, you can eat very well in summer there.

For instance the Clintons and the Chiracs dined there on July 29 (96), and, last I spoke to him, Bill was happy.

Apparently he ate feuillantine de langoustines, while Hilary enjoyed the Pastella de thon aux abricots secs.

Bill had croustillant d'agneau and Hilary opted for Gougenette de sole et de girolle.

Were I there (perhaps it was not available), I would have chosen "navarin de homard de bretagne aux pommes de terre fondantes". Best "new potatoes" on earth and this is a lobster dish which makes any baby Maine lobster based chi chi dish in American restaurants (such as French Laundry, Per Se) taste like bland cotton in comparison.

Tarte fine sablee will be on the menu. Summer is also the time for peach and abricot. How about "Soupe de peches blanches a la menthe". Hilary enjoyed it very much

You can then be back in fall, and winter and spring to experience differences.

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Vedat, thank you for the details explanation.

Wow, you actually know the former president Clinton personally

Have you had a meal at L'Ambroisie on the summer in the past 3-5 years?

Or do you suggest me eating somewhere else (at the restaurant which is really season conscious) in Paris for summer? My best meal so far is at L'Arpege in the middle of April this year

What is your favorite season to eat at L'Ambroisie?

Your reviews at Gastroville is one of the main reasons why I would like to dine there for the 1st time. Maybe if I told Monsieur LeMoullac that I'm being refered by you or your review, I would be more likely to have a great experience ... j/k :raz:

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So here is my review about one of the most talked-about restaurant in this forum

Here are the pictures,

l'ambroisie pictures 07

Here is the long review,

l'ambroisie review

Food/Wine (97/95)

I took it easy for the food meaning I played safe, in fact very safe. I ordered pretty much the classic food here (that's pretty much my text book every time I go to the restaurant for the first time - well, sounds boring?). As everybody knows, chef Pacaud is perfectionist in his cooking so he really wanted everything to be pretty much flawless. I begin with canape - Gougères, they're fluffy, warm and has a high quality of gruyère cheese - almost as good as the one I had at ADNY. The bread here are white and wheat only with with light flavor butter. Though they looked a bit uninspiring, but they're quite good actually. For the amuse, I had a warm mousse of peas served with cheese and duck liver. The taste blends nicely and the foie gras is not cloying ... a simple and nice amuse-bouche, even though not over the top. Actually, I expected to try smoked scottish Salmon. Oh well ... for the dishes, I followed the recommendation of monsieur Pascal, here what he composed for me,

- langoustine in a curry sauce served with spinach and sesame wafers. The Brittany langoustine is sweet, flavorful and quite soft perfectly paired with an Indian-style curry while the wafer as well as the low-temperature cooked spinach add another dimension of the dish. One of the best cooked langoustine dishes I've ever tasted

- sole served with mustard and green asparagus. This is a very simple dish with a very generous portion of sole whose structure is firm, but like other sole in general - the meat's taste is rather weak. The light mustard sauce (not too spicy) only helps a bit while the Robert Blanc asparagus is very good. I expected something better from this dish actually ...

- blue lobster served with new potatoes. Gastroville recommended me to try this dish. By nature, the lobster is already flavourful, the sauce is a typical wonderful French-style sauce: flavorful, light, precise and balanced. The new/baby potatoes are not as impressive as I expected, nevertheless it's still a perfect dish for me. The portion is huge ... I ate 2 lobster tails and a pair of lobster claws

- chocolate tart with vanilla ice cream. The cake/tart is ethereal along with a sweet and soft vanilla ice cream. On the one hand, the chocolate is intense but at the same time the layer below is light and sublime. A must-try dessert for all first-time visitor of this establishment

I decided not to eat the cheese since I was quite full already. I find the food in general is excellent, everything is prepared into the perfection (meaning it's pretty much the best one can prepare). Pacaud did not like to create sauce that would overwhelmed the main ingredients - everything should be in harmony. So I gave it a 97/100 (a deserving 3-star)

For the wine, I let monsieur LeMoullac do decide for me. Like what I found in other reviews, he loved recommending this to the diners - 2001 Meursault les Tilles Michelot Mère et Fille, I ordered a half bottle. At he beginning of the meal, I also sipped Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne - The taste is rich, yeasty blend and creamy, while being delicate and soft in texture. It also has a little touch of hazelnuts with clean and zesty finish. This was indeed an awesome aperitif before a meal. Lastly, I had a glass of 1980 Rivesaltes Mis en Bouteille Cuvée Jean-Paul Lespinasse for my dessert wine. The wine list here is average among 3-star establishments with the tendency towards Bordeaux and Burgundy collection. If you're advanturous about wine, this is really not the place nevertheless I was pleased with the wine I drank.

Service/Decoration (93/95)

The service is very formal and stiff - it made me not relax in the beginning. The diners there, on average, are quite old at that time - mostly 40 years or more. But they're all very professional. They never forgot to refill the water and wine, after every dish, my table was always cleaned. Other than Mr. Pascal, the rests of the staffs do not really speak fluent English. The restaurant is about 2/3 full I think. I heard the voice from the other rooms (I was seated in the front dining room, could anybody tell me what the middle and back dining room looks like?)

The dining room is very classical a la "mini" chateau de versailles. Inside, it contains crystal glasses, polished marble floors, some tapestries and oil paintings - things are very beautiful and romantic even though the small size made it less grandeur than the other places like Plaza Athenee or Les Ambassadeurs. While I was scared of the bill, it's kinda relieved when for the first 2 dishes (langoustine and sole), actually were charged as "demi" portion. Personally, one of the biggest achievement for me is the fact that I could take a picture with chef Pacaud. I've never seen his face before even when I was walking around Paul Bocuse's place, I could not find a single picture with Pacaud inside. He's such a humble man, by the time the kitchen's already closed, he went out with a simple long slevee t-shirt. Monsieur Pascal kept telling me that chef Pacaud did not like the crowd and I might fail to meet him ... luckily it did not happen in the end. In addition, Pacaud's so classic (whatever it may mean) that when I received my menu back with his signatures and the info about the dishes I ate - his hand-writing was as if it's written with a quill (just imagine the bill of right or US declaration of independence's hand-writing).

The overall experience for me at this place would be 95/100 (a solid 2 3/4*) - it's in my top 3 or 5 dining experiences I've ever had. Thanks

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I had a really fantastic meal here mid-January. You can check out my full eGullet review here. But basically, the feuilleté de truffe fraîche “bel humeur.” was one of the most impressive presentations of black truffle i've ever seen.

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I started my trip report with Le Bristol, and planned to go chronologically, but I think I’m going to skip ahead to L’Ambroisie, since those pictures seem to have excited the most interest, and it’s my favorite as well. Unfortunately, I don’t think my words can really do justice to this restaurant. I had two lunches at L’Ambroisie – only my second and third time at the restaurant. It was the only restaurant I considered going to twice, and I am glad I did.

Every single dish was fabulous/perfect, although the chicken with morels deserves special mention as my favorite dish of the entire trip, and probably ever, and this coming from someone who is not even a huge fan of chicken! Of course the langoustines is a classic dish, and rightly so, and the saint-pierre with tarragon and chocolate tart rounded out the first lunch quite exquisitely.

First lunch

My second lunch was also excellent, with frog legs, sweetbreads (with more morels!), the fabulous lobster, and a lovely and refreshing dessert described as “Biscuit dacquoise au praliné, giboulée de fraises de jardin,” which I’m afraid I don’t know how to translate. (I thought about getting the chocolate tart again, but M. Pascal had urged this dessert on me during the first lunch, and again at the second, and I should know better than to ignore his advice!)

Second lunch

I love the L’Ambroisie space, which I find quite intimate and welcoming, at least at lunch – I have never been for dinner. I also find the service to be very welcoming, although I laid it on pretty thick with my praise and admiration (all true, of course), and such flattery can do wonders in terms of good service.

Re Andy Fenn’s question in the Le Bristol thread – I was not aware of being “shoved out to the table next to the toilet,” and I’m not sure what table that would even be, based on where I understand the toilets to be located? Which day (April 10 or 18) were you there?

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Re Andy Fenn’s question in the Le Bristol thread – I was not aware of being “shoved out to the table next to the toilet,” and I’m not sure what table that would even be, based on where I understand the toilets to be located?  Which day (April 10 or 18) were you there?

It was quite extraordinary, they wedged a tiny table into the far end of the toilet corridor (with a really good view of both the ladies and gents) and a blonde lady (I think she was American) perched there to eat her lunch.

We were there May 18 (ah Fenn, how quickly you forget...) and ate a similar meal to your first lunch - langoustines, sea bass with caviar, capon with morels and the chocolate tart. I'll write it up if Fenn ever gets around to sending me a copy of our menu...

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Oops, we were there Saturday 10 May, not 10 April. My bad.

That table by the toilets was absolutely extraordinary. We saw food and a cheese trolley heading round the side, thinking that's where the famed "third room" was, only to find that poor soul wedged in against the far door.

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