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Drouant


Laidback
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We spent 3 glorious Easter hours at the rejuvenated restaurant Drouant. The decor is very refined, framed gold fabric, cream colored linens, the original wrought iron staircase, and service superior to it's current rating. There were 2 maitre d's as well as Anthony Clemont himself patrolling the wait staff to insure no repeats of previously reported service lapses. The entrees and desserts come in multiples of 4, which is enough for 2 normal diners or 1 of my girth and appetite. My appetizers, which I reluctantly shared with my wife were "Les 4 Coins du Monde", which consisted of a salade de boeuf marinée façon Thai, Thon rouge mi-cuits au citron confit et aux epices(cumin), Une tarte fine à l'Italienne and the best to my taste, des sots l'y laisse de volailles. Our main was an excellent côte de boeuf de Simmenthal(I have no idea where that is but research is indicated) for 2 personnes which we were, served nicely saignant as ordered, with a Bearnaise sauce that almost converted me from my "naturelle"proclivity. The main was served with, you guessed it, 4 legumes(à volontier) ratatouille, carrots, spinach with creme fraiche, and roasted potatoes; my inbred gluttony required a test of à volontier resulting in a second bowl of spinach. The wine list is very good, not just "blow your budget".Our wine was a curiously affordable, since it was also the only, Margaux, which they have in full and ½ bottles. As any good restaurant should, they also had the same in Chateldon mineral water. I nicely explained to my wife that it would be good for her to order her own 4 desserts as I was not inclined to share mine. Hers were glace vanille with meringue, mango sorbet, Granny Smith sorbet and granité, and granité d'agrumes. My 4 were a millefeuille, a tarte tatin, baba au rhum and an apricot confiture over rice pudding.

John Talbott steered us to this place and as usual his pilotage was superb. Thanks Dr. Talbott.

I have photos but am loathe to go through the necessary gymnastics unless at least 2 people show an interest.

Edited by Laidback (log)
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The entrees and desserts come in multiples of 4

Our main was an excellent côte de boeuf de Simmenthal(I have no idea where that is but research is indicated)

The wine list is very good, not just "blow your budget".

John Talbott steered us to this place and as usual his pilotage was superb. Thanks Dr. Talbott.

That's very kind, Laidback, but one of the benefits of doing the weekly Digest, aside from improving one's typing and translation skills, is triangulating critics' "finds" and going quickly (plus, one of my non-critic food-finders alerts me early on). It's the big boys - Simon, Demorand, Rubin, etc., we should thank for going to the five places that open each week and sacrificing their bodies for us.

A brief comment on Drouant's fixation on 4's. A friend/wise man/food critic/buddy warned me to order but a few things and I'd be most satisfied, and indeed, I find the menu or special with a little bit else to be sufficient (recall that I had oysters at Gerry & Carole's place across the street before I went for the first time because I was so fearful of the possible prices).

Simmental, I believe, is a Swiss breed now grown all over. Where yours came from I have no idea.

And the wine prices are astonishing, as you say, like Dominique Bouchet who feels no need to fleece the customer versus say Petrossian, Prunier/Seafood Bar + La Dinee where you have to order glasses or die.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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"recall that I had oysters at Gerry & Carole's place across the street"

John, speaking of "Gerry & Carole's" place, do you have personal experience at their 1st venture, "La Fontaine Gaillon"? It certainly has street appeal, but I haven't heard from anyone, other than reading reviews from the hired guns when it first opened.

Edited by Laidback (log)
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"recall that I had oysters at Gerry & Carole's place across the street"

John, speaking of "Gerry & Carole's" place, do you have personal experience at their 1st venture, "La Fontaine Gaillon"? It certainly has street appeal, but I haven't heard from anyone, other than reading reviews from the hired guns when it first opened.

I really like it's look and menu but haven't been.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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I am a little surprised that you have described this restaurant as "heaven on Earth"as it is not exactly what it evokes for me. I am glad to hear that they are making a much needed effort with the service, as this was my first quandary.

The côte de boeuf was indeed excellent, although it was far too much for two as a main course especially after a four-dish starter each. It was, in fact, so copious that there was no room on the plate for the vegetables! (I put an exclamation mark through disappointment rather than humour)

The desserts looked good, but as we only managed to eat half of our main dish, they will have to wait until the next time.

I have sent (and will continue to send) many people to this restaurant as it is definitely an 'American friendly', entry-level 'fast gastro' not to be confused either with a simple bistro or a true gastronomic experience. I much preffered the quality of the food at the 'original' Drouant, and although it has kept one-star prices, it is far from the level of most other one-stars that I could mention such as L'Angle du Faubourg, Trou Gascon, Chamarré, Baths(unfortunately closed but Jean-Yves will re-open at another location), Chiberta(before and now), Table du Lancaster, Stella Maris, Goumard (ie every one star except for Marius et Janette)etc etc

Glad that you chaps enjoyed it!

Food glorious food, nothing quite like it...

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A meal my wife and I shared last month at Drouant was certainly pleasant, but not outstanding. We shared the starter, four corners of the earth. had separate main courses of fish, and shared the sorbet dessert, along with a half bottle of Puligny-Montrachet.

The portions are generous. The service is good, but not perfect. They were too eager to remove items before I was finished. Their wine was insufficiently chilled. They replenished the requested Badoit with another water by mistake.

The starter of tuna, giblets, Thai beef salad, and Italian tart was good three-quarters of the time. I did not care for the giblets, though I enjoyed the other three items. For mains we had daurade and cod. Both were good, but not outstanding. By the way the grilled daurade on the French menu became baked on the English. Don't rely on the English translations.

The desserts were superb. One sorbet of grapefruit and kiwi. Another of green apple and sherry. The vanilla ice cream was the dullest. There was a fourth, but now 6 weeks later I don't remember, though it was memorable. The first two were the best.

My advice: go there for dessert.

Otherwise, I found the experience still earth-bound.

Edited by VivreManger (log)
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Thanks, VivreManger, I will go back and try the desserts. I accept that restaurants can have their 'off days'.

I forgot to add that we had ordered a half-bottle of Vittel with the meal, which we had nearly finished so we ordered another. The lady serving us brought a bottle of Evian instead, but when placing it next to our original bottle(different size, shape etc) after a brief pause turned the label away from us rather than taking it away!!!

I had a bad meal once in an excellent one-star 'La Cognette'(which I go to several times a year as it really is wonderful) in Issoudun, near Bourges. The chef, M. Nonnet, is the Président des jeunes cuisiniers de France and is far more than hospitable. He was so disappointed he sent us a cheque refunding the entire meal with an invitation!

I guess it just shows that for a genuine experience, for a more than reasonable amount of money you have to eat away from Paris.

Food glorious food, nothing quite like it...

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  • 5 months later...

Recently i dined at Wastermann's new restaurant in Paris.

He has followed the new trend of creating an informal place with a wide choice of tapas style dishes. thus one chooses from categories of vegetable,fish or meat. So if you choose fish ,lets say, you end up with 5 small fish dishes,each very different in composition and taste.You also have a choice from a list of plat principal.ITs better to go as a small group of 4 ,so that one can have the 3 categories plus 2 or 3 main dishes.

That's what we did and the evening was stellar.Mr Wastermann uses bold flavors from the far east ,the middles east as well as france,specially provence.The style of cooking is french so that the results are truly unique.

WE drank crisp reisling and fruity languedoc wines.Total cost was 60 euros per person.What a wonderful experience at that price.

I spoke with mr Wastermann and asked him about his goal .He said he was influenced by the tapas concept and wanted to create a place that's informal,warm, and easy to the pocket, exhibiting at the same time food of merit.

I think he has a success on his hands.

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I went twice and was somewhat disappointed. Some of the starters looked, felt and tasted like they had been waiting hours to be served and there were hints of reheating and slight staleness on a few of them. One Mediterranean-style tian tasted exactly of overbaked and reheated pizza. Some taste and texture associations were sophisticated but pointless. The second meal was better than the first one, though, but assembling lots of tiny dishes in this manner is not choosing the easy way for a chef. Good points: the setting is beautiful and comfortable, the desserts are outstanding. "Go for dessert" is also my advice.

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  • 1 month later...

I recently ate at Drouant and I must say I was rather disappointed. The best part by far was the seafood starter, with a beautiful scallop carpaccio and some delicious sardines. Unfortunately it declined sharply from there. I ordered the venison and it was rather dry and uninteresting and the sauce was burnt. Finally the chocolate four-ways dessert was all heavy, dark chocolate. I would have hoped for some contrast to lighten it up or add some more interesting flavors.

I wouldn't have been so harshly critical if their food and prices were more proportionate, but these were definatley Michelin-starred prices for really sub-standard food and service. And the wine list was grossly over-priced.

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  • 4 months later...

Since Ms.Laidback and I had such an enjoyable Easter dinner at Drouant last year, we decided to give it a try again this Easter and were pleased. Now that they have been open for over a year, the service has noticeably improved and the prices are still reasonable for such a beautiful place. The wine list is better than average, fairly priced with the blessing to me of offering many selections in half bottles. This worked well this trip; The Ms. had a ½ Pouilly Fumé with her sole and I had a nice ½ bottle of Margaux with my lamb selection. Anyone interested in the photos can visit my photo album on ImageGullet by clicking the link at the top of the page. I hesitate to post photos on the forum since it seems to slow down the download for some viewers. I opted for the Menu des Paques for €75, which included an amuse of foie gras, entrée of asparagus with tiny green beans and mushrooms, gigot d'agneau du lait served with a cassolette of white beans, and a chocolate ganache with fromage blanc ice cream; all generous servings. The Ms. ordered à la carte and had the same amuse, then an entrée of 4 coins du monde:today it was Japanese bouillon, sardine tarte, stuffed fajita and brochette of lamb with hummus. Her Main was Sole roti sur l'arete, nicely done(not overcooked). For dessert she chose the 4 glace/sorbets: mandarine, quava, vanilla with a berry sauce, and caramel beurre salé. A large bottle of Chateldon was €6 and good espresso was €4.

Edited by Laidback (log)
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