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Gordon Ramsay at the London


johnder
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In a review today in The Long Island Newsday they mention that the Bon Bon trolley is an 8 dollar supplement.  Is this true?  Seems kinda tacky.  Is it worth it?

The menu on the GR website says:
Teas, coffees, infusions and Bon Bon trolley (supplement $8.00)
Your $8 covers tea and coffee too, not just bon bons.
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In a review today in The Long Island Newsday they mention that the Bon Bon trolley is an 8 dollar supplement.  Is this true?  Seems kinda tacky.  Is it worth it?

The menu on the GR website says:
Teas, coffees, infusions and Bon Bon trolley (supplement $8.00)
Your $8 covers tea and coffee too, not just bon bons.

How Euro-American of them...

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

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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"We all know Frank Bruni likes to take away at least one star for anything French and likes to add at least one star for anything Italian. BTW - I ate at Babbo too when Batali wasn't in the kitchen - and I was one of the first people here to say that the food was (overall) mediocre."

Babbo is not mediocre...and certainly deserving of its three stars.

Bruni does have an Italian bias (I ate at A Voce last night and couldn't make up my mind if it was a three star restaurant or not...it's close but maybe not quite). But he gave four stars to JG, which is contemporary French and four stars to LB, which is French. He also gave four stars to Per Se, which is definitely French-inspired. He's given three stars to Picholine and Atelier. Neither of those are four-star restaurants so he hardly knocked them down.

So I disagree that "everyone knows", I certainly don't.

Now is there a general NY bias today against stodgy geriatric places like La Grenouille? Yes. Would Robuchon get slaughtered if he had opened the Mansion in NY instead of Vegas? Absolutely not. Well, maybe for the outlandish prices. Ditto for Guy Savoy.

I'm still trying to get a reservation at RGR so I can't speak to that. I've eaten at the London Bar (equivalent to Maze), and while good, it's no better than say Bar Room at the Modern. There's a lot of cooking in NY going on at that level.

But if you didn't especially like JG, we have fundamentally different palates...and that's ok ;)

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Bruni does have an Italian bias (I ate at A Voce last night and couldn't make up my mind if it was a three star restaurant or not...it's close but maybe not quite).  But he gave four stars to JG, which is contemporary French and four stars to LB, which is French.  He also gave four stars to Per Se, which is definitely French-inspired.  He's given three stars to Picholine and Atelier.  Neither of those are four-star restaurants so he hardly knocked them down.

A bias does not mean that he invariably over-rates Italian places, and that he never appreciates French places. It's just that: a bias.

Had he not re-affirmed four stars four JG and LB (which were re-reviews), and given four to Per Se, the highest rating would be down to two restaurants: Masa and Daniel, with the latter sure to fall once he gets around to it. Obviously that is untenable.

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In a review today in The Long Island Newsday they mention that the Bon Bon trolley is an 8 dollar supplement.  Is this true?  Seems kinda tacky.  Is it worth it?

The menu on the GR website says:
Teas, coffees, infusions and Bon Bon trolley (supplement $8.00)
Your $8 covers tea and coffee too, not just bon bons.

OK, Thanks. I guess I'll have to become a coffee or tea drinker before I go there.

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SE and Doc pretty much explained what I meant by "Wow!"

Among the Michelin 3-star restaurants that I've visited, I rank them about the same as Robin: Ducasse the best, then Per Se, then Jean Georges. Right now, I put GR in approximately the Jean Georges class. Maybe it is slightly behind JG, but only slightly.

That comes with the caveat that I've been to most of those restaurants just once, except for Per Se, which I've visited twice. There can be sampling error with such a small data set.

I don't think they said the same thing. There's a difference between "WOW" because I've never seen it before -and "WOW" because it's wonderful (wonderful things can be new - but not all new things are wonderful). I subscribe to the latter view. The word I use instead of "WOW" is "SING" (as in this food really sings to me). And I have pretty high standards for that - food doesn't sing to me very often.

One way to tell if the food is "WOW" or "SINGS" is if you can remember a dish a year or two or ten later without looking at the menu - or pictures you took of the food (I don't take pictures but I do keep menus). I don't think I've eaten more than 10 meals that are "WOW" in the course of a lifetime - and perhaps there are a couple of dozen additional dishes - or even parts of dishes (like the lobster roll at David, Burke & Donatella) in meals where one dish or two was a lot than the rest. Robyn

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I m not so sure anybody could tell wether the chef is there or not if there having a blind meal, you could maybe make a guess and maybe get lucke but thats about at, but saying that i know its nice to have the chef there and its obviously there concept, but for example the London, Neil Ferguson has worked for Gordon for over ten years!! Do people really think he would send something out of the kitchen that Gordon wouldnt??

Well there are 2 ways to know for sure. The first is to get a kitchen tour (we never ask but sometimes we're invited) - and the second is to ask the server (which I always do). A third way to find out sometimes is to go out in the alley and have a cigarette. That's where I meet a lot of chefs :smile: .

I hadn't really paid much attention to the chef at the London - but I looked up Neil Ferguson when you mentioned him. His Ramsay experience was at the Connaught - not at RHR. Having eaten at the Connaught - it's a Michelin 1 star - and I recall that the food was Mediterranean/Italian - not French. I'm not sure how he'd do as head chef at a French restraurant that aspires to 3 stars (although he has experience working at them in France - e.g., L'Esperance). I guess I'd have to try the restaurant and find out (which I won't be doing in the near future - since New York isn't my travel plans this year). Robyn

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In a review today in The Long Island Newsday they mention that the Bon Bon trolley is an 8 dollar supplement.  Is this true?  Seems kinda tacky.  Is it worth it?

The dinner menus are $80 and $110. So there are 2 choices - make it an option - or bump up the dinner prices by $8 or $10. I don't care which way they do it. Which would you prefer? Robyn

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"We all know Frank Bruni likes to take away at least one star for anything French and likes to add at least one star for anything Italian. BTW - I ate at Babbo too when Batali wasn't in the kitchen - and I was one of the first people here to say that the food was (overall) mediocre."

Babbo is not mediocre...and certainly deserving of its three stars.

Bruni does have an Italian bias (I ate at A Voce last night and couldn't make up my mind if it was a three star restaurant or not...it's close but maybe not quite).  But he gave four stars to JG, which is contemporary French and four stars to LB, which is French.  He also gave four stars to Per Se, which is definitely French-inspired.  He's given three stars to Picholine and Atelier.  Neither of those are four-star restaurants so he hardly knocked them down.

So I disagree that "everyone knows", I certainly don't.

Now is there a general NY bias today against stodgy geriatric places like La Grenouille?  Yes.  Would Robuchon get slaughtered if he had opened the Mansion in NY instead of Vegas?  Absolutely not.  Well, maybe for the outlandish prices.  Ditto for Guy Savoy.

I'm still trying to get a reservation at RGR so I can't speak to that.  I've eaten at the London Bar (equivalent to Maze), and while good, it's no better than say Bar Room at the Modern.  There's a lot of cooking in NY going on at that level.

But if you didn't especially like JG, we have fundamentally different palates...and that's ok ;)

I've written up my dining experience at Babbo in the Babbo thread. Won't rehash those things here. In this thread - we will simply have to agree to disagree.

Jean Georges isn't French. It is what I'd call "international fusion". Take a look at the first thing on its web site menu today (I just thought I'd list the first - seemed like the random thing to do): Black Sea Bass with Sicilian Pistachio Crust etc.

LB isn't French either. It's a fish restaurant. Fish is usually a preliminary course in a French meal - not the main. And - in any event - the first item on the LB menu today is Pan Roasted Red Snapper in Gingered Lemon Scallion Broth - Asian fusion - not French.

Per Se is definitely the most French of the 3 (I couldn't find a menu on line - but I have a copy of the menu from when I dined there - and recall part of my meal). I wouldn't object to calling it a French restaurant - both in terms of the structure of the meal and the dishes (although Thomas Keller might).

If there is such a New York bias against places like La Grenouille - why has it been in business for 45 years now? Perhaps it isn't a New York bias - but a "reviewer" or a "foodie" bias? And not a New York (people with money) bias?

Regarding tastes - I was at Jean Georges quite a few years ago. Based on what I've heard - it's gotten better since I was there. Restaurants that are around for a fair amount of time can be moving targets in terms of what comes out of their kitchens - and how good it is. I'm sure the menu at La Grenouille has changed over the course of 45 years.

As for prices - who knows about prices? Next week I'm going to a good restaurant in Atlanta that has fixed menus at $72 and $95. And I think of Atlanta as a cheap place to travel in the US. Also - since I don't drink still wine (it doesn't agree with me) - my bills at nice restaurants tend to be smaller than those of people who love to drink fine wine with dinner. Robyn

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It's pretty traditional for you to get a bunch of small dessert items (there are French terms for this that a barbarian like me doesn't know) along with your coffee at upper-level French restaurants.  The only difference here is the cart.

You wouldn't say that if you were a true dessert lover :smile: . I've had my share of "after meal dessert throwaways" - and 2 great dessert trolleys. One at Alain Ducasse - and one at the Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton (Buckhead). No comparison. At the latter - I felt like the proverbial kid in the candy store. Robyn

P.S. The word for those dessert "throwaways" is mignardises.

Edited by robyn (log)
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I m not so sure anybody could tell wether the chef is there or not if there having a blind meal, you could maybe make a guess and maybe get lucke but thats about at, but saying that i know its nice to have the chef there and its obviously there concept, but for example the London, Neil Ferguson has worked for Gordon for over ten years!! Do people really think he would send something out of the kitchen that Gordon wouldnt??

Well there are 2 ways to know for sure. The first is to get a kitchen tour (we never ask but sometimes we're invited) - and the second is to ask the server (which I always do). A third way to find out sometimes is to go out in the alley and have a cigarette. That's where I meet a lot of chefs :smile: .

I hadn't really paid much attention to the chef at the London - but I looked up Neil Ferguson when you mentioned him. His Ramsay experience was at the Connaught - not at RHR. Having eaten at the Connaught - it's a Michelin 1 star - and I recall that the food was Mediterranean/Italian - not French. I'm not sure how he'd do as head chef at a French restraurant that aspires to 3 stars (although he has experience working at them in France - e.g., L'Esperance). I guess I'd have to try the restaurant and find out (which I won't be doing in the near future - since New York isn't my travel plans this year). Robyn

He has actually worked with gordon from the beginning in the Aubergene days mid ninetys and was senior sous chef at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay RHR when i worked there, Hes one of gordons tp boys, Do you really think Gordon would be so stupid as to put a one star italian head chef in charge of a want to be 3star french restaurant??

Simon

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... A third way to find out sometimes is to go out in the alley and have a cigarette.  That's where I meet a lot of chefs  :smile: ...

In which case, they may be "in" - but not where you as a diner hopes he/she is. :wink: Just kidding - I know chefs need a break.

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

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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SE and Doc pretty much explained what I meant by "Wow!"

Among the Michelin 3-star restaurants that I've visited, I rank them about the same as Robin: Ducasse the best, then Per Se, then Jean Georges. Right now, I put GR in approximately the Jean Georges class. Maybe it is slightly behind JG, but only slightly.

That comes with the caveat that I've been to most of those restaurants just once, except for Per Se, which I've visited twice. There can be sampling error with such a small data set.

I don't think they said the same thing. There's a difference between "WOW" because I've never seen it before -and "WOW" because it's wonderful (wonderful things can be new - but not all new things are wonderful). I subscribe to the latter view. The word I use instead of "WOW" is "SING" (as in this food really sings to me). And I have pretty high standards for that - food doesn't sing to me very often.

One way to tell if the food is "WOW" or "SINGS" is if you can remember a dish a year or two or ten later without looking at the menu - or pictures you took of the food (I don't take pictures but I do keep menus). I don't think I've eaten more than 10 meals that are "WOW" in the course of a lifetime - and perhaps there are a couple of dozen additional dishes - or even parts of dishes (like the lobster roll at David, Burke & Donatella) in meals where one dish or two was a lot than the rest. Robyn

Robyn, you are correct that Sneakeater's and my definitions of "Wow" were not exactly the same, but they are also not mutually exclusive and both I think within Oakapple's use of the word. The key element is that for whatever reason the food is memorable for good reasons, similar to your use of "sing." I think the way I used the word, however, was a bit closer to the way you use "sing" as I have the impression that innovation is not really significant for you when dining. Innovation done well, however, is one of the things that floats my boat.

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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He has actually worked with gordon from the beginning in the Aubergene days mid ninetys and was senior sous chef at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay RHR when i worked there, Hes one of gordons tp boys, Do you really think Gordon would be so stupid as to put a one star italian head chef in charge of a want to be 3star french restaurant??

Simon

This is the bio I was looking at. Everything you say is true - but it emphasized things differently than you did.

One thing I will never say about Gordon Ramsay is that he's stupid - and another is that he serves bad food. To the contrary - the meal I had at RHR a couple of years ago was one of the 2 or 3 best I've had in the last 5 years or so. That's one reason I'm interested in this thread - I want to see how he does in New York. I am more curious about his restaurants than I am about New York :wink: .

We hadn't traveled abroad much for a fair number of years - we had to stick close to home (London is close time-wise) due to problems with elderly parents. But now we only have one left - and he is healthy - and we are traveling again. Japan last year. Germany this year. We'll be dining in at least 2 3 star Michelin restaurants in Germany - and I'll be interested in seeing how they compare with the higher end places we've dined at recently in the US and London. Robyn

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Robyn, you are correct that Sneakeater's and my definitions of "Wow" were not exactly the same, but they are also not mutually exclusive and both I think within Oakapple's use of the word. The key element is that for whatever reason the food is memorable for good reasons, similar to your use of "sing." I think the way I used the word, however, was a bit closer to the way you use "sing" as I have the impression that innovation is not really significant for you when dining. Innovation done well, however, is one of the things that floats my boat.

Really new and really delicious is great. And the kind of thing a lucky diner may run across about once every five or ten years. Robuchon's sea urchin with quail egg - new and great. David Burke's sea urchin with quail egg - not new but still great. More commonly - I find "new" simply for the sake of "new" (in terms of cuisines I know something about) - where the food isn't even as good as a home-grilled burger. The best I can say about most of it (not all - but most) is "interesting" - faint praise indeed. It's like watching figure skating IMO. I don't give extra credit to a skater who attempts a quadruple jump but misses it badly.

OTOH - there are diners who would never go to a restaurant that serves a perfect poached dover sole with a perfect buerre blanc sauce - because it's "so terribly old fashioned". Not that they've ever had this dish before - or had it prepared perfectly - it's just not trendy. What's the point of having something terrific if you're not in the vanguard? This is a silly way to look at dining IMO. Much like saying that reading Dickens isn't worthwhile because so many people have already read his books.

If indeed the food at the London is anywhere near as good as that at RHR - it shouldn't be dismissed simply because it isn't "avant garde".

That's why I've had much better luck recently defining "new" as something *I* don't know anything about - even if it's been around for a long time. That's one reason we really enjoyed our dining in Japan - and one reason I picked Germany for our next trip. What does it matter if tons of people have had a perfected delicious dish at a great restaurant before me - if it's my first time? Since there are many more cuisines I don't know about than ones I do - and many more excellent restaurants that I haven't been to than ones I've dined at - I suspect I won't run out of "new things" for a long time. Robyn

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Robyn, you are correct that Sneakeater's and my definitions of "Wow" were not exactly the same, but they are also not mutually exclusive and both I think within Oakapple's use of the word. The key element is that for whatever reason the food is memorable for good reasons, similar to your use of "sing." I think the way I used the word, however, was a bit closer to the way you use "sing" as I have the impression that innovation is not really significant for you when dining. Innovation done well, however, is one of the things that floats my boat.

Really new and really delicious is great. And the kind of thing a lucky diner may run across about once every five or ten years. Robuchon's sea urchin with quail egg - new and great. David Burke's sea urchin with quail egg - not new but still great. More commonly - I find "new" simply for the sake of "new" (in terms of cuisines I know something about) - where the food isn't even as good as a home-grilled burger. The best I can say about most of it (not all - but most) is "interesting" - faint praise indeed. It's like watching figure skating IMO. I don't give extra credit to a skater who attempts a quadruple jump but misses it badly.

OTOH - there are diners who would never go to a restaurant that serves a perfect poached dover sole with a perfect buerre blanc sauce - because it's "so terribly old fashioned". Not that they've ever had this dish before - or had it prepared perfectly - it's just not trendy. What's the point of having something terrific if you're not in the vanguard? This is a silly way to look at dining IMO. Much like saying that reading Dickens isn't worthwhile because so many people have already read his books.

If indeed the food at the London is anywhere near as good as that at RHR - it shouldn't be dismissed simply because it isn't "avant garde".

That's why I've had much better luck recently defining "new" as something *I* don't know anything about - even if it's been around for a long time. That's one reason we really enjoyed our dining in Japan - and one reason I picked Germany for our next trip. What does it matter if tons of people have had a perfected delicious dish at a great restaurant before me - if it's my first time? Since there are many more cuisines I don't know about than ones I do - and many more excellent restaurants that I haven't been to than ones I've dined at - I suspect I won't run out of "new things" for a long time. Robyn

Robyn i know i m getting a bit of the gordon ramsay theme but you obviously like new things, so if Shanghai would be a possibility for a trip may i suggest jade on 36, Shangri-la hotel, Chef de Cuisine Paul Pairet, look him up on google and the shangri-la website, i opened Jade as his head chef in Sep 05 and he is doing some crazy new things, he is very avante garde and i guarentee you ll have a great experience in a beautiful room designed by Adam Tihany, If you d like some more info and some more thoughts on the things we were doing let me know

Simon

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Robyn, you are correct that Sneakeater's and my definitions of "Wow" were not exactly the same, but they are also not mutually exclusive and both I think within Oakapple's use of the word. The key element is that for whatever reason the food is memorable for good reasons, similar to your use of "sing." I think the way I used the word, however, was a bit closer to the way you use "sing" as I have the impression that innovation is not really significant for you when dining. Innovation done well, however, is one of the things that floats my boat.

Really new and really delicious is great. And the kind of thing a lucky diner may run across about once every five or ten years. Robuchon's sea urchin with quail egg - new and great. David Burke's sea urchin with quail egg - not new but still great. More commonly - I find "new" simply for the sake of "new" (in terms of cuisines I know something about) - where the food isn't even as good as a home-grilled burger. The best I can say about most of it (not all - but most) is "interesting" - faint praise indeed. It's like watching figure skating IMO. I don't give extra credit to a skater who attempts a quadruple jump but misses it badly.

OTOH - there are diners who would never go to a restaurant that serves a perfect poached dover sole with a perfect buerre blanc sauce - because it's "so terribly old fashioned". Not that they've ever had this dish before - or had it prepared perfectly - it's just not trendy. What's the point of having something terrific if you're not in the vanguard? This is a silly way to look at dining IMO. Much like saying that reading Dickens isn't worthwhile because so many people have already read his books.

If indeed the food at the London is anywhere near as good as that at RHR - it shouldn't be dismissed simply because it isn't "avant garde".

That's why I've had much better luck recently defining "new" as something *I* don't know anything about - even if it's been around for a long time. That's one reason we really enjoyed our dining in Japan - and one reason I picked Germany for our next trip. What does it matter if tons of people have had a perfected delicious dish at a great restaurant before me - if it's my first time? Since there are many more cuisines I don't know about than ones I do - and many more excellent restaurants that I haven't been to than ones I've dined at - I suspect I won't run out of "new things" for a long time. Robyn

I agree with this post completely on a personal level. Whether or not someone is adding something "new" to the lexicon, the end product at this level needs to be truly outstanding. If it is truly outstanding and "new" or innovative then the chef gets "extra points" for creativity. On the other hand if something is not new or innovative, but the quality is markedly above what others are able to produce that should garner "extra points" as well.

While clearly producing a fine product, it is not clear to me from what I have read as well as from my experience at The London Bar (admittedly not the main restaurant and so offer no personal opinion on the main restaurant), that the food is superior to what is already available in New York. When a chef comes to a place like NYC with the hype and hoopla of an Alain Ducasse or a Gordon Ramsey, New Yorkers expect to be "wowed" using either definition. Ducasse eventually developed a clientele that was. GR may or may not, though I suspect that if their business model is up to snuff they will not suffer on the bottom line even if the restaurant is not the darling of the critics or the NY Forum.

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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Also, for the purposes as to which this discussion originated, you have to distinguish between your subjective feelings (including "new to you") and more objective criteria. I say that because this discussion started from a question why critics aren't rallying behind Ramsay at the London.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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"Jean Georges isn't French. It is what I'd call "international fusion". Take a look at the first thing on its web site menu today (I just thought I'd list the first - seemed like the random thing to do): Black Sea Bass with Sicilian Pistachio Crust etc.

LB isn't French either. It's a fish restaurant. Fish is usually a preliminary course in a French meal - not the main. And - in any event - the first item on the LB menu today is Pan Roasted Red Snapper in Gingered Lemon Scallion Broth - Asian fusion - not French."

????

Have you eaten in France recently?

(for that matter, try telling the Parisians who were dining at the original LB in 1981 that it wasn't "French" because it was a seafood restaurant)

"If there is such a New York bias against places like La Grenouille - why has it been in business for 45 years now? Perhaps it isn't a New York bias - but a "reviewer" or a "foodie" bias? And not a New York (people with money) bias?"

I said "New York bias now" -- and yes there most certainly is. The uber-trend in NY is definitely toward "casual high end" -- think Atelier not La Grenouille -- where the clientele is entirely geriatric. (No I have not eaten there. I used to work on the same block and received a pretty comprehensive representation of who walks in the door.)

As for the London Bar -- it has nothing to do with it not being avant garde. Bar Room at the Modern is even less innovative. It does happen, however, to be better.

I like innovation but I don't require it. I do, however, require skill...especially when I'm paying a lot for it.

I once had a quite expensive meal at a restaurant in central Europe where the best course was grilled langoustines served over seared foie gras with truffles. Obviously the taste was extraordinarily good...how could it not? However, that course (as did the others) made no demonstration of actual skill on the chef's part. Anyone can throw luxe ingredients together. I don't want to exaggerate this -- but to some extent that would describe the state of American fine dining until not so long ago. Is there still a clientele for the old standards? Sure. But as they die off those restaurants close....the contemporary NY gourmands are far more demanding than the old guard.

I think another factor here is the distinction between those who live in a dining capital and those who visit them. When you can (and perhaps do) eat it every week you're going to need more differentiation and innovation then someone who as access a few times a year.

Edited by Nathan (log)
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Also, for the purposes as to which this discussion originated, you have to distinguish between your subjective feelings (including "new to you") and more objective criteria.  I say that because this discussion started from a question why critics aren't rallying behind Ramsay at the London.

Haven't you been following the news? Newspapers are irrelevant now. Ditto with restaurant critics. "You" - your blogs - your web posts are now the most important thing in everything. Except for mine :wink: .

Why do you think that I am less objective than Frank Bruni? Not to mention some half-assed critic from some half-assed magazine or newspaper? Quite frankly - I trust a lot of on line reviews written by "nobodies" more than I trust those written by restaurant critics. For a few reasons. First - most of the people who write on line are actually paying for their food. They know whether their meal was worth the money they paid. Second - they have no axe to grind. They'll usually tell you what their likes/dislikes are - they're not afraid to admit bias. Third - they usually don't have any "history" that can get in the way of an objective review. No one ever said nasty things about them behind their backs (or anything at all). They have no scores to even. Fourth - most are simply average customers. They will usually get the meal I'll be getting (as opposed to the meal a recognized critic will get - which in more than a few cases bears no resemblance to the meal I'm served).

When you decide where to eat - what input sources do you use to make your decisions? Robyn

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"Jean Georges isn't French. It is what I'd call "international fusion". Take a look at the first thing on its web site menu today (I just thought I'd list the first - seemed like the random thing to do): Black Sea Bass with Sicilian Pistachio Crust etc.

LB isn't French either. It's a fish restaurant. Fish is usually a preliminary course in a French meal - not the main. And - in any event - the first item on the LB menu today is Pan Roasted Red Snapper in Gingered Lemon Scallion Broth - Asian fusion - not French."

????

Have you eaten in France recently?

(for that matter, try telling the Parisians who were dining at the original LB in 1981 that it wasn't "French" because it was a seafood restaurant)

"If there is such a New York bias against places like La Grenouille - why has it been in business for 45 years now? Perhaps it isn't a New York bias - but a "reviewer" or a "foodie" bias? And not a New York (people with money) bias?"

I said "New York bias now" -- and yes there most certainly is.  The uber-trend in NY is definitely toward "casual high end"  -- think Atelier not La Grenouille -- where the clientele is entirely geriatric. (No I have not eaten there.  I used to work on the same block and received a pretty comprehensive representation of who walks in the door.)

As for the London Bar -- it has nothing to do with it not being avant garde.  Bar Room at the Modern is even less innovative.  It does happen, however, to be better.

I like innovation but I don't require it.  I do, however, require skill...especially when I'm paying a lot for it.

I once had a quite expensive meal at a restaurant in central Europe where the best course was grilled langoustines served over seared foie gras with truffles.  Obviously the taste was extraordinarily good...how could it not?  However, that course (as did the others) made no demonstration of actual skill on the chef's part.  Anyone can throw luxe ingredients together.  I don't want to exaggerate this -- but to some extent that would describe the state of American fine dining until not so long ago.  Is there still a clientele for the old standards?  Sure.  But as they die off those restaurants close....the contemporary NY gourmands are far more demanding than the old guard.

I think another factor here is the distinction between those who live in a dining capital and those who visit them.  When you can (and perhaps do) eat it every week you're going to need more differentiation and innovation then someone who as access a few times a year.

I haven't been in France for a lot of years - but just because something is served in France doesn't make it French food (just like Robuchon's food in Tokyo can't properly be called "Japanese").

I used to eat at the sister restaurant to LB in Miami at least once a week in the early 80's. Very similar (identical?) menu. Believe me - it's not French food.

I have never been sure what "casual high end" means. A place where you can spend a lot of money for dinner while wearing jeans? A place where you eat at a bar instead of a table? What does that phrase mean to you?

And now we've thrown "geriatrics" (by which I assume you mean older people with money) into the same trash heap as the B&T crowd. Do you really care so much who's in the restaurants you're eating at? Guess you do. Who do you prefer to see? I recall 2 meals at Cafe Boulud - one in Palm Beach - one in New York. In Palm Beach - we enjoyed some delightful conversation with an older couple. In New York - there are were 2 younger (Miami!) lawyers sitting next to us who managed to defame about a half dozen people we knew very well. They were really PO'd when we told them who we were (and who our friends were). FWIW - the food in Palm Beach was better too.

Anyway - I don't judge restaurants by their clients. I judge them by their food and service. Hope you do the same. And - since I don't eat things like foie gras these days - I think I am judging cooking skills more than most. But you know what - there is an art to procuring ingredients. And cooking them simply. Which is one reason I enjoy dining in California so much.

By the way - I haven't kept count. How many people in this thread have actually dined at Gordon Ramsay at the London as opposed to the London Bar? Think I'll go back in this thread and count. Robyn

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Here's the count.

8 reviews of the Restaurant (2 by the same person). 7 thumbs up - 1 thumbs down. Note that 2 people ate there during the "soft opening".

3 reviews of the Bar. 3 thumbs up. One person who ate at the Bar also ate at the Restaurant.

2 people mentioned meals - but didn't give details or opinions (positive or negative).

I think that's pretty good coming from this crowd. Robyn

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"I haven't been in France for a lot of years - but just because something is served in France doesn't make it French food (just like Robuchon's food in Tokyo can't properly be called "Japanese")."

Jean Georges and Ripert are very much in tune with what French chefs are cooking in France these days. Nuff said.

"I used to eat at the sister restaurant to LB in Miami at least once a week in the early 80's. Very similar (identical?) menu. Believe me - it's not French food."

Brassiere Le Coze never had a similar menu (other than being seafood oriented) to LB. Far from it. Both of the Brassieres were meant to be exactly that -- informal, scaled down and significantly cheaper food than LB. Any assumptions made about the menu at LB (which after all features food by a chef who was still learning how to cook in France during the early 80's) based upon what was served at an informal outpost in Miami 25 years ago are uninformed.

"And now we've thrown "geriatrics" (by which I assume you mean older people with money) into the same trash heap as the B&T crowd. Do you really care so much who's in the restaurants you're eating at? Guess you do. Who do you prefer to see?"

Not at all. The sole point was that practically no one under 70 eats at La Grenouille. Considering that contemporary gourmands tend to be much more demanding of food than people whose palates were set 50 years ago...that should say something about the relative quality of the meal. (I actually wouldn't mind eating at LG just to experience food of that era -- I have a healthy respect for it -- unfortunately, I'm not so enamoured of the idea that I'm going to pay that kind of tariff).

"3 reviews of the Bar. 3 thumbs up. One person who ate at the Bar also ate at the Restaurant."

Where do you get that? More like qualified thumbs up. It was decent, one course was extremely good. Unfortunately, to have a full meal at the London Bar one could spend less eating at RGR proper -- the difficulty is in making a reservation. Its not bad, it's just that there are better restaurants in the same milieu.

Edited by Nathan (log)
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