Atelier de Joel Robuchon
I had a great lunch at Atelier de Joel Robuchon over the weekend for my bday. I'm from Manhattan and had always looked forward to trying one of his restaurants (never been to any of the ones in Vegas). We went at around 1:30pm on Saturday and waited approximately 10 mins at the bar in the adjoining hotel. We ordered 7 plates off the small plates menu to share, including: L'aubergine (eggplant layered with mozzerella, zucchini and something else), L'anchois (fresh anchovy with red peppers), fois gras, langoustine (with a very thin deep fried shell), l'agneau de lait (with mashed potatoes), le pigeon (wrapped with fois gras, bacon, lettuce?, also with a pot of mashed potatoes), a raspberry dessert (hard to describe, sort of a soup with some sorbet, and some lemony sour gelee, it was a great finish to the meal). Everything was perfect; all the flavors were great, very sharp and distinct, but worked well together. Topped it all off with a nice bottle of cotes de nuit, some espresso, and a very long walk afterwards.
Separately, went to dinner at Chez Rene in the 5th the night before. Very nice cheese plate.
I just recently returned from my first trip to Paris. I wasn't there for very long (only 4 days) and it was very last minute so I couldn't get reservations to any really trendy restos.
L'Atelier really helped in this respect since they do not take reservations except at 12:30 PM when they open for lunch and and 6:30 PM when they open for dinner. I did try to go to La Table which was closer to my hotel (his other resto near the Trocadero) but I didn't have a reservation. As a previous poster mentioned the menus seem very similar and in fact the hostess at La Table suggested I go to L'Atelier. When I stopped by L'Atelier to look at the menu (as I was walking in the area) the hostess told me that it can be very busy right at the beginning of lunch and is usually very busy for dinner. She suggested around 2:00PM would be an excellent time to go. She was right. I was there just after 2:00 two days later and the restaurant was much less busy. The waiting staff also seemed less stressed by that time too.
The restaurant had a very modern look to it and as mentioned is in a bar format. Perfectly fine for me but perhaps awkward for the wait staff. They seem to know the menu pretty well but when I inquired with the hostess and one of the wait staff if they had the opportunity to sample given that they work there they said not really. So I cannot speak to how well they will be able to recommend for you it you can't make a choice.
I had the "menu decouverte" (tasting) for 110 euros. No wine though as I wasn't in the mood. It consisted of an amuse-bouche, six plates (one of which was the choice of either Veal sweetbreads or lamb shoulder) and two desserts. They were also kind enough to photocopy the menu for me so I could take it home.
The oeuf (egg) described above.
The salmon (half smoked/ half cooked) with cucumber.
L'epaule d'agneau (lamb) with cumin.
Dessert #1 . A tall narrow cup of strawberries in a gelatin with a layer of balsamic sorbet and then a layer of raspberry(?) sorbet.
If I manage to get back to Paris again someday I will definitely go back especially being a solo diner.
Pistou, I rather liked sitting at the bar rather than a formal table. Sitting for three hours in a formal restaurant is no longer my thing. And if you don't like lines, go early (by 12:30) for lunch and you won't have a problem.
I can't remember how much I spent, perhaps 8 to 20 Euros a plate. The joy of eating here is you can defien your own meal. Order one dish at a time then decide what is next...no pressure to enter your whole order. So if you are on a tight budget, try a dish or two, if not, they have great wine by the glass and keep getting plates till you full.
I have been in love with the food of Joel Robuchon ever since I managed to have a meal in the last year of his restaurant in the 16th. The funny thing is that I was in Paris the May that he opened (I think, 2 or 3 years ago) and for some reason I had a Paris Zagat which had a little blurb in the front about the L'Atelier opening. I was there within the first week. I went at 7:30pm and stood outside with lots of people in tha soft spring rain of Paris. There were expats and many Parisians. At the time, the Parsians were none too happy about the no reservations wait, but us North Americans were content. Needless, to say I just loved the meal. I was seated next to a French family and we chatted about the food and wine, of course. They loved the food and were adapting to the style of the restaurant.
If waiting in line is not your thing, you can reserve at La Table in the 16th arr. It seems to have mostly the same menu. I hope the oeuf is still on the menu as it is an incredible dish. I also love the langoustine ravioli and chesnut soup (yummy in the tummy). Enjoy, and please let us know how you enjoyed the meal.
I want to say it was about 250 euros for our meal. I thought it was reasonable compared to some other paris restaurants and new york restaurants, and it was just such a great overall experience, one of my best meals ever. I really enjoyed eating at the bar, it did feel like more personalized service, all the servers were great. I also generally enjoy eating at the bar at restaurants in new york, its just a more casual but personal experience, i find it fun to chat to bartenders, chefs, servers, etc. I'd say its a bit unwieldy to get in and out of the tall chairs, but that's about the only inconvenience.
Great, thank you both so much for your replies! We've been wrangling with whether to do a starred restaurant while in Paris, both the cost and the formality being negative factors. This seems like the perfect way to have a wonderful meal from a starred chef without having to go all out.
Not VinoEd, but I can reply. We had lunch for 4 people at AR in March. Cost was 562 euros but that includes two bottles of wine and 4 glasses of champagne, so I'd say it's quite reasonable for what you get (we each had 4 plates, 3 had desserts and 3 had espressos) We found it much more interesting and tasty than the 452 euro dinner the four of us had at Gagnaire's Gaya. We liked the bar eating (actually I'd almost always prefer eating at the bar or at least in the bar area of most any restaurant, so it could just be me). It is more difficult, however, for the servers. They have to reach over and down to place the plates in front of you which seemed very awkward. They also need to carry on more chat with the diners since they are directly in front of them all the time. For the diners this translates into more attentive service. Our waiter was most entertaining and spoke pretty good English. If you're a foodie who enjoys food related chat, this is wonderful. I expect that if you chat mostly with your party and prefer to be left alone the servers can read that and respect your wishes. I love this place. We're going again in September.